Raising the bar for virtual events
Every year, Client X, a hyper-growth global technology disruptor whose technology reaches 70 per cent of the world’s population, hosts a global sales kick-off event for its commercial and marketing teams. As a rule, it’s considered to be the biggest event in their internal company calendar – with c-suite executives, vice-presidents and commercial leaders flying in from all over the world to take part. Then, of course, COVID struck.
Having quickly pulled together a virtual attempt of their in-person event back in 2020, by the time 2021 came knocking, Client X wanted something bigger, better and completely bespoke – a virtual platform built from the ground up that would as much as possible recreate the buzz, energy and excitement of the usual in-person conference. So, after a thorough RFP process, they awarded us with the brief of creating a unified virtual platform experience that would raise the bar for virtual events.
The project team held regular, in-depth discussions with Client X’s internal events team to ensure we designed the platform to include exactly the features and functionality they wanted, while also introducing levels of gamification and handy navigational tools to keep its users engaged, all underpinned by the right look and feel and latest software security. For branding, we collaborated with their in-house design team and devised the platform to be licensable and reskinned for future events too.
Our developers set to it and built the platform from scratch to include a range of functionality that would ensure an exciting and engaging virtual event, including:
- A main stage for the headlining keynotes
- An attendee directory
- Networking activities to encourage conversation between regions and cross-functional business units
- A networking coffee roulette to match attendees at random based on defined criteria
- Instant messaging/chat functionality
- On-platform breakout rooms for idea exchanges
- A short, simple (but addictive) arcade-style game- pitting players in a procedurally-generated race against time as a bit of entertainment in between sessions.
But the fun didn’t end there – to encourage regular use of the platform, and to appeal to the attendee’s competitive spirits, we gamified the entire site so users were awarded points the more they navigated the platform and engaging with the different features, with a public leaderboard available to spur on some friendly rivalry between event attendees.
The event took place over three days, repeated three times each day across the different time zones. All the keynotes were professionally pre-recorded to ensure the content was on message for all audiences in all parts of the world. Client X also appointed a regional host for each session to provide added commentary and personal remarks to bookend the pre-recorded presentations. Users were able to interact with the content in real-time through live reaction emojis as well as connecting with one another via the instant chat functionality. Each session was followed up by live regional idea exchanges, which saw field experts, engineers and invited account executives share knowledge, best practices and lessons learnt.
The entire platform experience was personalised, including a bespoke agenda and the ability to send the user additional information and suggestions depending on their platform behaviours. And, once the event concluded, the content library remained accessible for the following week to allow attendees to watch it again or catch up on demand. We were delighted to also hear the event ended up being the most talked-about event for next month.
All the post-event reporting, anecdotal feedback and platform analysis concluded that Client X’s virtual sales kick-off was a tremendous success, clocking up exception satisfaction ratings and a 94% event turnout score, up 5% y-o-y. Other notable results included:
- 91% of attendees rated the platform experience and ease of access as ‘Excellent’.
- Client X saw a 30% rise in their Net Promoter Score compared to their inaugural virtual event back in 2020.
- Active participation and engagement by 720 users, up 5% compared to 2020.
- Sentiment analysis showed that 77% of received comments were positive – previously the highest ever seen internally was 70%.
- Our embedded helpdesk support widget dealt with 52 support queries during the event, which came from only 5% of attendees, proving that the platform was both intuitive and easy-to-use for the vast majority of users.
The feedback from the organising committee and event sponsor was that they “couldn’t be happier with the end result”.