For an established business, like tech-giant IBM, it’s not always easy to abandon a tried-and-tested approach in favour of something new. But when it came to their 2012 Start Summit on Sustainability, they saw an opportunity to host an event with a difference and shake-up their image - with a little help from Scriberia.
‘We wanted these events to be thought-provoking and to push the audience into action,’ says Scott Stockwell, IBM’s Marketing Communications Strategist. ‘People go to so many conferences where they don’t get to share their opinion or participate in debate. We wanted to create a sense of collaboration and for that to be captured in an engaging way – Scriberia did all of this for us.’
Working on large drawing boards, positioned prominently throughout the event space, Scriberia’s artists set about capturing ideas as they emerged, in a series of bold, hand-drawn images. Contributions from speakers and audience members alike formed the building blocks for a live visual commentary, highlighting key themes to be remembered or revisited later.
As ideas became images, proceedings took on a sense of theatre, and an atmosphere of participation and collaboration grew.
‘[Scriberia] have a unique talent of simultaneously extracting key thoughts and ideas and summarising them in a way that can be easily and quickly articulated to back to people,’ explains IBM’s Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Citizenship, Caroline Taylor. ‘This is a very special skill that few have; their ability to listen and draw in real time with a deep understanding of the content is genius.’
The resulting images were rich, detailed and really valuable to IBM after the event in enabling them to hammer home the key messages from the event, through a range of media.
The images took on a new life, becoming large-scale workspace installations, digital downloads accessible from mobile devices, presentation illustrations, posters and more.
Back in the studio Scriberia converted their output into digital images for inclusion in a post-event summary, which was sent to attendees three days later. They also created ‘Startman’, an engaging little chap who took the starring role in a bespoke e-book. The e-book - initially sent to just 250 people - reached an audience of 16,600 within six weeks.
‘We weren’t expecting this kind of reaction to the e-book – the feedback has been exceptional,’ says Scott Stockwell.
By taking this more creative approach, IBM not only gave their event a strong visual identity that effectively engaged attendees, but they say it also changed perceptions of IBM as an organisation. They continue to host the Start Sustainability events with Scriberia as their visual communications partner.
‘Working with Scriberia always meets and usually exceeds my expectations,’ says Scott. ‘They fully understand and deliver on every brief and everything they produce is bespoke to the content. ‘Their approach is informal, action-orientated, engaging, live and human. They are always professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.’