Three years ago, Aftenposten changed its focus on technology from “things-to-use” journalism to “society-and-work-change” journalism. In addition to our daily articles, we now arrange a yearly conference about leadership, technology, and society, called A-tech (Aftenposten tech).

A-tech was first hosted in the fall of 2015 and has been a successful conference every year since. Now it is Norway’s most popular and largest tech conference. The conference focuses on speakers talking about leadership, technology, and society development. This year’s conference will focus on how technology challenges both our business models and some of society’s pillars.

A-tech has become an important gathering for high-level thinkers in Norway.
A-tech has become an important gathering for high-level thinkers in Norway.

In October 2017, the two-day event was conducted at a high international level and was considered to be one of the most important meeting places for leaders, founders, and politicians in Norway.

To further strengthen the brand, A-tech Junior was arranged on the same day as A-tech. To build brand awareness and amplify Aftenposten’s wide content range, A-tech Junior has been arranged for the past two years.

During this event, 500 sixth- and seventh-grade students attended the conference. They were introduced to a variety of tech-related topics and activities, such as watching a challenging, live digital chess game with world champion Magnus Carlsen, experiencing the humanoid robot Pepper, and participating in digital math games and interactive talks and debates on the effect and technology of social media.

A-tech Junior engages a younger audience.
A-tech Junior engages a younger audience.

One of Aftenposten’s main objectives is to present live journalism to strengthen our content and brand as well as amplify loyalty to existing and new users of our brands, Aftenposten and Aftenposten Junior. At the same time, Aftenposten aims to take a leading market position in the fields of technology, society, and management.

The A-tech conference in 2017 addressed how tumultuous changes driven by digitisation and automation will impact the future workplace. The conference helps consolidate Aftenposten’s position as a supplier of technology content, taking a considerable market position within this content area.

To gain this market position, we made a strategic choice to create an arena for sharing knowledge, gaining insight as well as inspiring our audience to have a sense of urgency within this subject area. Our goal was to create the most important venue in Norway within the tech area at an international level. We consider this to be important to build brand awareness as well as a venue for increased subscription sales.

A-tech is primarily a B2B conference. The objective is to tie businesses closer to the tech market. We’re creating a new and innovative arena for sponsors and advertisers to meet their customers and interact with one another. In addition to A-tech and A-tech Junior, there was a more intimate and exclusive event the day before the main conference with a VIP dinner at the Grand Hotel in Oslo. We invited all the international speakers, tech experts, and special guests to a smaller professional event.

The annual conference encourages critical thinking about important topics.
The annual conference encourages critical thinking about important topics.

Aftenposten has a strong belief that live events build brand loyalty as well as lowering churn. Our goal is to create magical and unique experiences for our users and subscribers.

So far, the effect of hosting A-tech seems to be worth it. The conference generates large media coverage, including coverage by national TV channels, newspapers, and articles from tech journalists. Prominent guests like H.R.H. Crown Princess Mette Marit, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Ray Kurzweil, Adrian Grenier, Padmasree Warrior, and David Rowan also indicated a high level of interest, and this undoubtedly creates a buzz around the event and Aftenposten as a brand.

The most important consequence, and ultimately the goal of arranging the event, is still — as mentioned — to build brand loyalty. The results from A-tech show 84% of new digital subscribers remain subscribers after they have participated in an event. Only 51% remain subscribers when they have not participated in one of our events.

The hypothesis is that high-level content with major international profiles not only builds Aftenposten’s brand, but also Norway as a destination for technological development.

Another spin-off of this event is that one of the conference’s sponsors, Accenture, chose to expand its sponsorship by arranging an Innovation Challenge in cooperation with Aftenposten. Aftenposten and Accenture visited 10 colleges and universities in Norway (in Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Oslo).

The students were challenged on seven key issues, and they developed case studies with solutions using new technology. The winner was elected at the A-tech conference, and the prize of US$150,000 was used to further develop the concept.