All posts by Audience

Evolving for the Future and the Role of HR: Philip Atkinson Shares His Insights

Promotional image of Philip Atkinson from Roche, speaker at Audience Inc's Human Resources Forum TOGETHR in Basel Dec 3 2018

Philip Atkinson, Global Head of Scientific Communications at Roche, joins our HR Forum ‘TOGETHR as a guest speaker to share his insights into the need for organisations, teams, and individuals to evolve to meet the needs of the future.

The business world has never experienced such a fast pace of change – and all companies, including HR teams, need to adapt and evolve.  Organisations, teams, and individuals need to use new skills and capabilities to be ‘fit for the future’.

With 20+ years of business experience – whose roles range from marketing manager to business leader to global head scientific communications, among others – Philip will offer a unique glimpse into topics such as executive leadership, influencing key stakeholders, and transforming organisations. Philip is a member of the oncology leadership team at Roche, an experienced mentor for the Healthcare and Businesswomen’s Association, and an ICF accredited coach.

Join us and meet Philip at our ‘TOGETHR’ event in Basel on December 3!

Register now!

Ready to register? Fill out this quick form.

We Are All HR

Visual to accompany blog post "We are all HR" to promote Audience's First HR Forum "TOGETHR" in Basel on December 3 2018.

For those of us whose job title says “Human Resources,” clearly we work in HR. But for the rest of us? Can one work in HR without the “HR” title? The answer is yes. In fact, nearly all of us work in HR.

The illusion that Human Resources is a box-like entity living in a silo is quickly fading. Technological advances, for one, are not only changing the way we live and the way we work, but also the human  resources organizations need to meet ever-changing demands.

The pharmaceutical industry is a great example. Healthcare professionals are moving away from one-size-fits-all treatments, demanding instead personalized solutions that target individual patient needs. These solutions require an innovative approach in technology to manage the scores of data personalized healthcare entails.

However, the innovative tech expert who could manage these projects doesn’t come to Basel for a career in tech.

For a location like Basel to catch the attention of a tech guru whose eyes are on the Google headquarters in Silicon Valley, who can influence that shift? Almost everyone!

From civil servants, to members of the pharmaceutical world, to the healthcare community, to researchers, and to all the agencies and freelancers hired along the way – everyone plays a role.

Paving the path for these new ways of working goes beyond the traditional Human Resources model and yet couldn’t be more HR-related. If your role includes hiring, training, retaining, and engaging with employees, you work in HR.

But it doesn’t end there – you also work in HR if:

  •        Your professional success depends on a collaboration between you and your peers
  •        You spend any of your work hours hoping to influence the decision-making of your peers
  •        Being mindful of your colleagues’ time, ambitions, and skill-sets helps you reach your professional goals

People who engage with the employee base work in HR. And who doesn’t do that?

Now that you know you are an HR professional, don’t miss Audience’s first Human Resources Forum TOGETHR on December 3, 2018 – read more and save a seat here.


The Evil HR Lady is Coming For Us in Basel!

And you won’t want to miss her…

Suzanne Lucas, the Evil HR Lady, speaker for HR Forum TOGETHR in Basel on December 3 2018

Suzanne Lucas – writer, speaker, and celebrated Evil HR Lady – will give us a dose of tough HR love served with a side of snark at the TOGETHR forum on December 3, 2018!

Known as The Evil HR Lady after her wildly popular blog, she is a bit of a legend in the Human Resources community. After spending a decade in corporate HR where she hired, fired, and managed the numbers, she moved on to become a full-time writer and speaker focused on helping people develop great careers, be better managers, and sort through all of the questions and nuances that come with managing people.

Topics like rage-quitting, sweet recruiting, and unconscious bias fill her blog as well as where she is a guest writer. You can also find her in interviews with the likes of HRD Leaders

Don’t miss Suzanne’s no-nonsense HR insights at our upcoming TOGETHR forum  in Basel.

