Global scale meets the personal touch in EY’s virtual event.
One month to pivot a planet-spanning, physical event and social gathering to an online experience? No problem.
The EY Indirect Tax Event is a staple of the EY social calendar. A rolling showcase which travels across Europe in typical years, the Indirect Tax Event found itself unexpectedly grounded in 2020 by COVID-19 lockdown measures.
The EY Indirect Tax Event is held in high regard by the EY community as a banner social event – a stopgap in the year when peers can network and catch up over a combination of seminars, networking sessions and dinners.
As the world entered lockdown, the organisers made the decision to pivot the traditional roadshow towards a digital solution – one which would allow Live Group to demonstrate our skills in swift project turnaround and virtual event implementation.
Live Group’s approach to the brief
The choice to take the event virtual on 15th April left the Live Group team just over one month to make arrangements – more than enough time for our experienced developers and project managers. The deadline of 19th May was chosen to match the originally-scheduled date of the London event to minimise confusion.
Key teams in the Live Group roster sprang into action. Crucial groundwork concerning the online platform had already been completed by our developers in service of the physical event, to provide a place for attendees to sign up and receive materials ahead of the session. However, additional work was required to build out the social and engagement functionality of the platform.
The EY Indirect Tax Event serves a social purpose, so great care was taken to ensure attendees had chat functionality and plenty of opportunity to enter forums and discuss topics with their EY cohorts. While it may be a stretch for a virtual hub to replicate the tactile nature of attending a dinner with your colleagues, the fun and buzz of a conversation with your team is an area the platform excels at. EY were also able to capitalise on the opportunity to hold Q&As with their staff and gather data using live polling.
Bridging the gap
The next challenge to tackle involved presenter training.
The speakers for the event booked and briefed, but unversed in presenting to a remote audience. Our Content Manager was tasked with educating these speakers – who would be bridging to the audience from across the globe – in the nuances of presenting to camera. These sessions proved invaluable, and the results showed on the day with confident, articulate speakers presenting content which had been optimised for the virtual platform.
From a technical perspective the broadcast was also a feat of organisation and rock-solid infrastructure. Speakers based in the UK as well as Brussels, Amsterdam, Singapore and the West Coast of the US delivered live talks alongside pre-recorded content which the production team helped the speakers to develop ahead of the day. And when our Singapore speaker fell victim to a sudden power cut during her live session, the technical team were able to deploy the pre-recorded session as a contingency, resuming the broadcast without missing a beat.
What was destined to be a cancelled symposium, unstuck by lockdown measures, was not only rescued but elevated by the deployment of a virtual element.
The event was attended by 554 unique viewers, tuning in from 45 countries to listen to speakers broadcasting from around the world, who participated in the 90-minute webinar as well as the accompanying engagement activities and networking opportunities. This attendance, and the breadth of different nations tuning in to catch the action, shows the power of virtual platforms to increase the scope of an event – scope which would not have been achieved at the originally-scheduled symposium in London.