Event: New Experience Horizons – Building Modern Commerce Experiences without Limits
Date: Tuesday 5th October 2021
No of guests: 70
Venue: The Smith Centre
Event brief & objective:
Amplience powers digital-first brands and retailers with the freedom to do more. Our CMS, DAM and Digital Experience Management platform allows more than 350 of the world’s leading brand teams to manage their content.
We are on the cusp of a new era in commerce experiences. An era that promises a digital-first and customer-centric future. The winners will set new standards of excellence in omnichannel, personalization-at-scale, and seamlessly integrate content and commerce to create real differentiation. New approaches to digital experience technologies like MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) and composable are reducing costs, increasing agility, and enabling the digital transformation initiatives that will define the most powerful future experiences.
The goal of our event, whether guests had already started along the path of digital business transformation, or are seriously thinking about it, was to assemble some of the sharpest minds, and talk through the frameworks, ideas, best practices, examples, and the mentality you need to be successful.
We looked at what’s on the horizon for commerce experiences and showcased examples of commerce innovation from the best in the business.
Did Covid affect this event in any way?
Very much so! We planned to host this event in Illuminate at the Science Museum in February 2020 for 150 people. Covid meant this was postponed by 18 months and we also decided to reduce the numbers to 70 in person and host the event as a hybrid event to a virtual audience. The hybrid element was not something we would have considered for this style of event pre-Covid.
How did you feel about organising an event post-pandemic? Did you implement any Covid measures?
We did have concerns. We were worried guests may not be able to attend at the last minute if they were required to isolate. We were also concerned initially if people would attend in person – events in person are fairly new. A big concern was if one of our speakers fell ill at the last minute and needed to drop out.
Why did you choose the Science Museum? What were you looking for in a venue when you started planning this event?
Amplience is a SaaS company with technology and innovation at the forefront. The Science Museum represents that notion perfectly. We wanted a cool space with the wow factor, at a location that was recognisable. The Science Museum was the ideal choice for us.
How did you choose which of the Science Museum’s spaces to use for your event?
We knew we wanted to reduce the numbers of the people attending in person. Having visited the Smith Centre the previous year, we felt it would be the perfect size. Plenty of room for the event to be compact (the refreshments and networking were all served in the same space), but small enough for the event to feel intimate.
What were the standout features of the Smith Centre and what were the benefits of using this space for your event, particularly as a hybrid event?
Access to the two boardrooms was a definite bonus. This allowed us to have the option to have some of the team / speakers meet at the venue beforehand. It’s also a great breakout space for additional filming we did with guests and for guests to meet in a quieter space if required. We looked into the option of hosting a workshop prior to our event in one of the board rooms but we decided not to in the end, although it would have been perfect if we’d decided to go ahead.
In terms of the hybrid element, the space of the room meant the cameras could get a great view of the stage. In all honesty, I think the museum could make a hybrid event work in any of their spaces.
Also, the museum has an event management team, catering team and AV team to help with all aspects of the event – which meant it was so much easier on our side to organise as these were taken care of.
Who were your catering and AV partners?
We worked with Moving Venue for catering and White Light for AV.
What AV requirements were needed for the event? And how were they implemented?
We had a lot! We wanted a stage with a lectern, a large 96inch LED screen at the back of the stage and two screens either side of the stage. We also had a screen at the entrance to the room with the event branding so when guests entered, they knew they were in the right space. We also had 8 lapel microphones for the speakers as well as two handheld microphones for any questions from the audience.
They were all implemented by the AV team – White Light. We had a kick off call to discuss what we were looking for and the team put together a proposal. This changed a few weeks prior to the event as we required the 96-inch screen a little later – this was no issue.
The main requirement though was the ability to live stream the event via our virtual event platform Bizzabo. The AV team look the stream key from the Bizzabo platform and live streamed the full event to the virtual audience (of around 100 attendees). The team switched between different camera angles and the speakers slides throughout each session to ensure the virtual attendees had a great experience.
What was the main driver for choosing the hybrid model for this event? How did you ensure the experience for the physical attendees was replicated for those attending virtually?
To try and drive more attendance to the event from other regions, such as the US and other areas of Europe. Obviously, with travel being pretty much a no go for many businesses, we wanted to ensure we could widen our audience and reach without expecting anyone to travel.
To ensure a great experience, the in-person event was just a portion of the virtual experience. Once the event wrapped up, we had some virtual only sessions especially for a US audience. We also had a bank of on-demand pre-recorded videos that we produced ahead of time, so virtual attendees could access a whole host of content. We also hosted a live giveaway at the end of the virtual event.
Any aspects of the event that proved challenging? If so, how were they overcome?
We had a very short lead time. Around 8 weeks in total so this was a challenge on our side. On top of the short lead team, this was the first hybrid event we had run with a new virtual platform. We overcame this by introducing the Bizzabo video production team and the White Light AV team. They worked together to make sure they had everything they needed and made the experience seamless. To overcome the short lead time – this just meant a lot of late nights 😉 and a big team effort to get this off the ground, but it paid off in the end.
What feedback did you receive from guests?
Extremely positive (both in-person and virtual). In-person guests felt the event was very professional, it ran seamlessly, and the venue/format was very well received. The virtual experience also looked very well produced and professional, and we received a lot of positive comments on this.
Maddie Dixon, Lead Marketing Manager EMEA, Amplience: “I can’t recommend the Science Museum enough. The process was very straightforward, and the team really helped alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with organising large events. We were so impressed by the whole team too – Bryony, Paulo, Luis (White Light) and Paige (Moving Venue) just to name a few all the way down to the friendly security team that welcomed guests.
The AV and hybrid element to the event was a big concern for us. But the White Light team are extremely professional and REALLY know their stuff. They weren’t fazed at all by any of our requirements and I truly put it down to them as to why the event ran so smoothly both in-person and virtually. They managed the slide deck for us too throughout the event – this was a little complicated as it flicked back and forth, and it was faultless.
The catering was super easy to organise, and the food was great. The catering team were really friendly as well as being very discreet (they set up during the sessions and we could barely hear them).
From booking the venue with Bryony to finalising the details with Paulo – it was very straightforward, and the team were just friendly, professional, and very helpful at all times.
We will definitely be hosting future events at the Science Museum.