Forget what you know about conferences; a new wave of festival-style business events are taking over.
Embracing the movement, global accounting software provider Xero once again partnered with live brand storytelling agency INVNT to produce its annual conference, Xerocon Brisbane 2019.
Building on its success from last year, the event saw more than 3000 delegates gather at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for two days of networking, inspiration and education.
With activations like a barber shop and nail salon, totem tennis arena, customisable skateboard activity and a lolly bar, it’s no surprise the event has landed itself the nickname, Coachella for accountants.
Reinventing the traditional conference
This year, Xero’s objective was to create a fun, consumer-like environment for delegates to connect and learn, while following Xerocon’s Communities of Purpose theme.
With this in mind, the team at INVNT set about creating an event that would convey this message in a tangible, relatable way.
“We called on our local and global teams and after some intense brainstorming, worked with Xero to devise the underlying creative idea of ‘bringing the community in’, which focused on inclusiveness and accountants’ purpose within the local community,” said Adam Harriden, executive creative director at INVNT APAC.
The result was a Communities Zone featuring five festival-inspired activations, each touching on a different community pillar, that invited attendees to get hands on. These included:
The Board Room – This orange-hued space included a custom-built skate ramp with pro skaters. Attendees could customise their own skateboard with the guidance of Xerocon’s artist in residence Mulga and add their artistic flair to his wall length mural.
The Parlour – The pink space invited guests to go for a trim at the barbers or get glammed up at the nail salon.
The Park – This green zone invited visitors to re-discover their inner child with a game of totem tennis. They could also create their own beverages on blender bikes and re-fuel at the gelato van.
The Sweet Shop – The insta-worthy, yellow space encouraged visitors to treat themselves with an assortment of sweets and a game of table tennis.
The Wellness Sphere – A dedicated spot for attendees to find their inner zen, the blue colour-blocked area hosted yoga classes every 10 minutes during breaks, along
with stress checks.
Bringing the space to life
INVNT interlaced a colour blocking technique throughout the Communities Zones and their corresponding breakout stages, which spoke to the same pillars, to ensure a seamless customer journey.
An integral part of the overall experience, the themes of community, as well as ‘bringing the outside in’ were woven throughout the keynote theatre.
“Inspired by a parkland space, an important feature of any local community, the keynote theatre featured a 15-metre-long thrust which meandered down to the audience at different levels – much like the sloping hills of a park – and took the speaker into the centre of the room, creating an intimate vibe,” said Laura Roberts, managing
director at INVNT APAC.
“Speakers made their way onto the stage via a ‘red carpet’ made of astroturf, and a pared-back, wooden curved backdrop complemented the stage’s three LED screens, which ensured content was displayed in a clear, crisp, and engaging way.”
On conclusion of day two, delegates headed to Brisbane’s newest entertainment and lifestyle destination, Howard Smith Wharves for the wrap-up party, Xerocon Festival.
The event followed the same festival theme as the conference, with live music, food and drink stations and a relaxed outdoor setting.
Reflecting on Xerocon Brisbane 2019, Xero head of events Cara Weers said attendee feedback has been “incredibly positive” and the event garnered significant media traction.
“The INVNT team approached our brief in a highly strategic and creative way, resulting in an unforgettable experience that lived up to our ‘Coachella for accountants’ reputation and provided delegates with a platform to connect, participate and learn in ways that are wholly unique to the typical accounting conference,” she said.
Watch the full highlight reel: