White Nights: breaking the conference rules in Russia
White Nights is a marketing and networking (no, not the TCP/IP based :)) conference that takes place in the cultural capital of Russia: the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, during a special season of “white nights.” It never gets dark, so the event starts late and the mingling crowds fall asleep by early morning — super friendly for your American jet lag!
Imagine the setting: East meets West in a mobile-marketing-focused get together in a beautiful environment. Time for the all new Unity Russia to join the fun.
Breaking the rules
Break the rules to steal the attention, we thought. So we got the biggest possible booth space, and invited the top two Russian Unity studios: Nival and Game Insight, to the improvised expo area.
We’re Unity, we should be friendly to indies, right? Here we go: Bretwalda Games and Laika Boss, both uniquely talented small studios with their first games in production, shared the booth space and the attention with the biggest and best.
Everyone hates it when the booth is filled with people who cannot answer questions, especially technical ones. We wanted to be different, so our guest studios brought their brightest minds to the booth area. Who can evangelise the engine better than the users with a success story, we thought, and all the geeky people surrounding our booth for two full days proved us right.
To engage the non-technical marketing conference visitors, we had a Unity-Chan cosplay by the famous Amiko-Chan. A lot of people hadn’t heard of her, but were ready to get familiar, took their selfies and got a special sticker.
Job done well — there was constant traffic around our booth!
The funny thing is, a lot of people at the show somehow missed trying upcoming title X-Mercs game by Game Insight, which was available to play at the booth. Yet the Internet was awash with people expressing their envy of those who got a sneak peek. Oh well, visit more industry events :)
While breaking all the rules, we still had to be relevant to all the people interested in traffic, publishing, ads and user acquisition. So we did a dedicated Unity track.
The hottest topic in the mobile world nowadays is publishing in China and Korea, but we’re Unity, we can deal with it: welcome Allen Foo of Unity Games China and Erik Hwang of Unity Games Korea. The user acquisition topic is what Everyplay and GameAds were made for, all part of Unity now, and, of course, part of our presence at the White Nights conference.
Doing a PhysX 3 talk in a science-pop setting was a bit of an experiment. If your marketing and user acquisition managers ever ask you about soft body physics, blame Anthony Yakovlev for that, he did a great job.
Dress warm! The calendar said mid-summer, but St Petersburg didn’t play by the rules. The compensation? Beautiful red sunsets and funny pictures of people covered in blankets.
The White Nights conference has a strong focus on parties and getting together, so it probably makes sense to focus on that, rather than the sessions.
The official language of the conference is Russian. Even though the organizers do their best to make foreign guests feel welcome, you’ll get more out of it if your Russian-speaking colleague is with you.
Prepare to mingle a lot, with a glass in your hand, that is. So now you know, this is how business is done… in this part of the world anyway.