May Tradeshow Report

Power People & Power Brands Collide

More than 100 companies converged on the Big Apple to display their latest brand, incentive, and recognition offerings.

In this fast-paced world of instant gratification, it seems we now need incentives to do anything. If it involves making a purchase--a car, electronics, or even groceries--often a rebate or a coupon is just the right incentive for the consumer to finally make a purchase. Incentives to promote travel might come in the form of inexpensive airfare or hotel room rates. For the New York Incentive Rewards & Recognition Show, which took place May 7-8, one of its biggest incentives is its location; another, is the chance to experience an all-in-one combination of exhibits, on-floor Power Sessions, and paid seminars focused on the show's theme, "Brands Powering People, People Powering Brands."

Featuring more than 100 leading brands, incentive, and recognition companies, the event is now in its second year. It was held at the Hilton Hotel and Towers, which can accommodate as many as 175 booths on two levels of spacious halls. (The show's sponsors included the Human Capital Institute, the Incentive Marketing Association, and the International Society for Performance Improvement.)

The objective for this event was to show organizations how to improve their brands through effective use of internal marketing, incentive programs, and rewards and recognition, and how to use that knowledge to drive better performance.

Two Powerful Educational Tracks
Taking a page out of the event's theme, the educational portion of the show was divided into two tracks. The first was "People Powering Brands," a paid, two-day educational track that will feature 10 sessions covering the economics of customer and employee engagement; the psychology of engagement; connection points between brands and people; strategies to engage customers, channel partners, salespeople, and employees; and implementation and measurement of engagement strategies and tactics.
1to1 Marketing founder Don Peppers, a world-renowned expert on branding and co-publisher of a new book titled "Rules to Break and Laws to Follow," spoke on messages from his book during his keynote session, which was titled "Turn Your Brand Message Into a Brand Mission."

Mark Schumann, a Towers Perrin communications consultant and co-author of the book "Brands From the Inside," gave a presentation of the same name on day two of the event that was specifically directed at corporate communications and human resource executives.

Rodger Stotz, vice president of Maritz, addressed the growing number of ways organizations can measure performance and its impact on organizational results on a concrete basis, encompassing almost any job function, in his session titled "The Science of Human Performance Measurement."

The second educational track, "Brands Powering People," was free to attend with an exhibit hall pass. It  featured 10 seminar sessions to educate corporations, marketing agencies, and consultants about the hottest brands used in the world of consumer, channel partner, sales force, and employee incentives, rewards, and recognition.

It's a Kind of Magic

What happens at this Vegas Safety Conference & Expo will definitely not stay in Vegas.

Returning to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for the first time since 2005, the National Fire Protection Association's annual World Safety Conference & Exposition will be held June 2-5, 2008, and promises to be the event's largest outing ever. Featuring 24 pre-conference seminars (May 31-June 1) and 160-plus education sessions within 11 tracks, including dozens of case studies, test results, and code updates, this 37th installment of the event is expected showcase more than 300 exhibitors and draw more than 5,000 attendees, trumping last year's turnout of some 4,800.

As its session titles imply, this conference is geared for life safety, electrical, and security professionals at all levels. The sessions range, for example, from "NFPA PPE Standards--What They Are and What Has Changed" on June 2 and "Introduction to Fire Alarm Systems" on June 3 to "Electrical Preventive Maintenance: Utilizing Infrared Thermographic Evaluations to Assess a Building's Electrical System" and "The Pitfalls, Perils and Reasoning Fallacies of Determining the Fire Cause in the Absence of Proof: The Negative Corpus Methodology," both on June 4. Among the Spotlight Sessions are "Recommendations of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board" and "Things You Will Want to Know About the 2010 NFPA 72®," both also on June 4. Several sessions with local themes also will take place, such as June 3's "Las Vegas Theaters: The Weird, the Strange and the Unusual."

Penn Station
And speaking of unusual, this year's General Session on Monday, June 2, from 1-3 p.m., will allow attendees to experience a Las Vegas-style show featuring Penn & Teller, stars of a long-running act at the Rio Hotel in Vegas, a show NFPA bills as "part magic, part comedy, and part 'hold onto your hats.'" The quirky entertainers are also known for their numerous television projects and appearances, a successful Off-Broadway show, and three books.

Incorporating a different brand of illusion into the conference for those who arrive early, the association is offering a behind-the-scenes tour and technical presentation of the Cirque du Soleil® Beatles™ show at the Mirage on Sunday, June 1, from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. as one of the 24 one- and two-day pre-conference seminars. Attendees will get a first-hand demonstration of the LOVE™ Theater's automation, sound, and projection systems, as well as a presentation of the fire protection and complex deluge systems incorporated into the theater's design. Participants will be able to interact with the engineers who solved the challenges surrounding the theater's interconnecting levels and proscenium protection. NFPA says it is one of the most complex fire protection approaches on the Vegas Strip.

Of equal interest to many attendees, in light of the Imperial Sugar explosion in February and subsequent federal activity involving The Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act of 2008, will be instructor John M. Cholin's pre-conference seminar the same day from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. entitled "Dust Explosion Hazards." A description of the seminar says that Cholin, P.E., F.S.F.P.E, will review NFPA 654, outline the process of a dust deflagration, and provide real-world examples of hazardous areas with key indicators regarding how to recognize an explosion hazard when one is encountered.

Other event highlights include the Opening Night Reception, also on Monday, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Expo Hall; and an NFPA "Ask the Experts" assembly on Wednesday, June 4 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the same Hall, followed immediately by a Grand Prize Giveaway drawing (for which you must be present to win).

Talking in Codes
The association's technical committee report session will start at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, and continue on Thursday. More than 25 documents are up for review, including NFPA 101 Life Safety Code® and NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®. In addition, the following four documents from the Fall 2007 revision cycle received a certified amending motion and will be presented for consideration: NFPA 17, NFPA 17A, NFPA 75, and NFPA 76. For information on the report of the motions committee, as well as technical meeting convention rules, visit www.nfpa.org/codes/codesandstandards.asp.

Exposition hours are:
Monday, June 2--3:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 3--11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 4--10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

For more information and registration, log on to nfpa.org/wsce.

This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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