Building products manufacturers had a rare opportunity to participate in a symposium that really hit the mark. The event was sponsored and organized by Tom Miller of Miller Brooks and was recently held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I have been to dozens of these types of events over the years and often come away empty handed or feeling I have revisited information I already knew. But this event was first class, not only in the quality of the content and the interaction between the speakers and the audience but from the venues. The opening event was held at the Columbia Club, which was established in 1889 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This set the tone for the event with its elegant architecture, design and its rich history. The symposium was held at the NCAA Hall of Champions which honors all the championship teams of the NCAA collegiate athletics. This was a championship event in a championship facility. It was the perfect venue.
The keynote speaker was Rex Miller who is the Thought Leader for Mindshift, a consortium within the commercial real estate business working toward industry transformation and author of The Commercial Real Estate Revolution. He discussed today’s economic climate and the rapid changes taking place in society and the business world. For companies to survive, they must learn the best ways to react to these changes.
One of the concepts he discussed was reverse mentoring. Knowledge is no longer in the hands of the seasoned professionals. Knowledge is instant and it’s in the hands of the young. We need to allow our younger employees to bring new knowledge to us especially with regard to engagement and interaction with our changing audiences.
The second part, and the most valuable to me, was a panel of experts in design and architecture, both professionals and providers to the professionals, who fielded questions from the audience. This was a very lively discussion with very valuable content. They were also able to voice their opinions openly about how they want to interact with manufacturers. One key message I came away with was the more expertise that a sales representative can deliver in the form of answers to questions or problems that will save them time – that has real value to them.
At the end of the day it was clear that while this event may have looked liked a thousand others, it was truly one of a kind.
Eric Nilsson is Vice President, Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corporation.