- On-demand content production
- Platform design & build
- Strategic project management
- Virtual programme design
Virtual Q community event 2020
A face-to-face Q community event was not an option in 2020 – the team considered postponing until 2021, but it was decided that the best step going forward was to make the event fully virtual. Cynergy researched and evaluated virtual event platforms that we believed would allow Q to provide the best interactive, engaging, and energising experience for their delegates. On behalf ofthe client, we attended live demos and Q&As to discover what the platforms had to offer in terms of usability, delegate experience and functionality, to understand how we could practically deliver an impactful Q event.
Once we had a chosen platform to host the virtual event, Cynergy created both a detailed and high-level format appraisal to assess the different delivery models for the virtual event. From there, we began the co-design process to understand the expectations and desires of the Q team and Q members, and ultimately how we needed to utilise the digital space to build on previous face-to-face interactions, ensuring that this was the best Q event to date, despite the change in format.
In the workshop, we delivered activities alongside the Q project team, which got the team thinking about what their ambitions for the event were. Miro was utilised as an online collaborative tool to get participants sharing, voting, and building on each other’s ideas and thoughts. At the end of the session, the proposed event format options were laid out and the team were able to share their initial reactions; what they liked and disliked, any concerns, what they felt was missing, what they would add and where they had seen the format done well. For example, members really valued the opportunity to connect with other people but felt that virtual events lacked the ‘human touch’ – we therefore went into designing the event with the ambition and drive to create an environment that fostered a sense of community, connectivity, and collaboration as much as possible.
This subsequently informed the setting of event objectives to establish the purpose of what Q were delivering and why.
Following our user research, we synthesised the outputs, highlighting the key emerging themes (e.g., COVID-19, equity, improvement) that came from both design sessions and provided recommendations for topics. From there we were able to begin speaker sourcing, guided by our belief in the power of a compelling keynote who can engage delegates with their knowledge and personal experiences and create a lasting impact. We researched speakers relevant to the key themes and created a document which provided a summary of their speaker profiles (e.g., bios, social media tags, areas of interest) and suggested topic titles (e.g., How to innovate in a crisis, Addressing COVID inequalities) for consideration by the Q project team.
Building the agenda of live, on-demand, wellbeing, and networking sessions was a truly collaborative process between ourselves and the Q project team. Utilising everyone’s different perspectives, experiences and expertise, we were able to combine our skills to create a programme that was engaging, topical, impactful and interactive.
We then advised on the logistics of delivery, how sessions would look and be delivered on the virtual platform, considering the flow of content themes throughout the day. This was shaped into a final agenda – a full two-day event with a mix of content styles, format and delivery, making the most of the platform’s exhibition space to allow delegates to view and download content and virtually connect.
With Q member feedback in mind, we wanted to replicate the feel of a physical, face-to-face event to give delegates a sense of familiarity and because we also know how much Q members value the opportunity to have a full day of learning and networking available to them. The platform chosen offered a Lobby, Auditorium, Networking Lounge, Exhibition space (Discovery Zone) and a Help Desk.
There was a lot of careful consideration in the styling to ensure that the look and feel of the event space, virtually, was reminiscent of a typical face to face Q event. It was therefore important that the spaces were bright and airy and were conducive of an inclusive environment. We also ensured that the branding was consistent throughout and included imagery of previous events. It was the little touches that really brought the platform to life and would make delegates feel as though they were at a Q event, which was important for the client.
We also wanted attendees to be able to move freely between spaces, dip in and out of sessions to fit in with their workdays, begin conversations with other members and have access to downloadable resources, blogs, and articles, as well as watch on-demand content. With such a full agenda, it was important that we designed and delivered an event that was flexible to a Q member’s busy, working day.
Alongside live and on-demand sessions, Cynergy also worked with the Q team to creatively make use of the platform’s exhibition space. Here the Discovery Zone was born which had booths for Session resources (e.g., PPT slide decks, journal articles, PDFs), Health Foundation and Q resources, and a booth which featured audio stories documenting life in the UK and Health and Social care during 2020. We also dedicated a booth to set up Zoom rooms for special interest groups to sign up and join on the day, enabling them to reconnect and continue their conversations. This involved a Cynergy team member welcoming the SIG lead, assigning them as the host and making sure they felt confident using Zoom and leading their session independently.
Delegate Bags were also great feature that enabled attendees to browse the Discovery Zone and add resources they were interested in, which would then be emailed to them following the event.
Filming and editing
Preparing the on-demand sessions required a lot of planning in terms of understanding the brief, session objectives, preferred recording format (e.g., talking head, panel discussion, slideshow presentation) and co-ordinating diaries to ensure all speakers were booked to record their session in the two-week period allotted in the project timeline. Cynergy were responsible for setting up the virtual recordings, sending out the meeting invites and managing speakers who needed to reschedule whilst ensuring the final product was ready for the event.
