Top 5 extremely successful Virtual Events in 2020
The onset of COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for either the event industry or the companies looking to host them.
Although, if there was one industry that was expected to find out a long-lasting solution to a communication bottleneck, it was the Tech industry.
Pretty soon, the tech industry figured out that the solution to the stagnation in the event world was Virtual Events.
Thanks to them in part, today nearly every industry has acquainted themselves with Virtual Events.
The year 2020 saw a host of events held virtually. From product launches to major announcements, customer relationship management, & connecting with developers, businesses, & B2B customers, Virtual Events come in handy with almost anything you wish to do.
Here are 5 examples of Virtual Events done just right, along with the companies that hosted those.
Have fun reading!
Qualtrics is an experience data company, which had focused its Virtual Event strategy greatly on webinars until 2020.
However, in 2020, Qualtrics had to postpone its X4 summit, which is touted as the greatest gathering of experience management professionals in the world.
Not one to just stay on the down low, Qualtrics decided to make up for the lost time with a series of Virtual Events called ‘WorkDifferent’.
Always cognizant of the fact that the pandemic had considerably switched up the business style of most companies, Qualtrics celebrated how quickly customers adapted to the change with the digital event series.
WorkDifferent took place on August 12, & featured a range of important speakers including best-selling author & well-known researcher Brene Brown, sports stars Tony Hawk, & Omar Johnson, the former chief marketing officer of Beats By Dre.
Some of the topics covered included “How Brands Can Find Their Way Without Losing Their Way”, & “Keeping Your Wheels Spinning While The World Is At A Standstill”.
Along with lengthy discussions on the topics mentioned above, WorkDifferent also featured digital case studies on organizations like Microsoft & the city of Orlando. The studies primarily focused on how in both examples, all the work had moved to the Virtual front, while also increasing employee productivity & customer satisfaction at the same time.
What to learn: WorkDifferent by Qualtrics showed how companies can pivot from a live, in-person event format to a virtual one, & still reap benefits & rewards from it.
Event planners & organizers can also learn how to turn around inevitable setbacks & challenges and make them into power points.
When its X4 summit got cancelled, which was scheduled to have speakers like Brene Brown & Tony Hawk among others, Qualtrics didn’t lose hope, but set out to turn the tide in their favor by coming up with the WorkDifferent idea.
The digital event series still had the heavyweight speakers promised & the entire experience, with the best part being that the participants didn’t even have to show up anywhere! We call that an absolute win-win!
In 2020, Cisco got together its partners & customers from all over the country in San Diego for Cisco Live.
Only this year, none of those who attended had to leave their homes.
Cisco had invited the participants to a two-day Virtual Event with over 500 sessions focused on topics that are of the utmost interest to IT leaders & professionals. These topics included network transmissions, SD-WAN, & mobile edge computing, among others.
The best part about the Cisco event was how expertly planned & designed it was.
The company had divided the event into 4 distinct channels: the Innovation channel, the Possibilities channel, the IT heroes channel, & the IT leadership channel.
The distinction helped people easily navigate through the Virtual Event, & also provided a way for Cisco to group sessions together without confusing the attendees with the sheer number of sessions.
What to learn: Cisco pitted all of its resources into designing, hosting, & managing what was arguably the largest virtual event in 2020. No wonder it turned out so successful as well. The two-day Virtual Event had three million live views, with each session rated an average of 4.5 out of 5, & a staggering 84% of attendees having either liked or loved the event. This data is courtesy of a promo video the company posted to Twitter.
The next example in our list comes from Microsoft, the company known for leading technological innovations.
In 2020, Microsoft took its annual developers’ conference, & transformed it into a two-day virtual event that consisted of over 600 sessions.
The topics for these sessions ranged from ‘How Inclusivity can drive Innovation’, to ‘How Remote Teams can be productive’.
As a sign of it truly heralding the times we live in, the Virtual Event also included “Community Connections’’ experiences. In these, they roped in a Yoga instructor to give dedicated yoga lessons & guided movement training to attendees to reduce their stress levels.
As you can probably tell, the Virtual Event was pretty successful, & gave Microsoft’s audience the much-needed respite from the daily monotony of their lives in lockdown.
What to learn: Microsoft figured out that its developers’ audience base was staggering, & needed to be kept engaged to avoid mass boredom & apathy.
Their desire to hold the attention of this community of developers explained why the company decided to hold the Virtual Event at the same dates it had previously planned to host the actual developers' conference in Seattle.
With the annual Developers’ Conference, Microsoft’s goal is to drive up excitement among the developer community about any latest innovations & tech updates the company has come up with, & to get their valuable feedback on those.
Microsoft kept this goal in mind when designing the Virtual Event, & their hard work, perfect planning, & expert designing paid off.
The Virtual Event generated 200,000 registrations with some major media outlets covering it in entirety.
This only goes to prove that event planners & organizers don’t need in-person events to drive sales & get attendee attention. These can also be achieved pretty nicely with a well-executed Virtual Event, much like how Microsoft managed to do.
HMG Strategy is a company that is known for connecting IT leaders & security experts around the world through its platform. It holds several conferences & live events annually that are focused on Chief Information Officers(CIOs), Chief Information Security Officers(CISOs), & senior IT executives.
However, when 2020 rolled around, the company switched up its live, in-person style to a Virtual, engaging one.
Come August 20, 2020, & the company held the “2020 HMG Live! New York CIO Summit of America”, which was a two-hour event primarily focused on how IT leaders can “Learn from the Past & Present to Reshape the Future of Business”. The Virtual Event featured IT leaders from big names such as Amazon Web Services, Verizon, Deloitte, Ogilvy, the NFL, & Zoom among others, all discussing topics such as “The Future of Work & Fostering Collaboration in a Hybrid Work Environment” in the Virtual Event.
What to learn: The strategy of HMG strategy(pun intended!) has been to build an engaged, thriving community of attendees that will unhesitatingly be a part of, & engage with, all of their Virtual Event Production & experiences.
On top of that, HMG Strategy has built a brand around planning & executing the finest Virtual Events of all time.
Its loyal customers & attendee base knows that any of HMG Strategy’s events are a no-miss, as each of their Virtual Events’ features CIOs & leaders from various industries to discuss & learn about the best practices to make their business successful. The best part, these Virtual Events are designed in such a way that the topics & discussions are beneficial for all those attending, whether they be a part of the Fortune 500 club, or be running a small business.
Gainsight jumped on the Virtual Events bandwagon with their two-day event, “Pulse Everywhere”, which featured customer success professionals along with product professionals.
The Virtual event, which took place in May 2020, consisted of over 25 sessions across five different channels, & leaders from top companies like Splunk, Adobe, VMWare, & LinkedIn made up the list of speakers.
Gainsight not only offered the participants a chance to participate in the two-day event virtually but also made all the content available on-demand for free.
This allowed the site visitors to watch videos of each session & also download the slides for any future reference, provided they fill out a registration form.
What to learn: The way Gainsight turned a live, in-person event of 5000 attendees into a Virtual experience comprising over 22,000 attendees, is truly spectacular. What’s even more inspiring is that Gainsight achieved this feat in only 45 days!
The secret to doing this is what the company explained in a blog post as reimagining the entire event from a Virtual standpoint, & starting from scratch with a “beginner’s mindset”.
They worked on everything from registration to the attendee networking experience, & redesigned it with Virtual anatomy in mind.
Not only that, but Gainsight also decided to go Hybrid in some parts of the Virtual Event, by pre-recording certain sessions & integrating live Q&As to let the attendees feel like they are part of a virtual setting.
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