Register now!

Ready to register? Fill out this simple form and save your seat now!

TOGETHR: Audience’s First Human Resources Forum

Logo of Audience's Human Resources Forum TOGETHR in Basel on December 3 2018
Work in Human Resources in Basel? Keep reading!

When our clients speak, we listen. Based on the expressed interest of HR professionals, we will be hosting ‘TOGETHR in partnership with the Congress Center Basel on December 3, 2018 from 9:00am – 4:30pm.

As a member of the Human Resources community, being a part of TOGETHR means making valuable connections, adding relevant skills to your skill set, and exchanging ideas with motivated, engaged, and interested professionals in Basel, like the “Evil HR Lady”  Suzanne Lucas, Global Head of Scientific Communication at Roche Philip Atkinson, and more. If you work in HR, you won’t want to miss it!

TOGETHR will provide a platform for you to share ideas and skills for engaging broad and diverse audiences, whether they are your peers, senior management, affiliates, or internal/external stakeholders. We will share insights and experience from working with large global matrix organisations, including the thinking and methodologies behind our most successful approaches to audience engagement. Additionally, we will bring experts in the field together to share their insights, ideas, and solutions. Finally, we will provide a platform for all participants to co-create new ideas unique to the needs of the HR community in Basel.

‘TOGETHR’ will inspire and educate you as a professional on three elements that underpin your future success and relevance:

  • Vision: The World in 2025. None of us can predict the future, but you can be a part of helping to shape what it looks like within your organisations.
  • Creativity: Discover New Ways of Working. To be successful, you need to be focused, agile, and able to work cross-functionally to solve problems in complex environments. We’ll examine how multiple disciplines can work together seamlessly and with a common purpose.
  • Collaborate to innovate: Co-create and co-generate. How working together can generate ideas for engaging employees now – and in the future.

At the end of the forum, you will:

  • Contribute to your thought leadership network
  • Be equipped to enhance the employee engagement experience
  • Own the HR space in Basel

Want us to save you a seat?

For our inaugural event, we envision an intimate setting in order to allow for deeper, more meaningful connections and exchanges. Our attendance fees for this pilot event reflect the same spirit. Attendees will enjoy a special pricing plan:

  • Group Discount: Every group of 10 receives one free entry
  • “Early Bird Special”: 150CHF per attendee from October 15 through October 28
  • “Just In Time”: 200CHF per attendee from October 29 through November 18
  • “Last Call!”: 300CHF per attendee from November 19 through November 25

Registration is easy!

Registration is super simple with this form. Once we’ve received your name and email, you will be sent further instructions on payment.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up-to-date!

The Cohesive Creative

The Cohesive Creative


Our favourite kind of creative concepts are those that run deep within a project. Think less “theme,” and more “creative platform.” Beyond a single word, tagline, or logo, the creative platform has nuance and richness. It extends naturally into elements that can go in multiple, diverse directions. And it is always clear and accessible to the audience. The creative platform doesn’t need to be explained at every turn; it simply is the fullness of the experience.

We had the chance recently to build and realize just such a project, and we’d like to share some of its highlights with you. A quick note, though: don’t read this if you’re hungry.

Read More


Audience @ IMEX 2017


Audience Account Director Jeff Bateman represented Audience at IMEX 2017 (known as “The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings, and events”) in Frankfurt, Germany. This four-day immersion into the world of meetings and events includes a three-day trade show and the chance to keep current with the latest trends. This is the event for people in the meeting and events industry, and it never disappoints.


This year offered some new touches, including an education day to kick off the conference—called “EduMonday”—and the intention to “live and breathe its 2017 Talking Point – Purposeful Meetings.” Over 9,000 buyers and visitors took part in this event, taking in education, technology, and presentations.

The focus on the purpose of meetings and events—the content and presentation—rather than the destination was a welcome change of pace. In the past, our industry has wowed audiences with spectacular destinations and top-notch hotels—but hasn’t always concerned itself with the details of what happens there.

