In February 2015, CommsConsult was brought on board by the Think Tank Initiative (TTI)- a programme funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)- to provide social reporting services at the second Think Tank Exchange in Istanbul.
The Exchange brought together over 200 donors, stakeholders and think tanks from around the world to discuss the theme of ‘Research Quality: Approaches, Outreach and Impact’. The exchange ran across three days and enabled participants to meet and share ideas on evaluation techniques, ethics and cultural perceptions.
CommsConsult were tasked with facilitating engagement both by building a remote audience and by enabling an accessible dialogue within the Exchange via a digital forum.
The social reporting around the Exchange was heavily tied into the dialogue space set up by CommsConsult on Research to Action. This space provided a one-stop shop for all editorial content, presentation slides, Op-Eds and interviews from the event. CommsConsult curated the content within the dialogue page in order to create a space that provided an up to date commentary on the themes and questions of each day, by commissioning pieces from key speakers, as well as handling participant submissions and providing editorial support. .
In addition to commissioning and reviewing, CommsConsult was responsible for generating original content . This included publishing news stories prior to the event, as well as writing live content throughout, capturing interviews (on film and in text) and blogging.
CommsConsult also created a daily newsletter, which was sent out to all participants during the event. The digital newsletter provided a short editorial and visual overview of the previous day’s discussions,bringing all of the recent outputs (videos, interviews, blogs and announcements) into one place. The newsletter proved a very successful means of reaching the participants with an open-rate that was significantly higher than the recognised average.
Social media played a key role in maximising engagement before, during and after the event. In the lead up to the Exchange, CommsConsult advised TTI on best practice in setting up a dedicated hashtag. CommsConsult was responsible for building and maintaining content and engagement around #TTIX2015. Prior to the event this involved a detailed influencer and audience mapping exercise in order to maximise its reach, as well as generateregular original content in the lead up to the event.
During the event the team established a Tagboard, which was visible in all break out spaces within the conference venue, as well as online. This facilitated a unique interaction between the on-going digital conversations and those occurring in the room. Participants were able to see online dialogue in real time and gain an overview of the emerging themes.
CommsConsult also provided photographic coverage of the event capturing images and sharing them in real time to an online gallery.
On twitter alone #TTIX2015 reached over 905,741 users in three days and this number continued to grow following the event.