A regular client had to cancel their 2020 event due to COVID-19 restrictions. They banded with a like-minded organisation to keep their membership engaged, provide ongoing learning experiences, network, and connect with sponsors via an online medium.
The client wanted to hold the event across a week with multiple streams to maximise content available to attendees. The client appointed Cornerstone to source the best platform to deliver the event, manage speakers, program development, registration, sponsorship and overall logistics and production management. The theme of the conference was set as ‘Resilience, The New Normal’.
- 920 registered attendees
- 40 sponsorships sold
- 90 speakers
- 5 concurrent streams
- Attendees from 16 countries
- Achieved above budget profit for clients
- 81 sessions delivered successfully, plus 18 on-demand videos available in learning library
- Received high approval rating from surveyed attendees including 96% of attendees highly likely to recommend attendance to colleagues
Our Cornerstone team enjoyed the challenge of delivering a traditional face to face meeting into a virtual format – with just 12 weeks to deliver! We appointed a production partner, Sightline Productions and locked in a studio as headquarters to stream the live event components. OnAir was selected as the preferred platform for event delivery after diligent research was conducted on other offerings.
Touchpoint was also engaged for assistance; they had worked with us on this client’s event previously. After delivering dozens of live events recently, they were an invaluable sounding board for us in the lead-up. For us, it was critical to have Sightline, Touchpoint and Centium as partners and extensions of our team; all focused on delivering a positive result for our clients and their membership base.
The program was constructed to allow networking opportunities and regular breaks for a virtual audience, with a balance of pre-recorded content and live-streamed sessions to minimise any downtime risk due to potential system failures. A wellness stream was created, incorporating Pilates, strength exercises, Yoga & meditation sessions, and some resilience and mindfulness sessions covering both theory and practical solutions.
Keynote speakers were approached to address the theme, and a tight briefing on the audience and desired outcomes were co-ordinated. Sourcing an MC was challenging – we needed someone available across all 5 days, who would be comfortable in front of a camera. Engaging with our virtual audience who needed a fresh approach – Nick Bartlett met that brief and was locked in. Other speakers we contracted included Aaron Williams, Mark McCrindle, Dr Karl, Gihan Perera and The Resilience Project.
An enormous amount of time went into the briefing of all speakers – who whilst very au fait with Zoom meetings galore, required coaching in delivering great presentations in this virtual format. Documentation was prepared and then briefing sessions held – covering things like lighting, framing the face in-camera, internet quality, how PowerPoints should look, sound quality, background noise, and did we mention internet quality! All keynote speakers and panel sessions had individual rehearsal and briefing sessions.
Sponsors had both group briefings and individual practice sessions to test their system compatibility with the virtual platform and the opportunity to run through how their ‘booths’ would look. Our experience was that sponsors needed a lot of individual attention throughout the planning phase. In collaboration with the clients, we added additional opportunities to ensure value received, such as e-marketing opportunities to the membership database, e.g. blogs, advertorials, and webinar opportunities.
After locking in OnAir as a portal for the event, we then selected Vimeo to be the streaming tool on the production front. We recommended Loom to our presenters preparing pre-recordings as the quality for the inclusion of PIP PowerPoint with the speaker’s vision is the best free software available. Zoom was used for live sessions, selected for its low latency and solid reliability.
A thorough risk mitigation document was prepared – with backups detailed and on hand for every conceivable scenario, including cyber breach and power failure.
“As we grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on holding face to face events, we had to move to a virtual conference. We had minimal experience running a virtual conference, so we engaged Cornerstone Events to assist us with the event’s organisation. Within 12 weeks from the initial concept, Cornerstone organised the platform, website, speakers and engaged a production team to produce a standout virtual event that our delegates thoroughly enjoyed. Many of our sponsors, speakers and delegates gave us overwhelmingly positive feedback about the Cornerstone team and their assistance. We could not have produced the event without them.”
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