Central Banking’s inaugural Summer Meetings event, which took place in June, delivered the most participants in the brand’s 30-year history. The event also gave Central Banking an additional way to engage with its core audience, as well as underscoring the suitability of the virtual format for this global audience.
The numbers tell their own story. The 6-track event featured more than 100 speakers and chairs from the official and commercial sectors, and this was the first time a Central Banking event had reached four figures for registrations. From an institutional perspective, this event was seen by an unheard-of 147 central banks – more than three-quarters of the sector. Overall, more than 180 institutions were represented – another record.
Beyond this, the Summer Meetings have been a watershed for the brand in terms of positioning. The Meetings were the first ‘marquee’-style event the brand had created. The virtual format meant Central Banking could include a greater number of tracks – clearly labelled after functions at central banks. The breadth gave the event a universal feel, in contrast to the brand’s previous conferences, which focused on narrower audience segments. The Summer Meetings also provided a better home for the brand’s two awards programmes, which also cover a range of central bank functions and work.
The message from feedback and from talking to participants has been clear: central bankers saw this as their meeting. There are, to be sure, many meetings that central bankers attend: those of the IMF and BIS, for instance, which have been running for more than half a century – not to mention those organised by private sector and even academia. However, none are designed specifically for central bankers – or, more accurately, for all central bankers. This is what attracted them to the Summer Meetings.
The proposition was attractive to clients, as Central Banking Commercial Director John Cook explains:
“After a difficult year of uncertainty, our commercial partners didn’t know when they would be able to engage with their central bank clients. The Central Banking Summer Meetings enabled our partners to offer thought leadership by participating in the programme and to reconnect with their clients using the platform. Where restrictions around the world meant a lack of contact, the Meetings offered a much-needed boost to discussions within the community. The virtual event format has proved to be a great success for the current times – and will support the community in the return following the pandemic.”
Of course, in a virtual world, attendance costs are only measured in time. There are no flights or hotels to worry about, no visas to sweat on. Whole teams can participate. And they did. So, whether you live in East London or East Timor, it is just the same: you only need a good WiFi connection.