In the era of Zoom this and Teams that, it might seem like holding a virtual conference is just another meeting to schedule – one to which you can invite participants from anywhere around the globe. But it’s not so.

Planning a virtual conference that anyone would actually want to attend, one where the activities keep flowing, engagement is ongoing, and guests leave with new kinds of knowing takes at least as much planning and preparation as hosting an in-person conference. WM Events has been an expert at the latter for more than 15 years, which has helped our team navigate the shift to virtual conferences and events. After all, many of the skillsets are the same, and it all starts with big-picture organization.

WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner  WM Events Virtual Event Planner Cooper Lighting Solutions Behind The Scenes

The Directive

A case in point is the 2021 ConNEXTion Conference hosted by Cooper Lighting Solutions (CLS). In 2020, just before “you know what” started, we planned and produced the company’s three-day sales conference for 500 guests. In addition to managing registration, stage décor, dinner and speakers at the Crown Plaza, we took attendees on a field trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a fun, private afternoon and evening of punt, pass and kick activities paired with entertainment, a light show and awards.

In October, our client asked us to do it again and replicate the excitement but in a virtual format. It was a tall order because last year’s event really scored. We rose to the challenge by producing a variety of video programming and weaving the spots together in a manner that kept interest and engagement high. That meant five days of on-site filming and many special guests and speakers, as well as finding the ideal platform to bring together all of the vignettes and incorporate guest interaction.

WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner  WM Events Virtual Event Planner Cooper Lighting Solutions Behind The Scenes

WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner  WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner

 

Curating Content

With three days planned for the conference, we had a lot of hours to fill, and we wanted to make sure they offered content of value for attendees. In order to reach the highest production quality and ensure there would be no internet connection glitches, we chose an interactive live event format, rather than a livestream. All programming was recorded in advance and played live during the days of the conference. To attendees, the flow would be seamless, and the host would not have to worry about connection issues.

WM Events Virtual Event Planner Cooper Lighting Solutions Behind The Scenes WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner  

There was a lot of information the client wanted to share with attendees, so we recorded a welcome message, on-demand product sessions and customer journeys, and roundtable sessions. Together with our client, we scheduled several great speakers like designer Karim Rashid, Heath Slawner of Simon Sinek, Sam Koerbel and diversity educator Susan X Jane – who covered topics like creativity, racism and digital marketing. Then we added in entertaining moments with a mixology lesson, a virtual illusionist, and daily sessions with DJ Mike Zarin.

In all, we recorded nearly 50 pieces of video content, most of which was filmed at the Cooper headquarters. Because the space has numerous vignettes to show off its lighting products, it proved to be an ideal setting. And just like with an in-person event, to keep it all flowing smoothly, we brought in an emcee – Christine Pullara from 11Alive – we recorded her introductions, transitions and wrap-ups too.

WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner WM Events Virtual Event Planner Cooper Lighting Solutions Behind The Scenes

WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner WM Events Virtual Event Planner Cooper Lighting Solutions Behind The Scenes WM Events Atlanta Virtual Event Planner

Benefits of the Virtual Platform

Rather than getting in front of 500 people like the client did with the in-person event last year, this virtual event was attended by over 1,300! And with everything happening in the digital realm, we were able to gather ongoing data about which sessions were best attended, by whom, how long people watched the videos and more. That’s the beauty of virtual events – the feedback loop is immediate.

Find out how we pulled all of these elements together and got the most out of our digital platform in our upcoming blog : An Illuminating Virtual Conference Pt. 2.  

. WM Events Virtual Sales Conference   WM Events Virtual Sales Conference     WM Events Virtual Sales Conference

     

 

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