Collaboration between brands can yield excellent results for everyone involved, whether you collaborate on a service, product or marketing activity. However, cooperation between brands and associations can be particularly effective for professional conferences.
Some business leaders avoid brand collaboration at all costs, preferring to compete with others rather than risk sharing their success. However, a partnership has many benefits for event organisers and associations in the long term.
What are the benefits of brand collaboration?
Your target audience will also follow other brands, so you can easily reach them by collaborating with the organisations they follow. Since the audience has already put their trust in the brand you choose to collaborate with, they will be more likely to trust you and develop a fast affinity for your organisation through this recommendation rather than if they found you through their research.
By collaborating with other brands at your professional conference, you can deliver more diverse discussions and guest talks through the alternative perspective that ‘outsiders’ will have. Collaborations with other organisations and brands may also enable you to cover topics that would ordinarily be out of scope for your association.
By collaborating with other brands, you can provide your members and conference attendees with valuable networking opportunities that would be otherwise unachievable. During the iLED 2019 conference, The Conference of the Academy of Laser Dentistry and the British Academy of Implant and Restorative Dentistry did just that by bringing together world experts, clinicians, scientists, researchers and colleagues.
How can associations collaborate within professional conferences?
There are several ways that associations can collaborate within their professional conference.
The first way that many associations choose to collaborate is to host joint conferences. This allows members of each organisation to learn from members in the other association and share their research in a way that can ultimately help everyone progress in their respective fields.
The Swiss Society of Cardiology (SSC) and the Swiss Society for Heart and Thoracic Vascular Surgery (SGHC) host an annual joint conference designed to cover new developments in all areas of cardiology and cardiac surgery.
Another popular way to collaborate with other brands and associations is to invite them as guest speakers at your conference. Similarly to hosting a joint conference, this enables your attendees to learn from others and consider alternative perspectives to common topics in their field.
For example, the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) has invited the European Society of Minimally Invasive Neurological Therapy ESMINT to join them for a symposium at their 2022 conference to discuss “Persistent frontiers facing acute reperfusion therapies”, which will allow their attendees to consider stroke treatments from a minimally invasive perspective.
Conference sponsors are a great way to collaborate with other brands relevant to your audience. By obtaining sponsorship from other brands that your target audience is already familiar with and fond of, you can increase ticket sales and add credibility to your event.
While this may not feel like a traditional collaboration, the most successful sponsorships come from truly collaborative relationships that get both parties involved in delivering the best experience for the audience and each brand. Consider what sponsorship options you can offer at your conference that encourages collaboration beyond simply adding a brand logo to marketing materials.
As with sponsors, exhibitors may not feel like traditional collaborators – but this is what they need to become. Get deeply involved with each of your exhibitors and explore ways to deliver a unique experience for your conference attendees.
The best exhibits are memorable and tailored to the audience. Please work with your exhibitors to tailor their experiences to your members and help them contribute to the overall success of your event.
How can brand collaboration improve at conferences in the future?
Collaboration in the form of joint conferences and guest speakers is currently only occurring between associations in the same (or highly similar fields), for example, between brands in the stroke or cardiology field.
However, to maximise the benefits of shared research and alternative perspectives on common discussion topics, associations should start to consider how those outside their immediate field can help. For example, an interesting guest speaker at a stroke-centred conference could be a nursing professional to get their views on administering care and supporting aftercare in stroke victims.
While there are regulations on exactly how far you can go with your collaborations in terms of bringing in other brands to your medical conference, a lot can be gained (for both the attendees and associations) by expanding their horizons and opening the conversations up.
Are you interested in collaborating with another association for your next conference? Get in touch with our team of professional conferences organisers who can support you with everything you need, from logistics to sponsors.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations, and corporations. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and strategic consultancy.