Meetings

Daily Buzz: Analyze Facial Expressions for Accurate Attendee Feedback

By / Apr 10, 2019 (Rawpixel Ltd/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Post-conference surveys gather only limited attendee feedback. But analyzing participants’ faces? That’s another story. Also: Patagonia’s new stance on co-branding.

Post-meeting surveys are a great way to get attendee feedback, but participation isn’t always guaranteed. One feedback metric attendees can’t avoid: their facial expressions.

“Capturing and analyzing the facial expressions of audience members is emerging as a reliable and affordable tool for conference planners thanks to rapid improvements in biometric technology and artificial intelligence,” says Hannah Kinnersley on MeetingsNet.

Here’s how it works: Video cameras are installed at the side of a stage, for example, to film the facial expressions of the audience, about one camera per 100 attendees. Then, the video feed is run through software that uses artificial intelligence to identify and track facial microexpressions.

Unlike some biometric scanning tools that require attendees to opt in, Kinnersley says the new technology is anonymous. “They simply identify an attendee’s emotions, without identifying the face,” she says, giving planners access to a wealth of honest attendee data that they might not have received otherwise.

Patagonia’s New Swag Policy

Whether in the form of staff gear or event swag, promotional items—especially name-brand stuff—is a conference mainstay. But what happens when a vendor’s ethical concerns get in the way?

Patagonia, whose jackets and other outdoor gear have become co-branded go-tos, recently changed its policy on promos. It now says it will prioritize charitable and mission-driven organizations and is “reluctant to co-brand with oil, drilling, dam construction, etc., companies that they view to be ecologically damaging,” according to a tweet from an agency executive who was trying to place an order that the company rejected.

Whether other brands will follow suit remains to be seen, as does the impact such a policy could have on planners.

“I think for us going forward as event planners, when we are approaching a vendor, whether it is Patagonia or Yeti, we need to say to them, ‘We’re looking into you for a client that is in the spirits business or a client that’s in the oil business. Do you have anything against co-branding with that industry?’” event planner Dianne DiNardo said in an interview with BizBash. “I think that’s going to be the new approach from the perspective of event and meeting planners like myself that are doing promotional items.”

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Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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