In February this year I had a thriving and growing business. My Giggabox business had 4 core strands, all growing steadily; Video Production, Event Production, Aerial Filming with Drones and Live Streaming. Then came lockdown and a flood of phone calls meant that within 48 hours all of our business booked was postponed. The order book emptied out just like that.
As Plato wrote in his dialogue Republic… necessity is the mother of invention. It was time to innovate to survive!
That need, combined with a call from one of our London marketing agency clients within hours of lockdown, led my team and I to develop a solution for that one client, that was to prove as successful for all parties, as it was innovative.
An initial UK pilot of the Virtual Events programme and platform we created, has increased to a series of now 20 weekly events in the UK and we’ve been asked in the last few days to roll out a similar series of events across their USA and Asia-Pacific Regions.
I was encouraged to share this story by John McGillivray, from the Business Growth Programme at Cranfield University and School of Management in the hope that if you’re having a tough time currently, there is hope for success. And sometimes all it takes is a question.
The question I was asked by that Agency CEO? “We need to create a series of Events that are much more than webinars, can be delivered completely remotely, have TV-like production values and with content that can be re-purposed after the Event, as a series of Social Media clips. Can you help?”
The Events were required because the end client wanted to continue to communicate with and build their client and prospective client community, which had up until this point been all face to face meetings by the sales and business development teams and physical Events. Both these activities were critical to their ongoing business objectives. And both had now had to cease!
We’ve been live streaming corporate and sports events since 2009 and prior to that, I spent over 20 years in TV sports broadcasting. As a result of tapping into both of those personal knowledge pits, working with the list of requirements from the Agency and the end client, we developed, tested and proved a solution within 17 working days.
Since then, we’ve delivered a fully branded, engaging Virtual Event every single week, with content that is proving a great hit with their audience and has become the most visited page of their website within 5 weeks. More importantly, they’ve continued to have that vital engagement with clients and prospects, are seeing new business growth continue, and are building a community that will likely live on way beyond Coronavirus.
What is equally exciting is that we are now offering this same programme to other businesses of all sizes and scale, who similarly want to build a community around their product, service, or brand.
Thanks in large part to it being completely remote in terms of functionality, we’ve also been able to set a very competitive price structure starting from just £1200 per Event and are keen to offer this platform to other businesses needing to achieve their sales and business objectives.
The success of this solution led to us to try to solve another Event delivery problem for Event Managers and Marketeers, who were suddenly faced with a business requirement to run an Event, where no-one could attend!
Again, building on our knowledge base from Live Streaming and TV, we have developed our Virtual Events platform. The key to this was to make sure it is not just a series of video calls stitched together one after the other. We’re already seeing “webinar fatigue” with invite after invite to an “Event” just being a series of seemingly sometimes endless online video calls.
We also quickly realised was that while the experience needed to be as close to the real-world experience of physically attending an event, the Virtual delegate attends in a vastly different way.
To begin with, e-delegates won’t spend all day at a Virtual Event, however great the speaker line-up. They’re incredibly unlikely to spend even half a day at a Virtual Event. They take more of a browsing approach, dipping in and out and often, having dipped in, not returning.
Our research has shown that the biggest reason for people not sticking around is that they didn’t feel engaged. They were a spectator, and they wanted to participate. And it wasn’t just the standard of content, albeit that was a factor, even though it was lower down the list.
The primary reason given was the inability to do the things they would at a physical Event. The two most commonly reported being making new contacts and building on existing relationships.
Based on those findings, we’ve developed a platform that provides those real-world experiences. A place where exhibitors can engage with e-delegates. Where brochures can be downloaded and shared, as can video showcase films. A place where attendees are provided with a cool and easy way of networking in between the live speaker and panel sessions, and where content is delivered in short sharper sessions, to retain the engagement of the audience.
And for those speaking at the Event, and doing so completely remotely, to be able to engage with the audience too, through live Q&A, polls, quizzes and more. And we’ve also made it more comfortable for the speakers too, by giving them countdown clocks and virtual comfort monitors so they can actually see what the audience is seeing.
In this new environment, e-delegates deserve and expect more for giving up their valuable time. And we deliver that with our Giggabox produced Virtual Events packages.
And as things move towards a ‘new normal’, these Virtual Events are going to become Hybrid Events. Where there is a live audience at the venue and an online audience who chose for whatever reason, not to attend in person. And we’ve been developing some especially innovative solutions to what will be the ’new normal’ for Events.
We’re keen to get the word out about Giggabox Virtual Events. They are built to engage and retain the audience; to be straightforward and hugely cost effective – even for the smallest of businesses. If you can spread the word throughout your own networks, I’d be very grateful. And I’d be pretty confident your connections will be grateful too, because right now, a lot of them are working out just where to turn to for help and advice in these areas. And we’d love to help.
This process, while proving rewarding, has also been a huge learning curve for me personally. I share it to encourage you to realise that even in those moments where you think your business is done for – and I know for many, like me that has been a very real threat recently – there’s almost always a way to use your vast knowledge base and experience to innovate. Taking elements of what you’re already doing and solving a problem for your particular market.
As Steve Jobs famously said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”.
At Giggabox we use Video, Motion Graphics, Drones, Live Streaming and Events to tell our clients stories and showcase their business, product or service. We bring our ‘can-do’ attitude to everything we do, ensuring every project gets delivered efficiently and on budget. Our expert team are here to work with clients through each element of their production needs. We have amassed over 40-years’ worth of experience in our sector, from our CEO to our newest team members.
www.giggabox.co.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | 01280 735050