When a friend mentioned to Kelly Coppola, PCMA’s senior director of business events strategy, that “Bots” — totemic creatures hand-painted on the back of dominos by artist and business-improv consultant Gary Hirsch — were handed out to help ignite inspiration at a conference that the friend had attended, Coppola was intrigued. She passed along the idea to Adib Hashem, PCMA’s director of partner relations, as something that could be replicated at the PCMA Education Conference, held earlier this month in New York City at the Marriott Marquis.
Hashem recognized the potential of the Bots to both act as conversation starters and to connect attendees with PCMA partners as inspiring resources. “A Bot is a little robot that you have by your side,” Hashem said, “to help give you an extra push in your life.”
— JMoon (@Jonghwa_Moon) June 13, 2017
Here’s how it worked:
Sharing Bot Joy
Hashem ordered 200 individual Bots for EduCon — a fraction of the number of attendees. That was intentional, since the Bots were meant to exchange hands during the event. One custom touch: each Bot was labeled with the URL for a newly launched PCMA partners page.
— PCMA (@pcmahq) June 13, 2017
Attendees could pick up a Bot on a first-come, first-serve basis in the conference’s Connect Lounge, a hotel ballroom transformed into creative and casual interactive spaces. (Attendees could also draw their own Bots.) Instead of keeping the Bots, participants were encouraged to give them away to other attendees when they caught them doing something courageous, collaborative, or inspirational. They then shared the moment with the community, by posting a photo of the interaction to a social media account with the hashtag “PasstheBotJoy.”
— Meredith Martini (@PlayWorksGroup) June 12, 2017
Making an Emotional Connection
The Bot Joy campaign was a dynamic way to “amplify” PCMA’s partners, Hashem said. “When you are able to tie partners or sponsors to a memorable moment,” he said, it has much greater impact. Which also dovetails nicely with the fact that Bots are painted on dominos: They are meant to have an domino effect.