The first events of TheRoom, a series of exclusive peer-to-peer roundtable events, will focus on digital and online and will be held in Cape Town and Gauteng during 2013.
So far, 90 delegates from brands such as Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Kalahari, Groupon, Comair, Media24, L'Oreal, ABSA, DSTV and Engen will be attending the event. Delegates range from marketing and brand managers to online heads, and in some cases directors, and all are senior level influencers and decision makers in their organisations.
Says founder of TheRoom, Nicola Staines: "We wanted people in the same area of expertise to be able to get together and share their experiences. Being able to discuss openly with your peers what your issues and challenges are, as well as the potential opportunities, is refreshing for people."
The events are based on a series of similar style events run by Econsultancy, which are also TheRoom's media partner and which is providing delegates with a free report worth over R3500.
"Delegates choose four roundtables to join; each roundtable hosts a different topic. At TheRoom in January we have ten topics - so ten roundtables at each location, both in the Western Cape and Johannesburg," says Staines.
TheRoom events have reportedly turned the traditional 'delegate pays' model on it's head, and are paid for by sponsorship which means Staines could choose the delegates she wanted.
"There are really only three sides to the event; delegates, facilitators and sponsors (or hosts as we call them). The circle isn't complete without the hosts who will have substantial brand visibility amongst these influential people in business, and they will be able to network with them knowing they are decision makers and influencers. As host to a roundtable, a sponsor is able to send a representative to the event to sit on that roundtable during the day. This gives the sponsor organisation the opportunity to introduce itself, but to also be as wholly involved in the discussions as the delegates are. From this it can gain market insight and information to help extend or improve its client offering. Whilst I can't reveal too much about our hosts, I can say the first company to sponsor us was Adobe," says Staines.
Some of the facilitators will be Mel Attree (Cerebra), Jon Atwell (Zando), Sarah Blake (independent digital and user experience consultant), Jess Kuppan (owner of HXN Digital), Amanda Sevasti (Ogilvy), Kath Sharfman (MD of Fast & Remarkable), Heidi Brauer (heidibeeee & co) and Kate Wolters (Added Value).
"I have chosen the facilitators carefully, wanting people who are passionate about the digital space and who would want to invest in being part of something new, fresh and exciting. These are people who know their stuff and that's important in a facilitator because they will need to direct and provide stimulus to the conversation, as well as understand and capture the key issues and opportunities coming out of the conversations," she says.
Staines is also planning four other events for next year: Customer Experience, Social Media, Start-Up's and Women in Business. "Clearly the success of the online event will set the pace for the rest of the year, but at this point in time I am confident we have a format and event that will really captivate and inspire both our delegates and hosts alike," she concludes.
TheRoom's online event will be held in Cape Town on 29 January 2013 and in Gauteng on 31 January 2013. For more, go to www.jointheroom.co or email .
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