Purpose: The Collision Conference is a global tech and innovation conference, and is one of the world’s largest. Held at the Enercare Centre, Toronto, the 2022 event attracted more than 35,000 attendees, presenting an unmatched opportunity for Invest Durham to connect with the tech industry.
To promote Durham Region for investment, Invest Durham worked with partners to create a “Durham at Collision” pavilion, and marketing campaign. The project was held under the Invest Durham brand and created with partners: economic development from eight area municipalities, three post-secondary institutions (Durham College, Ontario Tech University, Trent University Durham GTA) and 1855 Accelerator and Spark Centre.
Together, we established we must do something bold to stand out. Using our tourism value proposition as inspiration, we included an ‘urban excitement’ seating area based on a local urban restaurant, and ‘country charm’ inspired farmers’ market based on a local on-farm retailer. It is fair to say we expected to be—and were—the only pavilion at a tech event with a farmers’ market, complete with fresh produce, jams, honey, tea, and coffee. It was a fantastic conversation starter; and allowed us to repeat the memorable event tagline: “Durham is a delicious place to live while you rapidly grow your tech business”.
The 6 x 9 metre pavilion included:
- A proximity map featuring innovation assets across Durham;
- A television showing a ten-minute reel of innovation and lifestyle footage;
- Products, produce, and plants sourced from local businesses;
- Sustainably sourced promotional goods: kraft notebooks, bamboo pens, bamboo utensil sets;
- Three announcements held at the booth.
The companion digital marketing campaign included:
- Social media campaign and landing page;
- Pre-event news release and three during the event for partner announcements;
- A joint campaign with Mars Discovery District featuring a Durham-based innovator;
- Post-event blog and email drip campaign deployed to qualified leads.
Selected digital metrics for this event are:
- 100,000 organic and 280,000 paid social media impressions;
- Over 1000 connections and 583 qualified leads;
- News release placements in Yahoo Finance and Canadian Business Journal.
Selected investment attraction outcomes for this event, reported to date, are:
- An India headquartered software company taking a familiarization tour;
- An international education company inquiring about expansion into Durham Region;
- A Durham Region-based start up inquiry about space for their business;
- A CBC News story including two on-camera interviews in Durham Region;
- 15 qualified investment leads for 1855 Accelerator;
- An introduction between an innovative company and a large employer Whitby;
- Multiple companies working with post-secondary schools for talent or R&D;
- Introductions between Canadian start-up founders and Durham’s angel investor pitch competition.
Surveyed success measurement outcomes from our partners group:
- 95.24% of partners said they felt the booth at Collision Conference was Very Effective, or Effective
- 100% of partners said they felt attending Collision Conference together was Very Valuable or Valuable to their organization’s goals.
- Strengthened collaboration across Durham’s innovation community;
- Higher understanding of Durham’s shared value proposition for tech industry investment;
- High brand recognition within the global tech community.