When AHEAD, a national leading provider of cloud, data, and digital engineering solutions, wanted to unveil a new, carefully crafted company vision statement to its 1600+ employees, it truly was a meeting of the minds. The theme of their event was "IMPACT", and impact is what we do.
"To make an extraordinary impact on our industry, our clients, and each other."
Broadcast location: Moonlight Studios near AHEAD HQ in Chicago
- Live, in-studio, 175
- 6 hosted, remote, corporate viewing parties:
- Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Scottsdale, Chicago HQ.
- 1,000+ remote, individual browser attendees
- XyvidPro for virtual viewing and Xyvid Connect cell phone audience response system used by group viewers (in-studio, viewing parties) to respond to the same polling questions as individual virtual attendees. Data from all attendees across Xyvid Pro and Xyvid Connect were delivered in the same reporting
- Virtual photo booth app for hybrid events, SnabBar, was embedded directly into Xyvid Pro. It allowed employees to take stylized selfies which were shared in-studio on the stage video wall and remotely in Xyvid Pro during two 15 minute program breaks to the sounds of an employee generated music playlist
- A best in class live chat application, DeadSimpleChat, was embedded directly into Xyvid Pro and provided a space for attendees to connect, share insights, and ask questions in real-time
- Sourced the large event venue + studio and 3 camera production team near corporate HQ
- Collaborated with AHEAD event planners and studio production team on the live stage concept, look and feel, LED wall content, downstage monitor placement, etc.
- Coordinated parallel theming and show flow in the Xyvid Pro remote attendee interface
- Engineered streaming and directed the attendee experience (Xyvid Pro real-time layout movements)
- Participated in rehearsals and provided creative input
"The heart of what we do is our employees."
The depth of AHEAD's commitment to this notion was evident from the start. It was clear that the new company vision statement and other messaging were crafted with meticulous care down to the word. It was also clear that AHEAD's leadership was resolute that this event have a communal feel, that employees felt connected to it one in the same no matter where they were. Xyvid's role was to realize how high AHEAD's bar was and to meet them there - to understand their intent, match their enthusiasm and bring real creative input to bear - to be a real collaborative partner in achieving an experience, not just a meeting.
"I'll just say that everyone's hybrid event approach is different. What I liked about the team was that for us, this is obviously new. And we kind of had an idea of what we wanted to do. But it was really great to work with the team and really define that together, understanding the capabilities of the system, but also really hearing us and what was most important.
"We looked at other providers, one of which I worked with for years before. That was something that wasn't clicking. They wanted us to fit into their hybrid event model versus what we wanted to do. I think that was truly eye opening from the onset... that we were really able to work together to define what that looked like for us." (Anita Moore)
"Production value is really what made everybody feel like, 'oh, we're legit. This isn't just a PowerPoint presentation with a standard screen set up'… I heard from so many people, 'wow, we're really fancy.' There's a sense of pride that comes from employees when they see that level of production coming from where they work. And just to know that was the standard - that it wasn't because we asked for it to be up-leveled, but the standard was for it to be that level of quality, was really important."
There is no formula for creating great experiences. Each case is unique.
AHEAD's 2023 kickoff saw a video wall on stage that allowed remote viewing parties to say hello to the live studio audience. It saw thoughtful video submissions by employees on how they intended to make an impact moving forward played on the video wall and in remote browsers. It saw program breaks wherein remote attendees took stylized selfies that wound up prominently displayed in both the virtual and live rooms, all to the sounds of a Spotify playlist generated from employee requests. These things had the effect of unifying the experience regardless of location. It really was a great demonstration of how excellent messaging and imaginative presentation can be combined in an artful way to create an outcome greater than the sum of its parts.
Finally, the kickoff was also a demonstration of the power of collaboration. AHEAD wanted to sleep well at night as it focused on its primary concern - wowing its employees. While a live event alone can be a handful, tacking on an entire virtual component can be daunting. Having a partner with a unique history in both the live and virtual spaces can go a long way toward allaying fears.