It was great to be invited to speak to the Kalzip TeamKal conference, not least because the audience of construction businessmen in their forties and fifties was always going to be skeptical about the value of Social Media to their own work. That made it a challenge, but also an opportunity, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Kalzip make metal standing seam roof and wall cladding systems. They have been holding conferences for their accredited fitters and suppliers for sixteen years, and evolved the format for the day into something that the audience, many of whom come year after year, like best.
This event is built around networking – opportunities to meet informally with each other and with the Kalzip people, catch up on the industry, review the year and build relationships. For this reason there are huge long refreshment breaks and meals, but no-one is leisurely at all, everyone is working very hard to make the most of the time they have together.
Somehow the organizers have managed to cram in an MC, six speakers, an awards dinner and a charity auction into the day and yet it felt really relaxed. The Kalzip marketing and production team have carefully honed the calm yet industrious atmosphere, and with help from staff at Carden Park in Chester made for a very productive day.
With the help of CIB Communications, Kalzip have set up a Facebook page and are encouraging their TeamKal members to join with them to help customers learn about the material’s applications. They are also beginning to experiment with blogging, and have been on Twitter for some time.
Kalzip’s team also videoed the event and talked to many of the participants. Though the speakers ranged from a Red Arrows pilot to a talk on BIM, the prevailing impression was that made by the social media talks.
I think this development is promising for architects. If contractors and suppliers are beginning to take an interest in Web 2.0 as a business tool, could we look forward to the waning of traditional ‘push’ marketing and the number of unsolicited letters and cold calls? That would be most welcome.