Holding an online event in 2021: a case study

Holly Emberson

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Agribusiness Logo 2021

Are you considering holding an online event next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic? We have some thoughts on the best way to get the most value from your conference or webinar, despite the coronavirus restrictions, in our last blog. But what if you have an annual or regular event that, thus far, has always been entirely on location and in person. How can you make the shift to a virtual environment without diluting the central experience?

We worked closely with the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) this year to aid them in devising and hosting their first ever completely online conference on 11th November 2020. AIC holds their Agribusiness event annually, convening leading national and industry experts to talk on all the biggest opportunities and issues facing the UK agri supply industry, including business resilience, sustainability, and seizing trade opportunities post-Brexit.

Here are a few ways that we drove interest and engagement for an event that had, until now, been all about being there in person.

Strategy and messaging

As Caz Graham, Conference Chair, rightly pointed out, Covid-19 has highlighted the critical importance of the sector in the delivery of food to the public. With the removal of the Common Agricultural Policy and new legislation determining the future of UK agriculture, we worked closely to demonstrate that AIC is leading the conversation, not just following it.

This included working with Robert Sheasby, AIC’s Chief Executive, to draft a speech that highlighted the role of AIC in supporting its members as the industry navigates its way through changing agricultural & environmental legislation, new trade deals, and the threats posed by climate change, the weather and unexpected challenges like Covid-19.

Your event should have a clear, defined message that speaks to what the conference is all about. For AIC, this was a focus on how current events have underlined the supply chain’s importance, and how we can reimagine its function and mode of operation for the future.

Imagery and branding

A robust visual identity is always key. When publicity needs to be acquired almost exclusively via the fast-paced online environment, it becomes absolutely critical that a unified and consistent set of imagery is created. We worked closely with AIC to devise a new logo for the event, along with striking images that would work well in the digital space without compromising AIC’s established brand.

This applied internally too. As an online event, speakers would need backdrops with the correct branding. Without this, an event can quickly feel less professional. A unified theme and strong imagery that is used consistently by speakers results in a conference that feels official. Without, it risks feeling like a series of Zoom calls.

Reaching out

Actually getting people to sign up and log on for the event can be a challenge – especially during unusual times. We worked with AIC to make sure our message reached an audience that would gain value from the event via multiple avenues.

We drafted a press release that outlined the topics covered and full list of speakers, demonstrating that AIC had managed to procure some of the leading voices and experts in the agriculture industry. This was then distributed to carefully selected press lists. Again, we favoured a targeted outreach to drive results, rather than a wider distribution with fewer outlets that would find the event interesting. This was backed by social media posts, infographics and supporting literature, all designed to increase awareness and drive registration for the event.

The event itself

For the event, we created a compelling video to open the conference and set the tone of the day.

For those of us who’ve attended many online events, one thing is often missing: a sense of dynamism, of urgency. We dial in and instead see people on a screen just talking, the same as we might on a standard work call.

Our goal with this video was to make clear what AIC is offering the sector: a vision and plan for the future of agriculture. The overall result? John Kelley – AIC’s Chief Operating Officer, reported that the level of engagement with both AIC members and stakeholders was excellent – now let’s start to think about what next year might look like…!

Are you interested in online possibilities in 2021? We can help. If you would like to discuss any of the above at no obligation from your end, please get in touch.

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