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CGX emerge Conference : New Standard for Events

August 2011 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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Among the featured speakers was Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO of self-publishing platform Blurb. Her high-energy keynote illustrated the many tools that have reshaped the publishing business, including mobile apps, and really showcased Gittins' passion for the business, according to Grohs.

Don Pettit, chairman and CEO of cosmetics newcomer Mally Beauty, gave a rousing talk on the ins and outs of building a brand and establishing brand awareness. The top exec of the online/QVC cosmetics giant discussed some of the tools used to put his company on the map in a highly competitive field.

With almost perfect timing to coincide with the release of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," John Sabel, executive vice president, motion picture creative print marketing for Walt Disney Studios, shared the experience of marketing and branding surrounding a major motion picture launch. Sabel was responsible for the creative vision via billboards and signage leading up to the film's May 20 release.

Jamey Rootes, president of the National Football League's Houston Texans, also got the crowd fired up as he detailed what it takes to develop a pro football brand. Rootes, ironically, also helped segue into the party at Cowboys Stadium, which included a live band and 16 breath-taking cheerleaders.

Back by customer requests from the previous year, CGX rolled out its Premiere Series of panel discussions—three events covering marketing, technology and digital. It also took the opportunity to announce the June 1 opening of a new "cloud computing" data center. The center, a partnership effort with HP, gives CGX the ability to house all of its information, systems and technology, and make it scalable through the cloud environment.

CGX also unveiled its new Web-to-print application, called Streamline, which is part of the company's Worksmart Suite technology-based marketing offering. "We demoed it in the business expo area and received a lot of positive feedback. Our customers are really excited about it," Grohs notes. "Streamline is fast, sleek, easy to build and there's a lot of great functionality built into it. It integrates cross-media and personalization into it. It's taking all the things our customers wanted and built into an integrated platform."

Client Salute

Speaking of parlaying customer feedback into reality, CGX also hosted its inaugural Encore Awards, a competition designed to honor customers as opposed to printers. CGX enlisted its member companies to submit, on behalf of their clients, more than 500 entries across nine categories. A panel of independent judges from leading agencies across the country convened in Dallas earlier this year to judge the entries and select the top three from each of the nine categories. All 27 finalist entries were on display at emerge, where attendees could vote for the People's Encore Award for the top overall piece. Award winners were given a piece of custom-made Tiffany crystal at a gala held the first night.

"It went over really well. This was all about thanking our customers and recognizing the work that they're doing," notes Grohs, who added that the awards will become an annual part of emerge.

Last, but certainly not least, Grohs acknowledged the associates from around the CGX chain who helped pitch in to make the event a rousing success. Each day, the 20 or so associates wore a different (brightly) colored shirt to make them more recognizable. The associates, who participate in the company's leadership development program, brought energy, fun and a willingness to help emerge attendees wherever possible.

"I can't say enough about what a wonderful job they did," he adds.

Emerge 2012 is set to take place in New Orleans on April 17-20. PI


 

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