2016: What lies ahead

CEO Gwenaël Le Bodic gives us an overview of the festival app space in 2015 and a glimpse at what is to come.

2015 was a big year from Greencopper – new team members, new collaborators and entirely new festival experiences. So far, all signs point to an even more ambitious and exciting 2016. So as a way of ushering in the new year, our Content Creator Sarah sat down with CEO Gwenaël for a chat about what has come to pass and what lies ahead. Here are a few highlights of that conversation!

Where would you say Greencopper stands today compared to a year ago?

Well, it’s been a pretty active and surprising year here, to say the least! For starters, 2015 was the year of new collaborations, integrations and partnerships. In our fifth year as a company, we’re increasingly becoming recognized as industry leaders and that’s given us the opportunity to work with big brands and platforms like Spotify – which we fully integrated into our apps this year. Those new tools and collaborations have also meant working on wider scales and projects with bigger reach, so we’re getting really comfortable working in volume and fine-tuning our process in order to tackle big contracts and ideas.

I’d also say that we’ve really had the opportunity to flex our creative muscles this year by using technology like beacons to try out new functionalities and features. At Reeperbahn 2015, we scattered beacons across the whole site and used the data to create personalized Spotify playlists based on the concerts every individual user had attended. Plus, we gave a presentation about the outcome during the actual event, as results and data were still coming in. I think that’s helped people understand how agile, creative and established we are, and it was tons of fun for our team as well. So I’d say 2015 was the year where we really proved that we work hand-in-hand with the industry, that we have the tools, ideas and expertize to provide the custom technology and mobile experiences they need. Some of those tools, like our Crowd Connected integration, sent us in a new direction entirely – providing helpful information for festival operators as opposed to serving traditional marketing and communications functions. With their CoLocator feature, we were able to generate live heat maps that have the team a much better understanding of how people were moving around the site, where the logistical pain points might be and how they could provide an overall smoother and safer festival experience. We’ll be doing a lot more of that in the months and years to come.

And where would you like to see Greencopper in a year from now?

By next year, I want us to really position ourselves as a tool to help festival managers engage in actual conversations with festival-goers; so we’re pushing ahead on projects and functionalities that will allow for deeper personalisation and context-aware communication. We also want to streamline the content creation process by preparing our apps with wide, overarching syndication in mind. Every time a new festival or event comes on board to create their own, unique app, a huge part of the workload on their end revolves around content. They have to upload calendars, band bios, images, links, artist art etc… it’s a fair bit of work. If we could leverage all of the user-generated information fed into the platform and allow all of our clients to access it and use it just like you would a Creative Commons photo, they’d be able to save an important chunk of precious time that they really need to be focusing on the actual organizing of an incredible festival experience.

The same goes for compatibility and integration of existing CRM platforms; it’ll simply cut down on content time and optimize existing tools that already do a great job. That way, our collaborators will turn to us not only for our support and powerful technology, but for actual content and ideas. The people handling these festivals and apps are really talented and knowledgeable industry experts who are constantly working on uncovering emerging artists and providing them with the visibility and audience they need, we want to facilitate that, leverage their expertise and allow others to do the same.

Could you tell me about some of the challenges you think will pop up both for Greencopper and the industry more globally?

I think the biggest challenge right now – and this applies both to us and the whole industry – is balancing data and privacy. Through our apps, we’re able to collect vast amounts of genuinely important and helpful information that can both improve a festival-goer’s experience and help with logistics and safety. We know that information is valuable to our festival managers, sponsors and organizers but we feel really strongly about guarding the privacy and trust of attendees; so we have to establish and define those boundaries as we develop the capacity to better use that information. It’s a responsibility we take really seriously and it’s a constant concern for us as we work on developing deeper rationalization and segmentation features.

I think the whole industry is feeling that push and pull, especially as we take a closer look at security measures in the aftermath of the Bataclan tragedy. We’re committed to keeping an eye on our ethical boundaries as we develop some of the technology that could genuinely boost and sustain event safety and optimize layout.

Again, our work with Crowd Connected is a great example of that. For example, if things were too dense around the bar, the managers would send out extra bartenders to ease the flow. If crowds got too dense or over-crowded, additional safety measures and team members could be deployed. That’s valuable, but it has to be done respectfully. It’s important to us.

How about golive.fm? Where do you think it’s headed in 2016?

I think this is the year golive.fm really expands its audience. Since its launch last February – which excitedly happened without a single technical glitch – the tool has developed into a really powerful, engaging and easy to use platform. We’ve had great feedback and worked with a slew of brand new collaborators; now we need to get it out to the world.

To us, golive.fm is really about democratizing technology and increasing accessibility to tools like apps. We think smaller events and festivals with constrained budgets should still be able to create engaging, informative and creative mobile experiences that elevate their festival line-up without having to break the bank. So 2016 will be about growing our user-base and getting the word out about a product we’re really proud of. We’re also working with a few potential new collaborators to integrate new features like cash-less payments and in-app ticket purchasing, so there should be a few new interesting elements organizers will be able to easily plug into their app.

And Greencopper as a team? You’ve brought on quite a few new people in the last couple of months and there’s more to come! How’s that going to impact 2016?

Yeah, there’s been a lot of movement around here, it’s exciting. We’ve hired quite a few new team members and interns, which is always a great new source of ideas, inspiration and skills. One of the things we’re really working on is adapting to everyone’s context, schedule and work preferences in order to create a working environment that’s agile, flexible and meaningful to our team. With colleagues across Europe and the US, there’s a lot of translation and adaptation necessary to making sure we’re all communicating and collaborating as well as we can.

One of the main ways we maintain that is by interviewing people carefully and making sure our new hires are a good fit with the Greencopper culture – we grant that as much weight as the nuts and bolts of skills and competencies. Skills can be taught and harnessed, but our approach to work, communication and collaboration is far more intricate to explain and train. So we try to be consistent that way all the while making our office a more enjoyable place by creating quiet corners, setting up comfortable couches, keeping gaming consoles and a foosball table in the office.

Last year, we launched what we call our Captain Support program. It’s basically a voluntary program where every week, a new person is tasked with handling all requests for support 24/7. Not only does that lighten the load for the rest of the team, but it provides great support for our clients and allows that person to have real ownership of his or her role in the company. Over half of the team has signed up, which to me is a great sign that people feel genuinely committed to what they’re doing. We want people to feel involved and invested when they come to work, and I’m confident that 2016 will just solidify that.

And finally – what has you most excited about 2016?

I’m really excited about the growth of our festival portfolio. In 2016, thanks to several deals with leading promoters, we’ll be working with a network of over 300 festivals. This, to us, represents a really exciting base upon which we’ll be able to launch tons of new collaborative initiatives that will hopefully benefit the entire music industry. This will also allow us  to increase our investment in technology dedicated to providing tools for operational teams, going beyond mobile apps as simple marketing tools and turning them into genuine must-haves for organisers. I’m also looking forward to getting to know our community of users and festival managers a lot more. We’re spoiled – our audience is one of trailblazers, influencers and taste-makers, we want to make sure we’re getting their impressions, feedback and ideas to get the most out of that knowledge. One of the ways we’ll be doing that is by re-launching this blog and becoming a bit more consistent in the way we produce content.

So yeah… cool collaborations, ambitious new features and a more engaged conversation with our user base. Bring it on, 2016.

What’s your 2016 looking like? Want to be part of the conversation about tech, mobile and incredible events? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium – we can’t wait to hear from you!