A traditional sake ceremony during an annual event established a brand connection

Enduring Connections at Annual Events

Networking events at conventions and exhibitions can be extremely valuable to attendees who want to mix with their colleagues, establish new relationships and share valuable information with each other.

The Challenge: Keeping annual events fresh and engaging while establishing a strong brand connection

Background: Every year, Radiologists arrive at the RSNA in Chicago eager to learn from each other in both formal and informal settings. There are limited venues appropriate and available for a large group of Radiologists, so most companies return to the same location every year. The company wanted to establish a long-term relationship with its customers and build a strong connection with the brand.

Insight: An established tradition provides a framework for change and constancy.

Strategic Approach: Establish an atmosphere that encourages open communication between valued guests, while creating an engaging centerpiece activity that is constant from year to year, but allows creative variation to keep guests returning.

Traditional Sake Ceremony Customers and Executives Celebrate Relationships

Tactical Implementation:

  • Utilize the Japanese tradition of a Sake Ceremony, which celebrates partnership, as the centerpiece of the evening
  • During the Sake Ceremony, recognize key customers from around the world for their contributions to medical science
  • Create a sense of drama for the ceremony, with staging that varies from year to year
  • Create invitations that are given by sales only to their top customers and prospects to assure that the appropriate guests attend
  • Hold the event in Chicago‚Äôs Navy Pier, a space big enough to accommodate a large crowd and allow free-flowing conversation and networking
  • Utilize the stage of the venue for the musicians and keep the levels appropriate for conversation
  • Vary the story of the ceremony each year using new creative treatments, but keeping core cultural elements intact
  • After the Sake Ceremony, establish a tradition of Ceremony participants signing Sake cups for other attendees as another networking opportunity
Navy Pier Decor Successful Event at Chicago’s Navy Pier


  • Brand affinity arising from the event, and other activities, was reflected in a rise in market share
  • Management did not desire specific numerical measures of success at this event, beyond general attendance figures
  • Robust annual attendance, along with feedback from customers and the sales force, contributed to the consensus of success for the event
  • Creative staging of Sake Ceremonies won industry awards and helped customers look forward to the event year after year

Events like this are only possible with the work of an extended team of dedicated professionals working together for maximum impact.

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