How to move your events online…. Successfully!
InsideOut, presented by Aquent, was created as a space for leadership collaboration and building meaningful relationships. They use an intimate roundtable format to connect, collaborate and generate new ways to move business forward, faster.
Each in-person roundtable is limited to an exclusive group of invite-only senior in-house design leaders, per geographic location. Session topics are attendee driven and the discussions are facilitated to keep the conversation flowing. At the end, lasting connections are made since participants are local and want to network.
Aquent hired G2 Marketing & Events to plan and execute almost 100 roundtable discussions across the United States in 2020. At the beginning of 2020, ten (10) in-person events were successfully completed.
As COVID-19 spread rapidly and the country went on ‘stay-at-home’ orders, the upcoming live events were cancelled with no definitive date for resuming.
As their event management agency, we had to figure out a way to keep these vital roundtables going so they could continue to connect their clients.
The obvious answer was moving online. But there are many variables that come into play to make an online event engaging and interactive.
While the basics of event planning apply when moving to the virtual world, there are significant differences that can make or break your online event.
Platform -The venue now becomes a platform. Based on the event needs, there are a variety of platforms available to choose from. Aquent events are intimate and very interactive so the best venue for their roundtables was Zoom. It allowed the moderator to drive interaction and engagement with everyone in attendance.
A/V -This is an extremely important element of an online event. Internet connections, microphones, cameras – all now become your key audio-visual elements that need to function properly. You may also think that since it is in the virtual world, you need fewer people to run the event. In most instances that is not true. There are several moving parts that may require a dedicated staff member to oversee and manage behind the scenes. Aquent’s events were not overly complicated with technology – a quick presentation and then open discussions. We provided attendees with a quick “how-to” tutorial on Zoom, microphone, camera, best place to set up at home – and we were in business. We had an event producer on-hand to help troubleshoot any technology issues for attendees.
Promotional Support – typically guests would have swag waiting for them at the in-person events but during this unfamiliar time, attendees were hesitant to receive anything in the mail. So, the challenge was how to provide a gift that is still relevant and unique but can be received electronically. Many ideas were developed and have been enthusiastically received. One that stood out was having a caricature artist join off camera during the roundtables. The attendees loved it and were able to receive their portrait via email.
RESULTS By implementing the virtual roundtables, Aquent has been able to keep their clients connected and engaged. They increased their roundtables to include forty-five (45) events. Each event is still restricted to clients in the same geographic location to maintain the principal of local networking and creating connections. A recent survey yielded a 9.1 out of 10 satisfaction score!
Additionally, a new Happy Hour format emerged. Aquent now hosts interactive social events that include clients from across the United States, not just limited by geographic region. The Happy Hour events are entertaining with game show type formats that engage the clients in a fun, social atmosphere.
"We recently launched a social event for our groups, and in a heartbeat, they had identified an awesome virtual game facilitation company. We have a true partnership, and they are so proactive it's like having an events concierge. Thank you, G2!“ Susie Hall, Aquent
Location: 35+ Offices around the globe
Industry: Community built for Senior Leaders in design and operations
Challenges: The inability to hold live roundtable discussions during the COVID-19 outbreak
Solutions: Virtual Events
Business benefits: Keeping the momentum of their interactive community discussions online while significantly decreasing expenses
"The G2 team GETS IT! When the whole world went remote, they didn't miss a beat and seamlessly helped move all 9 of our groups to a virtual space! Their knowledge of what works online is fantastic, and they are constantly coming up with new creative ways to make our roundtables interesting.”
President, Community & Customer Engagement