Five years ago, at the onset of the recession, Cisco CEO John Chambers predicted technology would play a role in its recovery – and that Cisco would prove it by example. Cisco reached out to GPJ, our sister agency JUXT, and other key business partners in the industry to bring this to fruition, taking their global sales meeting (GSM) from a 20-year history as a physical event to a continually innovative hybrid experience (GSX) designed for a sales force of 20,000.

Each year, Cisco pushes the innovation engine further. In 2013, efforts were focused on deepening the connection between live and online audiences across multiple channels – with the goal of ensuring a high quality experience by all attendees – especially the 20% (4,000+) who experience the experience on their own, fully virtually.

Our solution was an attendee-centric design – one that was highly customized to individual attendees’ interests and needs and reflected how those interests changed over the course of the GSX experience. Our strategy + planning practice set the goals and guidelines for GSX success, while JUXT put the right digital design and technology behind it. Leveraging responsive design, the GSX site was an “Anywhere, Anytime” digital experience across all devices.

Equally important was encouraging the formation of new connections between attendees across the globe.  Sales teams could acknowledge the achievements of their colleagues and demonstrate appreciation through such features as one-click congratulatory messages. Additionally, attendees were able and encouraged to expand their professional networks via matching and meet-up (in-person or virtual) services based on attendees’ areas of expertise and interest. Throughout the experience, individual voices could speak out and be heard by a global Cisco audience. And audience satisfaction was the highest ever – and higher than the live face-to-face experiences of the past.

With attendees inspired to “Make Amazing Happen,” and describing the experience as a whole as “the event we all needed it to become,” the GSX, GPJ and JUXT teams now turn this strategic and collaborative approach doing it again, even better, next year.