SugarCon 2017 - BOOM! BAM! POW!
SugarCRM believes that we are now in the “era of the empowered customer”, a time when disruption is forcing companies to fundamentally change their approach to customer relationships; and they think that their community of users are the heroes and the mavericks of this new dawn in their industry. With this new emergent landscape ahead for it’s users, SugarCRM approached Vision with the challenge of not only managing SugarCon 2017 (their annual users conference), but also developing a conference theme and message fit to send users out on their new CRM journeys, in full force.
They needed to transform Sugar users into SUGAR HEROES!
To help aid this metamorphosis, Vision proposed a comic book superhero theme. SugarCRM had asked for something different and Vision knew that the bright and bold images inspired by vintage comic books would provide the visual excitement necessary to tell this transformation story. We aimed to produce a world where the attendees became the heroes of their own CRM stories, and SugarCRM agreed that this was a powerful way to create a meaningful and unforgettable user experience.
With SugarCRM’s approval, Vision went all in to create the Sugar Hero world. Sometimes clients can get nervous about being too thematic for their conferences, but SugarCRM really dared to be different and gave us the freedom to take every opportunity to reinforce the theme.
Our graphic design team designed a colorful and bold conference website, using iconic comic book elements to market information to potential attendees, with audacious graphics and colors. All the information they needed about registration, sessions and agenda were all laid out in a way that was as fun to digest as any comic volume. Our graphic design team also blended SugarCRM branding into our comic book theme by creating signage and displays that transformed the San Francisco Hilton Union Square into the Sugar Hero world. We made it clear that once at SugarCon 17, users stepped through a portal into their new CRM universe.
Taking it to the next level, our production team created custom animations for the stage graphics. We commissioned an artist to hand draw comic book characters of every mainstage speaker, and brought them to life by creating motion comic animation videos for each mainstage segment.
When we produced SugarCon’s Opening General Session, we knew it was our best opportunity to bring the attendees into the narrative we had crafted. We needed Sugar users to really see themselves as Sugar Heroes, and we did that with an interplay between reality and animation. We called on our artist once again to create characters based on the attendees, which became the stars of a custom comic strip pre-roll our video team produced. Once the animation started playing to kickoff the conference, attendees saw their comic book counterparts depicted on the big screens, coming to save the day from the Godzilla-like monster of bad customer experiences. It was clear SugarCRM made Sugar users the heroes of the CRM world. As SugarCRM’s EVP walked on stage to open the conference, there was a larger-than-life feeling in the air, especially with the incredible visual of his comic book character behind him on the big screen.
The Sugar Hero world continued past all the official business. Vision threw a “Superhero Speakeasy” party, turning the General Session Ballroom into an after-hours Gotham City club. Attendees enjoyed delicious food and drinks, live entertainment, and caricature artists who drew them as their favorite superheroes. Parties like this are often used as an attendee-retention tool, the added incentive for attendees to stay until the very end of the conference. So beyond the party being a quite a blast, it was really satisfying to us and to SugarCRM that it became the evidence that SugarCon 2017 was a success. SugarCon’s Superhero Speakeasy party was one of the most fully-attended parties we’ve ever produced for a conference. It was really quite a sight to see the San Francisco Hilton full of attendees, gathered from all over the world, dressed in their own superhero costumes. And after the party, the heroes spread out all over Union Square, as hundreds of Sugar Heroes dressed in costume had everyone thinking that Halloween came to San Francisco a little early this year. It really proved to us just how much the theme and messaging resonated with the attendees.
We can honestly say that SugarCon 2017 was an incredibly unique and fun conference to produce. It was such a pleasure to work with a company that was all for making some bold and risky choices for their user conference, and it was incredibly rewarding to witness the profound impact those choices had on the attendees. The energy of this event was so unique, and we are really looking forward to working with SugarCRM for SugarCon 2018, when we call all SUGAR HEROES to Las Vegas!