Also a refreshing part of the “purposeful” focus was two “Be Well” lounges and the creation of “white space” areas to offer a chilled-out, tech-free vibe. Given the bustling marketplace, a genuine alternative and emphasis on self-care was appreciated.

The Thing About Presentations

There is no one thing, of course, but IMEX’s talking point did a fantastic job of setting up Jeff’s “Presentation Strategies” session. Intended to be a “campfire” session of 5-10 attendees, the appetite for content brought in 35 people, all keen to gain insight into how presentations can engage audiences and offer purpose.

Jeff’s session covered the fundamentals of presentation strategies (including the Audience Triangle), the form and function of presentations, and a framework for focus. The group also covered tips on body language—an imperative for anyone who gives presentations.

It was a happy accident to align so closely with IMEX’s focus on Purposeful Meetings, particularly as travel budgets change, travel security is harder to navigate, and the carbon footprint is more challenging to justify. Meetings and events are at an exciting moment of change right now.

Hologram Technologies

So what do organizers do, given the changing needs and capacities for meeting travel? In some cases, we know, meetings are going digital, with live streams and video launches across the globe. Another option? Holograms.

Imagine being able to present—or co-present—from your local office to a global audience: they can see you and hear you, and you can see and hear them. The interactive possiblities are fantastic, and the freedom to engage audiences without having to accommodate travel time and cost is going to have a huge impact on our industry. While the cost of this technology might initially seem prohibitive, it could replace (perhaps even reduce) the usual travel costs for attendees and presenters.

For a taste of what that might look like, check this out. We can’t wait to explore the possibilities.

From the Inspiration Hub: An Idea Shower

IMEX’s Inspiration Hub offered attendees the chance to meet in small groups with experts and presenters, to talk, and to play. In one such setting, the “Idea Shower,” we talked through how the Sharing Economy impacts our industry.

The Sharing Economy has become a pretty big part of how we travel (Uber), accommodate (airbnb), and trade items (Canada’s Bunz) or homes (lovehomeswap). But it seems anathema to business and industry, where competition has been the dominant ideology. As with other parts of our industry, this too seems to be changing.

Rather than competing for clients, experts are now talking about collaborating for mutual benefit, forming new partnerships where access trumps ownership. We’re keen to explore how these new partnerships will enhance and elevate audience experiences.

IMEX 2017 in Frankfurt was a fantastic experience, a chance to meet up with old connections and make new acquaintances. Meetings with purpose, the time and space to be well (and un-deviced), encountering new technologies and ideas—we were thrilled to be part of this experience.

Organizational Binaries, Revisited



We posted back in March 2016 about our efforts to find the sweet spot between creativity and organization, complete freedom and rigid order. Over this year, we’ve moved deeper into the idea of mental models, designing and building a Creative Concept Database to house some of our best work.

The process of thinking through what we want to catalogue, as well as what makes a project exceptional, has been revealing. We’ve identified certain creative patterns and design processes within these 5-star projects—and identifying them has led us to solidifying the workflow and clarifying the deliverables. And while it might seem backwards to do this organizational work after the fact, rather than mapping it out beforehand, it’s proven invaluable. We’re learning more about ourselves, our clients, and our audiences as we invest this time.

Time and Space—Away

We’ve also learned that one of our best creative habits is to get offline and away from the screen. Whether that means going for a walk, writing by hand on paper (writing, not printing!), or taking five minutes to chat with colleagues (about anything, but most especially about anything outside work/jobs/clients), our teams are breaking up time and moving into different spaces.

And we’re not alone in this: It’s Nice That posted about the connection between switching off and creativity; Mashable reminded us what it was like to have a phone that was just, you know, a phone; and Wired acknowledged the value of leaning into boredom, rather than Netflixing (or Instagramming, or Tweeting, or Snapchatting) it away. When was the last time you were genuinely bored? It might be a good time to revisit that experience, and see what you can create with it.

