Unicorns & Magicians: A Reflection on ACE 2018

Unicorns & Magicians: A Reflection on ACE 2018


Myself and the marketing team had a great time at the 2018 CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester.


The atmosphere was buzzing, and it was good for us to see the differing marketing approaches used at each stall. I was impressed by two in particular. One that displayed toy unicorns, another used a magician. Eye-catching and conversation-starting indeed!


We attended a fascinating talk by Sterling talent solutions about social media screening in the interview process. The talk covered the complex nature of using social media accounts to screen candidates as part of the hiring process. Initially, I found this thought rather frightening. The reasoning for using such a technique was that it helps to protect the image of your company from potentially volatile employees. Just as important is that it protects staff from such risks. It was this point that warmed me to the idea.


We had some really good conversations with attendees about Continuous Professional Development, particularly with people who have completed a HR or L&D Qualification. We were lucky to meet some of our wonderful learners. One of whom is at the start of their learning journey, and another who is nearing the end. We will post videos of these interviews in the next week or so – keep an eye out for them!


Did you go this year? What did you think of it? If you didn’t, would you consider going next year? Let me know in the comment section!  


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I'm a Marketing Assistant at DPG. My passions outside of marketing include nature, clothes, reading, thinking, daydreaming and my cat.

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  • I was looking for marketing / stand design ideas too and enjoyed catching up with old and new friends!

    I also loved the unicorns!!! (Where are my cinema tickets?).

    Interesting to notice the difference between the big space only stands with trained baristas and all sorts of high tech to a couple of shells scheme stands that barely bothered to put any thought in to their stand and company image at all and just had a pull up banner. But perhaps they booked the stand very late...

    Most importantly in my opinion is how the staff on the stands behave. Are they sitting down staring at their smartphones? Or are they proactively talking to people?

    I went to a couple of seminar sessions and was disappointed that they all just plugged their product rather than shared their expertise and knowledge in around their topic. 

    In terms of audience I felt there was a remarkable increase in mental health and general wellbeing stands, and also employee screening. Guess that's to be expected with Brexit looming...

    Overall, I've never seen so many sweets at a show :-)

    • Glad you had a good time as well Eva. The best stands were certainly the ones that made an effort with regards to talking to people, and the thought that went into the presentation. The seminars I went to were fortunately very good, and interactive as well in terms of engaging the audience.

      Sweets were indeed plentifu. One of many reasons why it was a good day! :-)

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