There. I said it. And I’m not taking it back.
2021 will be the 11th Creativation/CHA show that I have attended, so I have some experience. In the spirit of full disclosure, every year before I register I announce that this will be the best one yet. And every year I have been right. I see no reason why that streak will end this year. I invite you to have your best show ever right along with me!
Part of the reason I’m so confident is because I make sure to define what success looks like before I attend the show. If you attended my “Making the Most of Creativation” webinar last fall, you know that I set Creativation goals that are directly related to my business goals for the year. Attending Creativation with these goals in mind ensures I walk away from the show accomplishing exactly what I needed to (and often more)! This year is no different. We only get one Creativation per year and, regardless of the format, “I’m not throwin’ away my shot.”*
If you have some time, I encourage you to watch the "Making the Most of Creativation" webinar. If you’re crunched for time, grab a Post-It, write “Creativation+ Goals” and stick it somewhere handy so that you can write down your goals when you have time. Knowing what you want to get out of Creativation before the show will put you in control of your own success.
We’re Meeting Where We Are Working
I was thrilled when AFCI announced that Creativation would be going virtual in 2021. In our work, most of us have been working virtually for months, and expect to stay virtual for at least the near-term. And our customers/consumers have gone virtual as well.
To have our annual gathering take place in the same manner that we are connecting with our customers makes the most sense. As a Digital Content Creator I’ve attended the show in person and then translated it into virtual for my audience for years. This year will be even easier, as I won’t have to convert a physical show into digital - it will already be digital. This is fabulous for all of our members - content will be distributed digitally, making it super simple for brands to distribute re-sharable photos and videos for all member segments to share on our social media channels. And by consuming information in the same way we’ll be asking our customers to consume the information, we’ll more easily identify any stumbling blocks before we share it with them.
Most Affordable Creativation Ever
Thankfully, the benefits to attending Creativation have always outweighed the costs for me, but those costs were not insignificant. They started with a flight and hotel room, but continued to include childcare costs, and the emotional costs of missing out on things at home. I won’t have to incur those costs this year, and yet I’ll still have access to the same quality educational sessions I have in the past while sleeping in my own bed every night!
With this reduced financial barrier, Creativation+ has the potential to become the most heavily attended Creativation in the past decade. This is an incredible opportunity for manufacturers to get more buzz about their new product lines, which will increase product demand from wholesalers and retailers, increase demand for new product classes from designers, and increase demand for new product content for Digital Content Creators.
This budget-friendly virtual Creativation means we can reallocate travel funds towards an increased marketing spend, customer loyalty programs, or simply turn those expenses into profit.
Most Accessible Creativation Ever
One of my largest frustrations with past shows was not being able to split myself in half to attend two sessions. At the end of Creativation 2020 there were discussions within the Digital Content Creator section as to how we might be able to record our sessions in 2021 so that more people could benefit from the information.
This year, the Education Committee has already started discussing how to have many sessions recorded so that they can be watched later. This will allow me to attend my “must attend” sessions in person, and my “wish to attend” sessions as recordings later. What’s even better is that when my colleagues later tell me “That session was so good, I learned so much!” I can go back and watch it!
While the details of which sessions will be live only and which will be recorded are still being worked out, the increased possibilities here have me incredibly excited.
Need for DCC Greater than ever
The Digital Content Creator Section was created three years ago to both support Influencers and Content Creators in the Creative Industries and also to help brands connect with Influencers and Content Creators in this space. The members of the DCC have years of experience creating video and connecting with consumers online. If you are a brand or manufacturer with any hesitations about presenting your products in a virtual environment, there are DCC members who are excited about partnering with you! We are working on ways to make this accessible to you, so keep an eye on your emails. If you can’t wait, Contact our DCC Chair, Angie Holden, who can connect you with the membership.
Bring Back the Twitter Party
One of my favorite events at Creativation is the New Product Expo. This is the first “big” night where everyone has arrived at the show, we’re all finally in the same place at the same time, and we get to see the most incredible new products. I anticipate the same level of excitement this year, but with us all joining in on the same Twitter Hashtag (or some similar technology). This is similar to the live-streaming that many influencers have done at recent New Product Expo events, but in a more open, collaborative, and community-feeling way. And, for brands that love their social media metrics, this Creativation will have a lot more opportunities to measure reach and engagement.
The Fine Print
If you’ve been reading along nodding your head at what I’ve written here, I’m so excited! You are my people, and I can’t wait to virtually hang out with you in 2021!
If you’ve rolled your eyes and believe that I’ve expressed some naiveté, you are my people too! I’m a mom of two children with mental battle scars from the great virtual learning experiment of 2020 - applying technology without forethought and understanding is a recipe for disaster.
So here is where you come in. The Association for Creative Industries isn’t an association where we just write an annual check and gloss over a quarterly newsletter. This organization has so many opportunities for us each to actively steer the success of this industry. Not sure where you fit in? Here are some ideas...
Connect directly with AFCI: Reach out to the staff to see if you can help test the platform we’ll be using in January, if they need help on a committee, if you can moderate a virtual room during the event, or if they can use your special skills in some way.
Look at Cross-Promotion: Connect with the companies you already know to see if there are opportunities for you to cross-promote at Creativation 2021. Can you provide product support, promotional support, or any other mutually beneficial back-scratching that will help you both reach your goals?
Fill the Gaps: At this point most of us have had experience being on Zoom calls (for good or for bad), and some of us have experienced virtual events. What was missing? What have you seen done really well that you want replicated at Creativation? Speak up and offer to fill that gap.
The bottom line is this - each year we only get one shot at attending Creativation. Anything we miss out on will have to wait another year. I’m not willing to postpone the awesomeness. This is going to be my best Creativation yet.
If you have any questions, need a pep talk, or are looking for someone to partner with, feel free to reach out to me at: email@example.com.