How to Host An Excellent Marketing Conference

Steve Jobs once said that to drive innovation, one must “think different”. At Havas Luxe, that is exactly what we attempt to do – especially when it comes to hosting our bi-annual Marketing Conference, NEXT. This conference is part of a series produced by Havas Luxe. Our purpose is to inform and educate luxury marketers….which does not mean it should be “safe”, or “boring”.

Innovative conferences work for Apple, and they work for us. Could doing things differently at your next event work for you? In today’s post, we will share our tips on how to make your next conference your best yet.

  1. Theme:

In our upcoming installment of Havas Luxe’s NEXT conference, we will be inviting you to join renowned experts from the publishing, marketing, fashion and luxury industries for their inspiring take on the hottest trend in experiential marketing – Virtual Reality, and on how to get it right.

By capitalizing on an of the moment topic, and seeking to take it farther beyond that which even C-suite executives in our industry have experienced, we are giving our audience something compelling, remarkable and relevant. So, when seeking to build your next conference, first ask yourself this:

  • Is the topic compelling?
  • Is the topic remarkable?
  • Is the topic relevant, or applicable, for my audience?
  1. Speakers:

Each speaker you select for your event can make a big difference to its attractiveness to attendees. That does not mean you have to go out and book (and pay for) a celebrity. Instead, it means finding out the person, or persons, who really connect with your theme and your audience.

Examples: bloggers, authors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, industry leaders, and motivational speakers. Top tips for finding exactly the right speakers:

  • Research books and media articles/ search for the right talent associated with your topic

In particular, authors with books pending publication or recently published will be eager for promotional opportunities so they make good candidates to approach. You also get a clear idea of their areas of expertise and topics they could potentially speak on from the theme and content of their new book.

Many authors have their own websites, so a quick Google search can offer a direct link to approach them by. If they don’t have a website, you can also search for them on Twitter or Facebook and reach out to them there. We don’t mind telling you, this is exactly how we found one of our speakers for the next NEXT conference.

  • Use industry gatherings associated with your topic

For the topic of virtual reality, we had to look no further than the very recent CES conference. There, as with any conference, we were certain to run into those who position themselves as spokespeople for their industry. These superstars are likely to be receptive to invitations to speak, and that’s a great way to find them.

  • Use your Linkedin contacts and personal/ professional network

Your network, and Linkedin – are a goldmine of professional information. Post an update to your network looking for recommendations for speakers, experts or bloggers and you might be surprised by the response – people love to help, especially if you’re asking for their opinion.

At the upcoming Havas Luxe NEXT conference, we believe we have hit the jackpot with our speakers. Tackling such talking subjects as the future of advertising, and the ramifications of VR for humanity, we have invited Sebastian Tomich, founder T Brand Studio (creator of T Brand, and winner of two 2016 grand prix Cannes Lions) and Marc Lavallee – leading the future innovation in the newsroom and Story X ( VR/ AR/ Mobile) at the New York Times, and Ken Perlin, a renowned professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University, founding director of the Media Research Lab at NYU, and the Director of the Games for Learning Institute. Nailed it.

But wait, there’s more…

  1. Details:

If you want to run a corporate event that gets people talking, you’ll need to throw in a few quirky features (alongside great content, of course).

For example – set up above and beyond a PowerPoint presentation, or a panel (snore). Run debates, small table discussion groups, and non-conventional settings. Or, add an experience.

This is our approach at Havas Luxe. We’re a creative company, so we want our meetings to be as creative as possible. Our approach is designed to ensure all guests engage with, rather than passively consume, the content offered. That’s why the next NEXT conference will include a 360-degree environment where all guests will be invited to experience Virtual Reality. It is our hope that engulfing everyone in a multi-sensory experience will fuel the senses and get people thinking in fresh ways.

And now, if you don’t mind – what do YOU want to see at our next NEXT conference? Tell us which topics and speakers speak directly to you, and we will do our best to accommodate that.

If you would like to RSVP to our NEXT conference on 3.31.17, please register here.


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2016 Marketing Minutes

2016 Marketing Minutes, Summarized: The Best Is Yet To Come

Havas Luxe’s take on what the biggest take-aways from 2016 have been for our industry

If you did not spend the majority of 2016 thinking about PURPOSE, STORY and CONTEXT, we bet you spent it pretty frustrated. Because this was the year in which businesses – and even the election – proved to us again and again that nothing supersedes the need to keep a clear focus on the needs and expectations of customers, and to answer those needs consistently, remarkably, and on-target.

Here’s a look at the top FIVE marketing trends we saw throughout the year, followed by our humble takeaway and recommendation on how to apply this to kick start 2017.

  1. Marketing was about Sales. You know how when you’re designing a website, user experience (UX) is secondary to the definition of brand and messaging? Well, it’s the other way around now. In our meetings all through the year we have understood that the formerly silo-d departments for marketing and sales within fashion, luxury and prestige consumer goods companies are now not only regularly communicating – but actually becoming an extension of each other. Makes sense, as that’s pretty much the whole point of digital marketing; marketers, using integrated tools, can engage with customers online, track the buyer’s journey, measure sentiment and loyalty, and match behavior with outreach tailored to meet their audience’s needs and interests.

