One of my favorite gifts I have ever received is a Swiss Army knife. It’s not the kind with the fork, spoon and saw blade, it is a simple keychain knife with the essentials for cuticle care, thread trimming and the ever-versatile plastic toothpick. A good friend of mine traveled to Switzerland and purchased what seemed to be a grocery sack full of mini Swiss Army knives, and she gave one to every member of our clique. We each picked our color! At first, I thought was an okay gift, sure, I will put it on my keychain and make a good show, but over the years… wow, what a wonder! Countless times, I have used the mini scissors to clip a coupon, cut a thread or open a Taco Bell sauce packet. The mini tweezers have plucked an eyebrow or a stray grey hair or two and the knife has cut open its share of Fed Ex pouches.
It is the versatility, of that Swiss Army knife, that has made this gift so valuable to me. It is its ability to be not just a knife, but also an opener, trimmer, tweezers and yeah, a toothpick. The versatility of my little knife has been so impactful to me, that I presented a challenge to our team here at Osborne Coinage and TokensDirect of making our tokens and coins more versatile. The idea that our tokens are not just for vending machines and batting cages, but they can be versatile and used as faux currency, promotional pieces, employee rewards and movie props. Our coins and tokens can indeed be Swiss Army knives. Our recent project for the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce proves this.
The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce’s goal for their 2021 Annual Conference, their first in-person chamber event in over two years, was to re-engage people. Knowing that there would be a renewed desire to interact with others after two years of cancelled events, the chamber wanted to go beyond just a meet and greet, they wanted to present a challenge, offer the opportunity to compete and provide a celebratory moment for success.
Working with one of Tallahassee’s chamber members, the 223_Agency, the team brainstormed a concept tying physical tokens to the bitcoin craze. The 223_Agency approached Osborne Coinage and TokensDirect with the idea to create branded tokens called “Connect Coins” that would be versatile enough to commemorate the event, be collectible, trackable and most importantly tradable, all with that goal to increase attendee engagement.
Osborne Coinage, parent company to Osborne Mint and TokensDirect, worked with 223_Agency to create a token design that incorporated the Chamber’s branding and documented the year of this annual event. The pieces, minted in brass, received an antique finish to differentiate them from U.S. currency. They were 1.25” in diameter and 0.064” thick, again separating them visually and physically from real money.
In a sense, these tokens would act as a form of “chamber currency” with a crypto-hybrid theme and a value that could vary with “the market.” The market, in this case, would be the three days of the Tallahassee Chamber Annual Community Conference in Amelia Island, Florida. The values of the tokens would be dictated by the attendee’s activities and 223_Agency’s digital manipulations, meaning the Connect Coins being worth more in some cases and less in others. As a collector, the goal would be to capitalize on market fluctuations to make your tokens more valuable.
Connected Coins – CONNECTING!
Each attendee received two Connect Coins when they entered the annual community conference event, along with an information sheet requesting they immediately scan the accompanying QR code to download the app to begin tracking and scoring points to increase their tokens’ value. All total, 1,000 coins were placed in registration packets and another 500 distributed to sponsors and vendors to share as they saw fit.
With a visit to the 223_Agency booth at the conference during designated times, attendees could trade their Connect Coins in for points and add them to their point totals in the associated app. Once collected, these tokens were then put back into circulation by the 223_Agency team. During the conference, additional coins were hidden in plain sight: perhaps dropped in the hallways, placed on chairs in the meeting rooms and tossed around the fire pits.
Attendees were encouraged to earn more points by trading coins, giving and receiving them as a gift, swapping one for a drink, giving one for saving a chair or perhaps using some to place a bet on the golf course. When conference-goers attended a breakout session, a seminar or visited a vendor’s booth they could request that their nametag be scanned, with each visit adding points to their digital crypto coin value total. Those points could then be traded for additional tokens, preferably when the market was in their favor. The market value fluctuated: a five-point coin on Friday could be a 15-point coin on Sunday, so the process took some strategy, risk and most of all luck. As Nick Williams, Director of Business Development for 223_Agency put it, “…attendees could find, beg, borrow and steal to earn more tokens and then turn those coins in for more points.” During the conference, the app enabled all participants to track the point leaders. At the end of the three-day conference, the final ranking determined the prize rewards.
The leaderboard changed throughout the course of the weekend, jostling positions hour by hour and day by day. At the conclusion of Sunday night’s festivities, our winner had collected 42 coins and combined with their digital score, had amassed over 1,000 points. The top five point leaders were rewarded with their choice of an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Earbuds or Apple MacBook Pro.
Overall, the Connect Coins were a hit. As with any conference activity there were some that really ran with the concept and some that moderately participated, but as a means to increase engagement the Connect Coins did just that. Over 1,500 Connect Coins were distributed and fewer than 1,000 returned, so many attendees left with souvenirs of the conference. According to Williams, “Adding the physical coins to our event engagement app program added versatility for the attendees and provided the interconnectivity we were searching for. The good news is that plans are already underway for next year’s Annual Community Conference. Now that the chamber members are familiar with the concept, we look forward to the need for more tokens in 2022.”
From the very get-go, working with the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and the 223_Agency spurred many ideas. The creative juices were flowing and each idea added another function to the Swiss Army knife of our Connect Coins. As for next year, our team here at Osborne is already working on ideas, and with a full calendar year to build it we will be able to add even more versatility. Our big idea: we are incorporating “Super Coins” for 2022 that will hold a higher value, share a different art and make them more desirable, valuable and collectible both during and after the conference. Now, I don’t see these Connect Coins having a knife that slides out to open packages like my Swiss Army knife, but I can say the uniqueness and diversity of these tokens will make them collectibles.
Make sure to keep following the blog to learn about another unique usage of collectible coins and tokens minted at Osborne Coinage, Osborne Mint and TokensDirect. We’ll be looking at challenge coins minted to signify military influence and establish educational goals – quite the combinations and more on that to come.
BIG NEWS – We are not supposed to say a lot, but we are excited to share that our tokens are appearing in season six of the TV series Riverdale! We created unique branded “poker chips” for the show’s Babylonian casino. Make sure to watch the series to see if you can spot them. Those big-screen producers think of everything and anything to make the scene complete and here at Osborne Coinage we are happy to accommodate them “because of our versatility.”
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