While there are myriad event apps to choose from, Bonfyre CEO and Cofounder Mark Sawyier says his app’s biggest differentiator is, “We focus on what we believe to be the most important outcome of events, which is building relationships before, during, and after the event.”
Yes, it includes the event-app staples, including interactive maps, personalizable agendas, sponsor tools, announcements, live polling, and surveying. But in this app, “The world within Bonfyre revolves around communication among attendees, rather than ways to navigate the paperless event experience,” he says.
The app, which can be used on iPhone and Android, as well as on the web for desktops, has an average download rate of 85 percent, and more than half who download it contribute and post content. Sawyier attributes the high download and usage rates to the app being a medium for real-time chat, as well as photo and video sharing.
The app is designed with corporate internal meetings and incentives in mind, he adds. “Look at who is on an incentive trip—this is a group of high-performing employees, and giving them a medium to continue to communicate with each other, share knowledge, and collaborate, is one of the most powerful aspects of what we do.” In addition to the main Bonfyre, attendees also can spin off their own Bonfyres based on topics of interest, groups of friends, people who share similar work challenges, or whatever they self-select to join together and collaborate on, says Sawyier.
While Bonfyre is not a white-label app, there are branding options that are carried throughout. The downside they are trying to avoid is the tendency for attendees to delete white-label apps once an event is over.
The ongoing conversations help build relationships, which “ladders up to the bigger topic of employee engagement,” says Sawyier, citing a study showing that close work friendships boost productivity by 50 percent (Harvard Business Review), and another that finds people who feel connected produce 400 percent more revenue than those who do not feel connected in the workplace, also by Harvard Business Review.
He stresses that Bonfyre is not a workflow-management tool like Yammer or Facebook Workplace. “Those are important. They help coworkers share files and perform job functions,” he says. “But when you ask what makes employees excited to go into work every day, it’s more about the people they work with and their relationships—common interests, common passions.” That’s the sweet spot the Bonfyre app is looking to hit, extending the reach from corporate meetings and events through activities including teambuilding, internal communications, company culture adoption, employee recognition, and human resources intelligence gathering.
The basic version of the app is free for up to 100 users. Premium pricing depends on the number of users and length of time you want to use the app. More information is available on Bonfyreapp.com.