When Salesforce asked us to create a late night talkshow
Salesforce is one of our longest-standing clients (and one of the largest and most admired B2B tech companies in the world).
Salesforce events are big: think Disneyland meets Coachella. The company goes all out to make these touchpoints exciting and fun for their customers. They throw fabulous parties with glorious food and musical acts like Alisha Keys and Bruno Mars (we’re trying to figure out how to jump the fence for the next one).
These events are Salesforce’s biggest customer touchpoint, and the best chance to get their audience excited, inspired and engaged with how the platform is evolving. So when COVID-19 forced Salesforce EMEA to move their flagship Basecamp event online, they wanted to recreate the magic of their in-person events online. And they needed a big dose of creativity and smart production moves to do it all inside of 11 weeks, before the big day.
Salesforce tapped us to come up with something “better than Basecamp, but remote“. So rather than resist the restrictions of lockdown, we leaned into them with a late-night talk show format (filmed in CNN’s Switzerland studios) filled with quick-fire segments to keep Zoom-fatigued attendees engaged: games, quizzes, interviews, fabulous graphics, killer video sequences and a charismatic presenter to tie everything together.
Our big theme for the event was Moments of Change — a framing device to contextualize Covid against the other once-in-a-lifetime shifts that happen across every industry. It gave us a foundation to speak to the strangeness of lockdown while leaving space to talk about the future as well. The plan was to get the thoughts of six industry leaders on changes they’d survived, how they were adjusting to the pandemic and what they thought came next.
This was a whole production effort that spanned planning, development, storyboarding, interviews, scripting, graphics, animations, videos, direction, prop sourcing, set-dressing and more. Here’s how it breaks down at a glance:
6 industries (across Telco, Luxury, Manufacturing, Life Sciences, CPG and Healthcare)
24 segments (including the Industry Forecast, the Change Timeline and the SEOdown, where experts guess which keywords rank highest)
6 success stories from Salesforce customers
The unlikely hero
There are two words uniting every success we achieve with clients at Velocity. They aren’t sexy, but they’re the sole reason we pulled off something this big in a matter of weeks: Project. Management.
With roughly a billion (OK, around 175) individual assets that needed to be polished, delivered and approved basically simultaneously (with a bunch of unknowns and moving parts) we basically needed to bend the curve of time. Our project management team (mostly Julie) wrangled a torrent of account managers, writers, designers, video folks, stakeholders and industry hot-shots to keep the circus running. And even then, it wouldn’t have been possible without a client as smart and diligent as Seb at Salesforce (thanks Seb!).
We also developed criteria for who would host the event and then vetted a bunch of people at Salesforce. Our winner, Guntram, flew to Switzerland, where Salesforce had arranged to have CNN provide studio space and hosts. We sent Matt and Anna over to guide the process, making sure the host, interviewers and interviewees were prepared and hitting the right notes.
This was Velocity’s first virtual event … ever. But Salesforce loved it and so did we. It required hard work, insane planning and problem-solving — but that’s what makes it fun. (Yes, we are taking our ADHD meds).
It would’ve been pointless to try and make the best WFH event on the internet if no-one knew about it. So we also created a bunch of promotional materials to bring attendees to Salesforce’s virtual door, and keep them engaged afterwards. So in the same 11 week timeline we also produced:
14 teaser videos
18 LinkedIn ads
7 landing pages
Salesforce saw over 150 registrations before the live events, gained and nurtured quality leads and expanded their global audience.
There’s no secret formula to getting an online event right, but there is an art to it: you need to have great ideas (project management), confidence (cough! project management), and definitely … stellar project management.
individual assets within 11 weeks
registrations ahead of the event
Somehow we found ourselves with an amazing bunch of like-minded marketers for clients. When that happens, great things tend to pop out.