Meticulous planning for a large-scale in-person event is just about done. A global pandemic hits. And then a world-renowned non-profit organization calls asking for help to quickly pivot to virtual. Well, that’s exactly what happened when The Climate Reality Project needed to switch their Leadership Corps Global Training from an in-person, regional program to a virtual event experience – and with just 10 weeks’ notice.
The Climate Reality Project describes their training program as the best way to “[take] great leaders and make them exceptional, providing training in climate science, communications, and community organizing to better tell the story of climate change and inspire communities everywhere to act.”
Unwilling to let 2020 stand in the way of bringing people together, The Climate Reality Project wanted to usher in a new class of climate leaders and equip them with the tools and resources to take action against climate change. Attendees for this training are generally already bought into the idea of being a part of something bigger than themselves, but for this new virtual approach to work, it was important to make sure they still felt connected – to the cause and each other.
For more than 35 years, Hartmann Studios, one of Brightcove’s partner agencies, has been offering end-to-end virtual and in-person events. For this particular project, they knew they needed Brightcove to be a part of the solution, and we gladly accepted the challenge.
When it came to planning, the Hartmann Studios team started by asking a simple but critical question: what makes for a great virtual event? And as I’m sure you can imagine, it's more than just mastering the technology, developing compelling content, and coaching presenters. “It’s also about creating emotional connections throughout the event’s strategy, design and production. It’s about moving audiences to action and delivering solid ROI.” says Adam Feilmeier, President of Hartmann Studios.
Interactivity and finding new ways for attendees to engage are also critical for any virtual event to work. “We had this idea to encourage participants to share a picture of themselves, and the combined photos would create a mosaic that populated throughout the training,” says Feilmeier. “Each photo was meant to represent what people are fighting for, and how they are making a difference in the fight for our planet.”
HEALTH & SAFETY FIRST
With COVID-19 at its peak and impacting people around the world, protecting the health and safety of everyone involved with the event production was the top priority. “Our production team strategically designed and delivered a sanitized, fully remote broadcast studio to our keynote speaker—with white-glove service to ensure safety,” says Feilmeier. “With best-in-class advanced software and upgraded bandwidth, our remote technical crew skillfully produced 18 pre-recorded videos for keynote sessions, all from the safety of home.”
Despite all of the challenges to successfully produce the event, new opportunities were fully embraced. Instead of just replicating and adhering to the typical 3-day intensive training program, it was decided that breaking out the training content into more digestible segments over 9 days would be a much better attendee experience. And as a result, the typical 1,500 attendee event nearly increased tenfold with people participating online across 143 countries and 17 time zones.
A DIGITAL BROADCAST EXPERIENCE
When considering the methodical planning and video technology that went into designing the entire virtual attendee experience, The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps Global Training ultimately became something much bigger than just a virtual event: it was a digital broadcast experience.
Taking advantage of everything possible with video, attendees experienced live broadcasts, keynotes, dynamic breakouts, speed networking meet-ups, and skill-building on-demand sessions. Attendees were also able to join their preassigned “rooms” with one-click access to nearly 350 chapter and local branch meetings happening concurrently. “Looking back at this project, we ended up successfully creating human connections, on a video platform, through an integrated broadcast solution, which would have been impossible without Brightcove,” says Feilmeier.
What first started as something that seemed like a virtually impossible challenge resulted in a world-class virtual event experience, all because Hartmann Studios and Brightcove joined forces. And with 14,000 new global climate leaders officially trained from the comfort of their homes, we consider that a win.