Recently celebrating its 12th year, Sunday Times Generation Next is the leading youth brand preference and consumer behaviour survey and conference in South Africa. Organised by Times Media and taking place in Johannesburg, the annual event consists of a conference, interactive showcase and awards ceremony.

With youth now turning brand marketing on its head, while also representing a potentially huge demographic, Sunday Times Generation Next plays a vital role by presenting marketers with crucial insight into the consumer behaviour and brand preference of the new generation, helping them capture the hearts and minds of youth.

The Challenge – Finding the missing link

In previous years, Sunday Times Generation Next relied on traditional methods to gather feedback and encourage interaction during conferences – asking audience members to fill out evaluation forms and raise their hands to ask questions, respectively. Audience participation had been relatively low in the past, and as Claire Schimper, project manager at Times Media Events, put it, there seemed to be a “missing link” between attendees and presenters.

Organisers of the event decided it was time to turn to technology as a remedy for this problem. They began looking at creating an app that could help increase audience participation during the conference along with solving some other challenges they were facing outside of the conference.

This included providing visitors of Sunday Times Generation Next with a detailed program of speakers and panels, as well an overview of awards winners, information about the event’s partners, social media links and push notifications throughout the day.

With attendees representing such a wide range of demographics, from youths as young as 10 to well-established brand and marketing managers, it was vital that the app be intuitive and easy to download.

The Solution – Increasing communication

Times Media began searching for an expert to partner with for the app. As it had little experience in this space, having only gone as far as using social media for past events, it looked at several companies’ offerings, going through a period of trial and error before finding Lumi. According to Schimper, she discovered Lumi through a colleague who had come across its technology at a previous conference and was instantly impressed.

The app used for the event was built on two pieces of Lumi technology: Meetoo and Lumi Say.

Meetoo allows audiences to interact with presentations instantly, through a variety of devices, via text responses and multiple choice polls. It also allows moderators to push information to their audiences without delay and collect valuable information to be used either at meetings or afterwards. Such functionality was crucial for Times Media to encourage interaction and make Sunday Times Generation Next a success.

Lumi Say allows event organisers and presenters to instantly send all the information visitors need, directly to their devices – before, after and during events – keeping them up to date and ensuring they get the most from events.

Prior to Sunday Times Generation Next, Lumi’s team of experts also provided Times Media with a number of suggestions in order to ensure visitors came to the event prepared, with the app already in hand.

The Results – Staying informed

Lumi’s pre-event and on-site assistance benefitted Times Media greatly.

“The on-the-day service from Lumi was amazing,” says Schimper. “They were really on the ball in terms of communication throughout the whole process and they were there during the event and willing to help everyone. We received some great feedback from conference delegates as well, they loved how easy the app was to use and download.”

According to Schimper, the main benefit of the new approach was how easy it made it for the audience to interact with presenters during the conference. Another important benefit was that all visitors had access to a detailed speaker schedule and breakdown of events. The benefits continued to come in even after the event, with users filling out the audience and speaker evaluations included in the app.

“That was one of the main challenges we were facing before – we weren’t really able to check information after the event,” says Schimper. “For us to receive the report from Lumi straight after the event, detailing what happened and how the conference went overall, it was perfect.”

Going forward, Times Media plans on using the app again next year. The only difference, says Schimper, is that they will make even more use of it.

“We’re definitely going to be using the app next year, and we’re planning on completely eliminating the print programme in order to encourage more people to download the app,” she says. “Mixing digital and business is definitely the way forward.”

About Lumi

Lumi is a global market leader in real-time audience insight technology for research, live events, meetings and corporate communication.

With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, customers can trust Lumi to deliver a dynamic, cost-effective and worry free event. Lumi’s core technologies and engaging mobile apps are used by hundreds of multinational corporations and their advisers to provide an unparalleled understanding of attitudes, opinion and behaviour in a dynamic and innovative way.

With our ongoing research and development of event technology we are constantly innovating and ensuring our systems are always progressing. Lumi was selected for the first wave of technology companies to join the exclusive Future Fifty, the Government backed fast-track program to support high growth businesses in the UK.