We also prepared briefing documents to share with speakers ahead of the session recordings which gave them background information on the event, their session, expected audience, slide format guidelines, level of support and how best to present virtually (i.e., lighting, position, audio, connectivity). It was important for us to be there for speakers as a constant line of support if they had any concerns or questions, and to ensure they came to the session recording feeling prepared and confident so that we got the best possible footage for editing.
On the Zoom calls we were there to welcome and brief speakers, as well as to ensure their content remained aligned to the brief and to provide prompts if necessary. When it came to editing, we worked closely with our Studio to ensure we were hitting the brief and achieving the session objectives, whilst creating a slick video that conveyed the key messages. The pre-record was then uploaded onto the Q community YouTube channel and Cynergy worked to ensure the subtitle transcripts for the Closed Captioning was accurate throughout each of the videos and inputted suggestion tags to link the on-demand content across each of the themes. In total, Cynergy recorded, edited, and uploaded 12 15-minute to 45-minute videos.
To help promote the event, increase engagement and get delegates excited and committed to attending the Q event, we proposed sending out delegate packs to registrants. Cynergy proposed various different options for the contents of the packs, designed to give delegates that experiential sense of familiarity of arriving at a live event, even though they were attending digitally. We therefore focused particularly on providing the ‘home comforts.’
The packs were all assembled and sent out by Cynergy and included cookies baked by the Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women who have had social and economic disadvantage, to build a future for themselves. There were also branded teabags, a personalised ticket which we designed and printed, and stationery – everything you would require for two days of learning! Organising the logistics was somewhat of a mammoth task, but we believed that this would really bring the ‘human touch’ element to the event and something tangible for delegates. In the end, going that extra mile did not go unnoticed…
The Cynergy Studio were also busy designing and formatting a Q branded digital brochure for the event, which provided guidance to navigate the virtual platform and a detailed agenda with Discovery Zone information, session descriptions, speaker profiles, and sneak previews of the on-demand content. This was a digital asset sent to delegates with the joining instructions ahead of the event, so that they could download and flick through, giving them time to peruse the options, read more about the speakers and identify content they wanted to attend and engage with.
Take a look Guide to the Q community event 2020
Live session and speaker support
Ahead of the live sessions, we also offered and scheduled tech checks and run throughs with each of the speakers. This again involved coordinating diaries, setting up Zoom calls, sending out invites and sharing briefing packs, which aimed to give as much information as possible so that speakers knew what was required of them, what they needed to prepare and who they could to go to for support. For the tech checks we asked speakers to make sure they were in the room where they would be presenting to get a true sense of their connection stability, check their audio and video settings were set correctly, and provide guidance on how to manage the lighting. These tech checks were crucial to ensuring speakers looked and sounded their best on the day, and that we delivered their session as seamlessly as possible by troubleshooting any potential Zoom problems ahead of the event day, especially as sessions were to be recorded for other delegates to view later. If any tech issues did arise before or during, we also had WhatsApp groups set up exclusively for speakers to flag problems and we could provide quick solutions.
When it came to the actual delivery, Cynergy took on the role of production. This meant we were working constantly in the background to deliver a seamless session, minute by minute in accordance with the session plans that had been designed and tested over the previous months.
- Managing the ‘green room’ ahead of launch
- Launching the live sessions
- Recording all sessions
- Setting and monitoring permissions (e.g., host/co-host/closed captioning roles)
- Sharing slides and videos
- Spotlighting speakers and panels
- Launching any Sli.do or Zoom polls for delegate feedback
- Pre-allocating/assigning breakout rooms and assisting delegates experiencing any issues
- Managing the waiting room and admitting participants
- Sending chat box announcements
Following the event, Cynergy then pulled together 9 Live session recordings (excluding any closed sessions) and sent them to Studio with a brief to be edited down before we uploaded to YouTube and then put back onto the platform so that delegates had access to watch for the next 30 days.
Cynergy have built a great relationship with the Q community over the years, based on a foundation of trust and respect – and these kind of relationships are important to us. Together we worked with transparency and honesty, supporting and having their back in any every way we could. We integrated into their internal team to create one, unified project team, and provided our expertise, knowledge, and ideas – being there to offer creative suggestions to enhance the delegate experience and think from a practical perspective regarding how their collaborative workshop ideas would work in a virtual environment, considering every limitation and opportunity.
1,176 Registrations (177% increase on 2019)
498 Unique booth visits
2,062 Live webinar attendees
212 On-demand video views
2,215 Document downloads