Bethenny Frankel John McIndoe IRI Growth Summit

The Future of CPG: 2018 IRI Growth Summit Highlights

By Tim Johnson

UPRAISE recently supported Information Resources Inc.’s (IRI) annual customer conference, the 2018 IRI Growth Summit at the Wynn Las Vegas. IRI is the foremost innovator in big data and predictive analytics that generate the insights necessary to help consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and retailers achieve new, higher levels of growth. Read more about our public relations strategy and the success of the event below.

1 Step Ahead: Highlights from the 15th Annual IRI Growth Summit

Tim: It’s been fun for me to watch Summit grow from a few hundred people in 2008 to more than 1,500 this year. This was my 10th Summit and the quality and sophistication of the program and content grow each year. No two Summits have been the same. Every year, we provide slightly different support based on changing needs – and every year includes at least one surprise.

Claire: This was my first Summit (actually my first conference ever) and it was beyond what I had expected. Everything went smoothly, the speakers were both inspirational and educational. There truly was some sort of takeaway for everyone in attendance. Even though we don’t work directly in the CPG space, what I took away about big data and advertising will be helpful when marketing for our clients across the board.

Victoria: This was my 3rd time attending Summit and I’ve found that every year the event gets better and better. Personalization is a huge trend in CPG and retail right now and IRI went above and beyond to make each attendee feel important and recognized. Whether you were checking in to the conference on the first day or attending a breakout session, IRI included personalized touches like selecting a pair of IRI branded socks in your favorite color or saying “hello Victoria” every time I was scanned into a room. IRI really practices what they preach.

Lauren: This was also my first Summit, and it far exceeded my expectations. I loved hearing how CPG companies are listening to consumers, and how consumer preferences and buying habits impact new product innovation. People are talking, and companies are listening – but product development and messaging has to show that companies are listening. It was also incredibly interesting to hear how big data, analytics and AI are shaping the future of food retail.

Our Favorite Parts of IRI Growth Summit

Tim: My favorite part is the opening presentation by Andrew Appel, IRI’s CEO. Andrew is a very compelling speaker. It’s clear he is the driver of many new ideas, has unbounded energy, a healthy level of impatience, and is clearly unafraid to try new things. He is not a robotic or fully scripted speaker, which enhances his credibility. He is very in tune with his audience.

Claire: My favorite part was the General Sessions. Like I said before, I have never attended a large conference like this in my professional career. It was really interesting to hear from some of the biggest names in the business about branding and disruption, including Skinnygirl’s founder Bethenny Frankel, Trend Hunter’s CEO Jeremy Gutsche, and Clorox CMO Eric Reynolds.

Victoria: My favorite part of Summit was the Growth Summit Celebration. It featured The Rat Pack impersonators, Las Vegas showgirls, a man juggling while balancing on a ball, aerial silk dancers, the iLuminate dance troupe, and multi-platinum selling recording artist, Andy Grammer. The celebration allowed us to network with other attendees in a laid-back atmosphere. Most important, since IRI works with major food brands and manufacturers, all of the food and drinks served were delicious!

Lauren: I also loved the General Sessions. The breakout sessions were excellent for deeper dives into the specialized subject matter, but I thought the General Session speakers were perfectly curated to entertain and educate a large and diverse audience, including CPG manufacturers, retailers, and their media partners. The speakers and their stories were truly remarkable.

What Was New at Summit in 2018?

Tim: We put together video testimonials from multiple IRI customers. This was a first. The CPG and retail industry is massively competitive and these organizations are rarely willing to discuss any aspect of their business. The fact that so many went on the record highlighting IRI’s contribution to their business success is a tremendous testimonial to IRI. I have suggested these for several years and I’m so glad we were able to do them this year. While I’m not sure if it’s based on my recommendation or not, but I am taking credit for it 🙂

Victoria: Summit is always a flurry of activities and this year was no different. We were tasked with securing media attendance and interviews, live Tweeting sessions, drafting and pitching press releases, writing blogs, drafting daily recap emails and post-Summit newsletters. Luckily everything went off without a hitch!

Lauren and Claire: We mentioned that this was our first Summit, so we don’t have much to add here. However, Tally, the autonomous shelf-stocking robot from Simbe Robotics, was certainly new to us!

The Most Fun Parts of 2018 IRI Growth Summit

Tim: Another first for us: we were able to secure a briefing at the local Las Vegas Telemundo studio. The briefing focused on the future of drones as part of retailers’ delivery strategy. It turned out great.

Claire: Bethenny Frankel’s story behind her brand Skinnygirl was inspiring, educational, and had me laughing the whole time. Her passion for what she does and the drive to get Skinnygirl to where she wants it to be is very clear. While she can be very blunt at times, her honesty was refreshing.

Victoria: Trend Hunter’s Jeremy Gutsche kicked off the last day of Summit with an inspiring and hilarious morning session. His ability to engage an audience of 1,500+ people at 9 a.m. on day three of a conference started the day off on a positive as well as upbeat note.

Lauren: I really enjoyed the announcement of IRI’s annual New Product Pacesetters report. It has become a tradition to announce the report at Summit each year, to celebrate the most successful new product launches of the year prior. Despite increasing emphasis on health and wellness, consumers also value balance, creating market opportunities for indulgent treats, particularly better-for-you and natural indulgence. Overall, it was cool to be sitting in the same room as many of the brands who made the list.

Save the Date: 2019 IRI Growth Summit

Pack your skis: the 2019 IRI Growth Summit will be held March 11-13 in Denver, Colorado at the brand new Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. You don’t want to miss it!

2019 IRI Growth Summit Gaylord Rockies Denver

 

 

 

 

 

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