Ex Award Winner
Program Name: Virtual Event Center
Agency: George P. Johnson
Still worried about those pesky virtual events stealing your live event portfolio's mojo? What if we told you that not only could you generate millions of dollars in sales through virtual events, you could use them to enhance your live event portfolio, too?
That's the kind of power being realized by IBM's Virtual Event Center (VEC), one of the industry's best-in-class, always-open online event environments. The VEC was built with more than 60 interchangeable environment options, which offers planners with a ready-made foundation for customized IBM-branded experiences. Since the events often require global reach, the platform supports 16 languages for content and chat room translation into 50 languages so organizers and attendees can communicate cross-language in real time. Event owners can add in social media functionality, pairing the VEC with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts to help drive interest and dialogue. Plus, attendees and event representatives can add live video chatting via Skype.
For the benefit of IBM's marketing team, which builds many of its events, the VEC incorporates a self-service content repository so event sponsors can locate and populate their experiences with content based on a wide range of criteria, including asset type, language, IBM solution area, business unit or client focus.
From the attendee perspective, the VEC is like a large interactive campus environment with multiple buildings and classrooms'all under the IBM brand, but each specializing in its own area of thought leadership, issue focus or industry expertise. Creatively, the VEC looks and feels much like IBM physical events anywhere in the world, with a range of small, medium and large architectural environments, each dressed with its own signage and multimedia elements and populated by animated visitors and IBM representatives.
The VEC delivered results in a big way, starting with its ambition. According to platform provider Unisfair, it was the single largest virtual event initiative ever undertaken. In 2010, 36 countries across all of the brand's global regions leveraged the platform for 83 individual virtual events, exceeding first-year projections by 66 percent. From those, 22 virtual event spaces were established to optimize content and location sharing. All told, about 22,500 people attended a virtual event on the platform last year and each spent an average of two hours in the environment. The real proof is in the $93 million in validated lead revenue and $14.4 million of win revenue generated by VEC engagements as of last November.
Now that's the way to draw live business out of virtual events.
Program Name: Holiday Demo Days
HP sought to leverage its Holiday Demo Days virtual event as a new channel for reaching, engaging and informing its 300,000 employees about new products. The virtual environment was used to host live sessions, product demos, Q&A sessions and as a host for an on-demand period during which employees could investigate products and shop for purchases. The event showcased the latest HP technologies and solutions, and presented them as perfect for gift giving during the holiday season. Attendees learned about new products from HP like the TouchSmart PCs, Beats Audio and PhotoSmart Printers. Attendees chatted with experts, watched video presentations on key features, asked product questions and learned about green initiatives at the company.
The environment was designed to be intuitive and full of rich media, presenting a wealth of product information all in one place. The secret was the expert HP technicians on hand to answer attendees' questions, either via text or video chat. Employees from around the world gathered on the platform, which is important to the brand because of the volume of virtual events the company runs. Participation was above target, according to HP, and there was a great deal of interaction between participants and product experts.
Program Name: Virtual Annual Meeting
Client: American Society of Association Executives
Agency: Viva Creative
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) took its Annual Meeting & Exposition in Los Angeles virtual for the first time in an effort to increase its membership. By offering a virtual experience to first-time attendees, ASAE hoped to encourage members to participate in the live event in the future. The 2010 conference allowed remote attendees to access live presentations and events from their homes or offices, which helped increase overall member participation and delivered important information to its members. This was the first year that ASAE leveraged virtual event technology, and based on the results, it plans on utilizing this technology for future events. The average attendance time was two hours, which meant that the information was relevant and useful for those attending. More than half of the attendees were executive level, which marked a significant increase from previous years.