The challenge Founded in April 2009,  TEDxNewYorkSalon is the longest running TEDx event in New York. It had an active and engaged community, but its ability to reach younger audiences was limited.  In its fourth year, we were faced with the core challenges of:

  • Differentiating among dozens of New York based TEDx events and thousands of other TEDx events worldwide;
  • Creating a sustainable growth model that utilizes digital and social media
  • Improving the quality of salons through programming and curation

The response

Achieving differentiation. We focused on our unique salon format, and their power to spark meaningful conversations and connections/. We launched a website to communicate our brand values and vision, lift up our community and  streamline  access. to increase membership. Building on the TED master brand's vision of IDEAS WORTH SPREADING, we set our vision on CONVERSATIONS WORTH HAVING.

We now have specialists in event production, PR, social media and facilitation.Under my leadership, the organizing team has doubled in size and skill.  We now have specialists in event production, PR, social media and facilitation.

To appeal to a more diverse audience, we needed a team that was equally diverse in demographic composition and perspective.

Building a sustainable growth model. We employed a digital strategy targeting a more diverse audience of younger individuals and women in our outreach. We also partnered with like-minded brands who shared the same core values as our growth target. These brands include: Stonehenge, Squarespace, Center for Social Innovation, UBER and GOOD Magazine.

Improved quality of salons. Transitioning into content creation and curation, we came up with a narrative and a voice for our brand which opened up spaces for us to communicate more effectively. We also focused on a smoother, more dynamic salon experience at the events themselves.

The results

We have achieved the fastest growth period in our community's history, doubling membership in 2013. Additionally, inspired by the calibre of our increasingly diverse, we have innovated the weekly event itself so that we now include guest curators of 'rock star' calibre and community-facilitated salons

A true labor of love, the 100% volunteer community and organizing committee remain loyal, committed and engaged to cultivating a soft space in which we can continue to have the hard conversations.

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Starting in 2016, we are extending the brand experience beyond the on-site weekly salon. We are now utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to provide both the content and thought-provoking discussion that allows people outside of New York City to share in our brand experience.