Every year the calendar is filled with events that everyone in advertising, marketing and design should seriously consider attending. Some are bigger than others, some are broader, others quite niche. But what's most important about these events, be they close to home or further afield, is the chance to let people in your agency broaden their minds and gain new insights and experiences.
As an aside, I was fortunate to once work at an advertising agency that encouraged everyone in the agency, from the creative department to the receptionist, to gain new life experiences. The basic idea was simple; a well-furnished mind is better for the agency. To that end, employees were given additional money when taking two weeks or more of vacation, to encourage them to go beyond the usual haunts. Cinema and theater tickets were refunded. Books were paid for. Movie rentals were subsidized. In short, anything you did to fill your brain with experience was not only encouraged, but funded.
Of course, that was an ideal scenario. And when money is tight, it's difficult to find the funds to do all of that. But events and conferences, especially when they happen in your own back yard, are well worth the money. Here are five worth considering this year.
SXSW stands for South by Southwest. It started as one of the largest music festivals in the United States, with approximately 2000 artists playing in 90 venues. But the addition of film and interactive, with a focus on emerging trends and technologies, has turned it into a phenomenon attended by advertisers, designers and marketers around the globe. When it started life, 700 people attended. Now, 20,000 people flock to Austin for the annual event. Well worth your time.
2: ADVERTISING WEEK
Considered to be the world's premier event for advertising, marketing and communications, Advertising Week is the daddy of all conferences for the industry. With over 200 distinct events, featuring workshops, creative leaders, special events and the latest trends in advertising, it's the one big event that you should consider going to this year, and every year. The one complaint people have about it is that the events are spread all over Midtown Manhattan, making it tough to get to different events in a timely fashion. But it's a small price to pay.
Organized by the American Advertising Federation, Admerica connects all aspects of the advertising industry. A popular event for clients, ad agencies, suppliers and even colleges, it offers a variety of topics over several days, and is growing in popularity. It also features the ADDY awards. The 2012 Admerica event was held in Austin, Texas. 2013 will be in Phoenix, Arizona, in June. So, if you plan on attending, prepare for the heat!
4: HOW DESIGN CONFERENCE
Although it has a focus on design, it also incorporates many aspects of advertising, marketing and creativity. Featuring some of the biggest names in graphic design, typography, illustration, advertising and communication, it's a powerhouse of information and smart thinking. The 2013 HOW Design Live event will be held in San Francisco, from June 23rd to the 26th. If you want to expand your horizons and update your design skillset, this is a hard one to beat.
5: INTERNET WEEK
Described as a celebration of everything "Internet-y," this is one of those events that everyone in the business of communication should attend, not just web geeks. As we all devise more ways to communicate with customers, and enhance the brand experience beyond print and broadcast, Internet Week is an ideal way to find out the latest and greatest happenings from some of the best people in the industry. And as it's in New York, you can't beat the surroundings.