SAP Revamps its Annual Partner Conference
Software giant SAP recently transformed Sapphire Now, its annual conference for customers, prospects, partners and influencers. At one recent event, held in Orlando, SAP drew 15,000 attendees and reached an additional 45,000 through all channels, including regional “connected” events, its website, traditional video, live broadcast video and social media platforms. And the event helped move the needle on their perception of the SAP brand.
In remaking the event, SAP came up with an entirely new online strategy while also reimagining the physical event. That strategy delivered syndicated content—keynotes, presentations, hands-on demos, press announcements and more—throughout the organization, bringing messages to stakeholders, including account executives, local markets, executive briefing centers and even SAP employees via SAP TV. It was largely aimed at conveying SAP’s then-new brand position as approachable, innovative and focused on its customers.
The glue of the strategy was the event’s dedicated website, sapphirenow.com, which featured live streaming sessions in HD, and links to the newsroom and social media channels. The site remained live well after the event, allowing attendees and new visitors to check out, download and share content even months later.
On site, microforums became an important part of the agenda, as SAP replaced one-way presentations with small-group discussions with SAP experts and peers. Short, impactful sessions were emphasized because they’re more in line with attendees’ attention spans and how they consume data. The strategy emphasized dialogue, best practices and networking rather than pushing SAP’s message. The event design changed, too, with fewer “campuses” than before, each with its own presentations, discussions and lounge space—and with the exhibitor showcase moving to the center of the event.
As SAP hoped it would, the event helped reinforce SAP’s perception as an “innovative company” and gave attendees a better understanding of the company’s future direction.