The Well

Which leads to our next (re)discovery: creativity needs to be fed. Regularly. It’s easy, especially in our industry, to devote all our time to clients. Because we’re trusted with their projects, and because those relationships matter to us.

But when we’re not taking time off/away, particularly in creative environments, we start to run dry. The usual tasks can become harder and slower. We’re proud of the creative, offline work of our team: we have musicians and photographers and artists and singers and hockey players and chefs and DIYers in our ranks. But we realized, this past fall, that we haven’t been prioritizing creative encounters in/as teams.

The RGD DesignThinkers Conference—where we sent members of our Creative and Account teams—was electric. Inspiring. And so deeply resonant: we’re still having conversations about what we saw and heard there. Letting our creativity hang out with the creativity of others is unsurprisingly rich in its results.

So here’s to more of all that, as well as a glance back to where we were last year…

Read More

Audience Map 2017

Going Global – Redux


New Year, New Venture

A new year seems like a great time to spin the globe, so we’re thrilled to announce that our prospective-in-2016 Singapore office is a 2017 reality!

Engage! Communications by Design Pte. Ltd. is a unique partnership between Audience Communication and Unicblue (, a design firm we’ve had the pleasure of working with across Europe and Asia. Freshly incorporated and locally led by the multi-talented Felix Grube (Director of Production), Engage! offers a unique matrix of services:

  • Audience Corporate Communication and Strategic Services
  • Unicblue Congress Design services
  • Julia Williams’s conference services (travel, accommodation, F&B, logistics)

Lovers of collaboration and connection that we are, Engage! brings the APAC region a talented trifecta (a.k.a. “one-stop shop”) of communications and events.

And if you’re curious about how we got here…

Read More

Audience Travels 2016

From Hamburg to Hanoi, Montreal to Montreux—Audience had an intense year of travel, with over half of its people creating events and supporting communications across 3 continents and within 15 countries. Think of this interactive map as our year in review!
 Explore, click around, and read our impressions.

Happy holidays! Here’s to continuing our adventures in 2017.

To view the Audience Travels Google Map in a new window, click here.


Audience Moves!


Looking Back, Moving Forward

It’s been an intense year at Audience Communications and Events. We’ve implemented new technology—while going full speed. We’ve expanded our global operations. We attended—and sponsored a panel for—an amazing, inspiring design conference. We’ve also thought through our best suggestions for professional speaking, great visuals, what to wear, and what you should always have with you for a presentation. (We even weighed in on the US presidential debates…)

So, really, there was only one thing left for us to do before bidding 2016 adieu.


Location, Location, Location!

We’re downtowners at heart. As far back as we can remember, the Canadian Audience offices have always been within the downtown corridor. Our latest move is no different and boasts a uniquely Toronto view.

That’s what our Production team will be gazing out on every day, now that we’re located at 326 Adelaide Street West. We’ve got the whole floor, our own elevator, desks for our full-time team and freelance roster—and space to grow. It’s almost as if Christmas came early.

Our creative team is already imagining how they will curate their space, as well as every nook and cranny they can “adopt.”

Will we put in a glass wall, or leave this wall open as an expression of our daring, our innovation, our difference? Stay tuned.

And although our set-up and design are not quite ready for an audience, we’re still hard at work. Those are two of our Accounting/Finance masters, who were up and going while the rest of us were trying to remember that a) we’re not on Spadina anymore, and b) that we’re working from home office for most of December.


Stay tuned…

We believe in the necessity and value of change, even big, difficult changes. We’re thrilled to be in a new space and starting a new chapter for our Canadian office, even as our Swiss, UK, and Singaporean colleagues expand their own stories. We’ve had an incredible 2016, and can’t wait to share some of that with you in a few weeks.

Until then, you know where to find us:

Audience Communication and Events
326 Adelaide Street West
Suite 400
Toronto, ON M5V 1R3