A business’s 50th anniversary is a milestone worth pulling the red carpet out for! For A&H Steel, their 50th Anniversary celebration went virtual and was able to reach a number of people that would not have been able to attend an in-person celebration. Although moving to a virtual event wasn’t what the client originally had dreamed about, in the end it achieved all of their goals in recognizing the original founders, connecting current and past staff, clients and suppliers and looking forward to the next 50 years. Read on to see what I think some of the benefits of a virtual event are.
The ED team had the pleasure of working with Glenise Harvey and the A&H family for their new building grand opening back in 2016. When Glenise reached out about needing help to celebrate this milestone we said YES immediately!
TO HYBRID OR NOT TO HYBRID, THAT WAS THE QUESTION.
When we first started the planning, we could have had an in-person event for 50 people and streamed the event virtually- that is a hybrid event. After lengthy discussion, it was decided to do the event virtually only. How could they choose which 50 people got to attend in person? Hybrid events are more expensive because you are doing 2 events instead of 1. What if the restrictions changed between now and then? At the end of the day, it was the right decision for the client, their guests and the circumstances we were in.
I could write a book about each event, it’s always so hard to pick only a couple things to note. Once again, here are just a few highlights of mine:
- THE EVENT DESIGN
Creating a theme and design that captures the character of the organization, their values and is unique to them is one of my favorite parts. We chose a classic chalk effect design and focused on A&H’s Raising the Bar tagline. They’ve been Raising the Bar for 50 Years in the Edmonton area!
A number of invitations were printed and mailed to some of the original staff and the rest were sent electronically. In addition to having a digital invite, we also had the invite animated into a short video. Yes! The bar was literally raised in the invitation! Call me a dork but these are the kind of things I get excited about.
We also wanted to capture the impact that A&H has had and is still having on the community and the industry. We created an infographic for them based on a number of stats about their organization and interesting things to know about the industry. This piece was intentionally designed to not reflect the event only, as this is a piece that A&H Steel can use for the next year or more to come. This can easily be included on their website, or put in proposals and much more.
- KEYNOTE SPEAKER
A core value of A&H’s is Happiness and it is inspired from the author Jennifer Moss’s book on Unlocking Happiness at Work. As a way to give back to the guests, in an especially challenging year, A&H chose to have Jennifer Moss present a keynote address to provide tangible tips and tools for people and to also inspire them on how to choose happiness and choose joy even when we are facing challenges.
The keynote was very well received by attendees and many guests joined her in the Meet the Speaker networking room following the main program where they could continue the conversation and A&H gave away a number of books.
- VIDEO MESSAGES
We wanted to capture elements of the past and present through different speakers and videos. Photos from over the years were collected and compiled with a heartfelt recorded message from one of the original founders. The comments were steadily coming in on the chat about people recognizing each other in the old photos.
Moving to the present, we worked with invert720 Productions to arrange a video shoot with the current owners. The end result was authentic, informative, engaging and, of course, entertaining! It hit the mark on event day when people became emotional at different parts and enjoyed the humour and banter between Glenise & Craig.
Lastly, as a way to engage the staff and tie into the Happiness theme, we asked staff to submit a video of them completing the sentence: Happiness is…..
We were overwhelmed with the number of responses and had to have a short version for the event and a full version that was shared afterwards.
BENEFITS OF A VIRTUAL EVENT
- Your invite and attendee list can be infinite
- Your stakeholders that live in different provinces can still attend online. For A&H, this meant their BC team could be a part of the celebration
- If people cannot attend due to a date or time conflict, they can still watch the recorded event after
- In creating different media assets for the virtual event, you have content that can be reused on your website, for social media, newsletters, annual reports, etc.