Inukshuk – A creative way to incorporate a meeting theme and message

At a recent global sales meeting for one of our major clients, showcasing the host city was an important element in the meeting theme. In this case, Toronto was the host city, and team-building activities such as attending a Toronto Raptor’s basketball game and exploring Toronto’s unique underground walkway called PATH were just some of the offsite activities our corporate meeting planners coordinated. However, the challenge was determining the best way to carry the theme through in the messaging of the meeting itself.  Enter inukshuk
A creative way to incorporate a meeting theme and message
Inukshuk originated as stone structures built by the indigenous inhabitants of the arctic regions of Canada to mark good fishing sites, areas that provided shelter from the wind, or a place for hunters to ambush caribou. On the wild arctic landscape they were often the only sign that humans have passed through. The term inukshuk literally means “You are on the right path.”

It was agreed that this was the message the Canada team wanted to share with their global colleagues, and they incorporated inukshuk in a very creative way. A replica of inukshuk was used in the staging with the colours of each section representing the message of each presenter. While each speaker presented on their respective topics, the main takeaway was about establishing collaboration. Each meeting attendee took home a mini inukshuk figure bringing home the message that “It takes a village.”

This is a shining example of how simple it can be to creatively carry a meeting theme from conception to onsite and beyond while promoting your message and leaving attendees with the feeling that they are part of something great. There symbolic icons like inukshuk in every city and region around the globe. With just a little research you should be able to find one that fits your next destination!

About the author:

Andy McNeill, CEO of AMI, is a veteran of the meetings and event industries, with more than 25 years of experience in the profession. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice. After graduation from Florida State with a degree in marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm. Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually across the globe. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded $40 million a year. In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually. The firm has managed programs in more than 20 industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot. Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. He is a member of MPI, Site, and the American Marketing Association. He volunteers as a chair of the Human Rights Campaign. Andy's day-to-day responsibilities include client acquisition, consulting and overall company strategy.

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