With more than 130,000 attendees from 82 countries, Dreamforce is the biggest event of the year for cloud computing company Salesforce.com. It’s when the brand invites all of its key clients to learn about the new features the brand plans to roll out in the coming year. The challenge is, each client needs something slightly different and Salesforce.com has to figure out how to address the needs of each of its customers while keeping the messaging consistent and the new offering front and center.
To meet all of these challenges at last year’s event, held Nov. 18 to 21 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the brand turned to Bay Area digital agency Bonfire Labs to create a series of 25 short film case studies, each of which featured a client as the subject of the short.
The films were broadcast on screens throughout the venue, used in keynotes and over the entrance halls and served as anchor points for each booth in the exhibit hall. And they served as powerful messengers to attendees who could find their unique needs and a kindred spirit in the voices and experiences of their peers featured in the films. Salesforce’s products and messages were, of course, also woven into each short, in a real-life context.
“We had to take all of these product features and condense it down into two-minute stories,” says Shane Tapp, creative director at Salesforce.com. “Cloud computing isn’t the easiest thing to grasp and these demos were designed to educate people quickly. It’s all about telling that customer story.”
One of the key initiatives for the brand was to introduce its new Salesforce1 platform, which debuted at Dreamforce. To do so, the brand created an animated short that promoted the service on large-format screens all over the event with dynamic motion graphics and showcases of client brands. The most in-depth work was for the three documentary-style case studies, however. Many of the brand’s most important clients got the “Scorsese” treatment, including Sony, The University of California, San Francisco, and The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Finally, the brand built 11 feature demos to show off the entire suite of Salesforce software, services and apps and 16 animated brand ads. All of the content pieces linked together into one cohesive thematic whole, designed to cement the brand’s messaging in the minds of the attendees.
“We had to build content around the brands’ clients that would excite attendees while making sure the information about the Salesforce technology grabbed the attention of the audience,” says Phil Spitler, creative technologist at Bonfire Labs.
And the excitement and education both got communicated well, according to social media chatter that came from attendees at the event.
“@Dreamforce has been an amazing experience. Being surrounded by 1000’s who share the same vision/passion for technology is incredible. #DF13”
“Am I just drinking the kool-aid or is @salesforce the coolest company hosting the most badass conference ever? in a @Dreamforce daze. #DF13”
“Congrats! Hands down most valuable conference I’ve been to for the future of my company Thank you #DF13”
“We’re in the business of helping companies connect with their customers and we’re trying to showcase the way we interact with our customers,” says Tyler Warrender, senior art director at Salesforce.com. “We wanted to create a great sense of theater and excitement around the brand. We want potential customers to see these videos and say, ‘I want to be one of those guys.’” Dream accomplished.
From the February issue
Photo courtesy: Jay Cross