Technology and communication for better tomorrow
The article was written especially for Dipomacy&Commerce magazine by directors and co-owners of the PR agency Chapter 4 Communications Consulting, Tamara Bekčić and Milena Avramović-Bjelica who attended the Web Summit in Lisbon.
What can we say about the biggest technology gathering in Europe and the biggest gathering of entrepreneurs in the world? The Web Summit is like being on a roller coaster; the excitement does not stop, it's an exhibition of innovation, the essence of management and business, a lesson in organization and persistence, and a vision of the future and a better world we are worthy of, but for which we need to make a little more effort.
„All of this sounds quite grandiose, but it's actually even bigger than that. The phenomenon known as the Web Summit is in the focus of many, and it's no wonder that this relatively young conference grew very quickly from just "another tech conference" into the largest and most important conference of this kind in the world," said Milena Avramović - Bjelica, executive director of the agency Chapter 4 PR.
According to the conference's founder, Paddy Cosgrave, the Web Summit, which did not even exist 10 years ago, gathered almost 70,000 visitors from 159 countries, out of which 35,000 were women entrepreneurs, more than 1,200 speakers, and had 24 stages, thousands of volunteers from 60 countries, 6 expo halls, over 2,600 journalists and 1,500 technological innovators this year.
„In times of great uncertainty and changes that are taking place that are parallel in importance to an industrial revolution, the significance of this summit is that it assembles different interest groups and enables dialogue. The founders and directors of the world's most successful companies talk to innovators, legislators, top government officials, NGOs and start-ups. And they all try to answer one question: what to do next? That is why, in our opinion, the Web Summit is the largest and most important international communications gathering," Tamara Bekčić, director of the agency Chapter 4 PR, added.
There were plenty of great impressions from this year's Web Summit, but we have singled out those which, from the perspective of our profession and communications, seemed the most important.
FASTEN YOUR BELTS, WE ARE TAKING OFF!
Web Summit is an event that lasts 24 hours a day, for four days. You get the strong feeling that you are a part of something big and significant from the moment you install the Web Summit application, through to registration at the airport and upon entering Lisbon.
We listened to the excellent speeches of the Web creator, a whistle blower in the Cambridge Analytica case, the UN Secretary General, the President of Samsung, the Prime Minister of Portugal, the Vice President of Google, the globally famous fashion designer Alexander Wang, Evan Williams, who founded Twitter, Blogger and Medium, the European Commissioner for Competitiveness, and many other executives from global companies and agencies.
Lectures lasted all day and they tooke place in different locations, while evening sessions were much more relaxed and resembled a party. We also witnessed the distribution of $125 million worth of crypto Stellar currency to the participants, as well as chatted with the famous robot Sophia, and attended the premiere presentation of her brother Han.
The programme content was extremely versatile, the stage and the halls followed different directions, and the thematic parts that stood out were (1) technology, (2) start-ups – meeting of ideas and investments, (3) marketing and communication, and (4) responsibility, mostly reflected in corporate contribution to sustainability. Case studies were frequent and changed rapidly and they left a strong impression. Speakers were perfectly prepared and each one came with a clear message, regardless which company they represented - Netflix, Carlsberg, Apple or Danone.
In one exhibition section, we saw the most incredible start-ups of today and those with the highest potential (1,800 of them), while in other section, we got to know companies that had successfully realized their campaigns. For example, through various entertaining and educational activities, Booking.com presented to the visitors the concrete measures to fight gender discrimination, that is, the inclusion of women, and a mentoring programme for women in the IT industry. Several large auto-industry companies were looking for employees for different positions. They also had rather unusual interactive sessions at their booths, and even product launches.
It was impossible to remain indifferent to such a large number of innovations and that amount of positive energy. Exhibition booths were diverse, very creative, with numerous opportunities for visitors to actively participate in their activities. Proactivity was the common denominator of all participants and all presentations. It was reflected in innovation, communicativeness, connection, vision, responsibility and joint efforts on recognizing and eliminating the flaws of today's world.
OUR DEEP RESPECT FOR ORGANIZERS
Organization- and communication-wise, Web Summit is an enormous machine that works seemlessly, at the joy and even the surprise of the participants. You need a lot of energy to participate, and we felt that on our skin. Multiply the required energy by 1,000 if you are an exhibitor or a lecturer, and by a million if you are in the organizational team. In short, they thought of everything and they considered the bigger picture, while, at the same time, paying attention to the minutest of details. Because of that the organizers have earned our deepest respect.
Lisbon was heavily branded with the event's logo, with signs everywhere, especially in the city transport hubs, with well-trained volunteers everywhere. Lisbon is proud to carry the colours (and branding) of the Web Summit, and the summit is proud of the fact that it singificantly boosting the local economy by selecting Lisbon as its location for several years now and for the next 10 too, as we have learned. The guests will definitely feel wonderful here because Lisbon is a magical city that cannot leave you indifferent. Its beauty and hospitality are a cherry on the cake that is quality programme and surely a reason more to repeat this experience.
There are more impressive numbers to mention – the summit visitors covered a total of around a million kilometres on foot during the summit, drank over 360,000 cups of coffee, and about 800,000 business meetings took place. From our experience, we can say that a day did not go by without us talking to the representatives of at least 20 different start-ups, colleagues or delegates.
WHAT'S IN TREND?
1) Sustainability and responsibility towards the community and the world in which we live. This trend is very much present in our country too, but sustainability has not reached such level to permeate virtually every element of business.
2) Education: permanent and dynamic, formal and informal. We personally highly appreciate it and have been underlining it at Chapter 4 for years.
3) Ideas are always on trend, especially those that are brave. We have the privilege of living in the time of great opportunities.
Apart from ideas, we need a strategically planned communication, and you can always contact the Chapter 4 PR team for professional support.
Photo credit: Web Summit
The text was originally prepared for the Diplomacy & Commerce supplement dedicated to communications.