Since 2009, Big Omaha has brought together founders, investors, and entrepreneurial leaders from across the nation. The annual conference supports Silicon Prairie News’ mission to grow, connect, and inspire the tech innovation communities of the Midwest.
Silicon Prairie News came to us to brand the nation’s most ambitious conference on innovation and entrepreneurship. Their big ask was to attract tech entrepreneurs—not just from the Midwest but also from both coasts—to a brand-new conference in the middle of a place not known for being particularly cutting-edge.
To compete with established, coastal tech conferences, we conducted nationwide research on how other conferences presented themselves. Building from that knowledge, we engaged in a deep dive on the unique, positive qualities that Omaha had to offer to those same audiences. And then we set to work determining how to convey those attributes succinctly and memorably.
We collaborated with Silicon Prairie News for the first six years of Big Omaha’s existence. We branded the inaugural conference, developing the concept of “giant cow” as the perfect tongue-in-cheek symbol for Omaha—recognizable and proud. Each year of the conference, the visual brand is completely new, but it always centers around the core theme of the “giant cow” as the next “big idea” and reimagining the way that attendees interact with that metaphorical cow.
In the first year, since the conference’s content centers around the idea of taking a leap of faith, we used daredevils and risk-takers—interacting with the cow—to capture its spirit. Each subsequent year retells that same story in a totally different way, but always by celebrating that entrepreneurial drive.
Rule29’s innovative branding was undeniably key to the initial launch and ongoing success of Big Omaha — we couldn’t have done it without them!
Each year we helped craft the experience of Big Omaha attendees, making sure return guests had something new and exciting to look forward to. Our work included weaving the brand through every aspect of the conference experience, from name badges to wayfinding signage, speaker introduction videos to printed and digital conference schedules. Crafting an immersive experience also meant thinking beyond the traditional to concept unforgettable moments like a full marching band playing their way through the venue, and even bringing a live cow to the event.