Incidentally, this is what gave rise to the next massive trend.

In a nutshell: this was the year that Omnichannel became Retail’s BFF.

Tweet for Pizza! Snap a pic and Hashtag for a discount at Zara! We now have so many turnkey ways in which to bring events and physical location to online, that everything just…flows.

  1. Marketing was about Influencers. The year 2016 has clearly seen “brand ambassadors” given a higher priority, more effective customer engagement, and tighter collaboration with sales and support to directly affect conversion rates. We could go on and on about this, but you can just flip back here to check out our summit on the subject.
  1. Marketing went 3D.Virtual reality literally drops people’s jaws when we bring it around for presentation. It is amazing, and here’s why else you should get on board: it’s because, as we have noted in point #1: customer experience is the top priority. Secondly, it’s because, as have said here, it is becoming more common, and more affordable. 3D technology is poised to move from novelty to mainstream. As the technology to create and consume virtually has become more accessible, smart marketers started to find more ways to bring their products to virtual life, and we are sure they/you will continue to do so.
  1. Marketers (Finally) Realized that Social Media IS A CHANNEL, Not a Strategy. It is one of our personal crusades to eliminate the bizarre title “social media manager” from the stratosphere. Social media isn’t marketing, and it doesn’t work as a “strategy” on its own—something that (based on our many meetings) – seems to have finally sunk into the collective marketing consciousness. Social media is one platform of many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns but flounders by itself. This distinction will shape marketing strategies and budgetary considerations in the coming year. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.
  1. Marketing got back to being about PURPOSE, STORY and CONTEXT. Here’s the thing we have been saying all year. We want you to really internalize this, so here goes, one more time: the millennial demo, and strata above and below it, are totally onto us. They know when they are being “sold”. We, you, me…. we are all MARKETING TO MARKETERS. The conclusion is this: the purposeful will survive. Authenticity is the key; it is the key to getting through to audiences, it is the key to forming a compelling, consisted and remarkable story which bears repetition, and when you consider the context: the audience being the star, you get better results.

It’s a bit hard to wrap one’s head around that last one, perhaps (though the election’s messaging certainly comes to mind….), so here’s a great example for you:

Let’s say that the Swiss haute horologie industry wanted to get with the program and up the ante in 2017. Let’s say they all wanted to beat the i-Watch, if we are presuming (just for this exercise) that the product is a veritable threat. For this exercise, based on the above we would propose a return to overwhelming emphasis on Swiss-made, perfectly crafted, painstaking engineering and elegance. To the story of authentic, hand-made luxury. Forget the teams you sponsor, the regatas, the basketball games, the cars and planes. These stories are derivatives ; they are not YOUR story. Focus on relating everything back to the message that superior is superior because of craft, heritage, experience, scarcity, and so on – and luxury will continue to prevail.

Substitute the above for anything: champagne, diamonds, couture. The point is this; your brand’s story and fundamental purpose are now more important than ever. This is the time to bring them back into the limelight.

Wishing you an excellent 2017!

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Are Fashion Shows Over?

This question is not new, but this week, as we have just finished another round of global fashion weeks – we feel it is more relevant than ever.

In today’s global fashion world, two major trends have been raising this question:

  1. As fast fashion has become the norm (thanks to e-commerce, social media – and more), the audience wants instant gratification. It is no longer plausible, then, to have them wait 6 months post catwalk for that gratification.
  2. The world of social media has also warranted the need for true, immersive experiences rather than “just a runway show”. This means that instead of runways – we are seeing the rise of Instagram moments (stunts, gimmicks, installations, etc), and actual disruptive fashion events – such as the screening of a catwalk live and with Virtual Reality –as has been employed, for example, by Burberry.

If we agree that the erosion of the old school fashion show is, indeed, happening, there are viable solutions.

Option 1: Schedule runway / sales coordinated launch:


Several voices opt for a complete change. Some luxury houses, such as Tom Ford and Burberry, have started online sales immediately after a runway show – much of this aided by giant online retailers, such as Net a Porter. Others have sold capsule collections the day after – for example, when Moschino sold their McDonalds accessories collection only 24 hours after being seen on the runway.

Option 2: Go old school:

Some designers are even thinking about a complete change: giving small in-house presentations to journalists only – the return to “salons”. Thus, reporting will naturally lag slightly, creating the desire for the collection closer to its actual appearance in store. Last year, such a presentation was delivered by Givenchy; Tom Ford has also employed this approach in the past – and rather similarly, with his intimate, star-studded gathering for his collection Presentation at NYC’s Four Seasons. Perhaps this is a mighty glimpse into the future.

At Havas Luxe, we believe that both above solutions are viable – though option 1 is far more viable than the other. For starters, we feel strongly that a live experience is imperative to truly immerse oneself in a brand and its collection – so these must be upheld. But instead of “just a runway” – we have long championed the true experience – one that integrates storytelling, and the tools with which to bring that story to life: sets; video; augmented and virtual reality; installations – and more.


Next, we believe that synchronizing the event with at the very least the availability of a capsule collection for physical or online purchase will satiate the die-hards, as well as influencers, who in turn will not only enjoy getting what they want immediately – but will also serve to amp up the desire for your collection in the audience at large in the ensuing months.

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