Centaur Media

Festival of Marketing 2020

The Brief

The Festival of Marketing (FOM) is a unique multi-day experience where ambitious marketers can discover, learn, celebrate and shape the future together. The single largest global event dedicated to brand marketers, the Festival reflects the very nature of marketing, seamlessly blending inspiration and practical application. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 event was delivered in a virtual environment for the first time. Identity was commissioned to provide the services and skills to capture and prepare an extensive programme of both pre-recorded and live speaker sessions, and to manage the live streaming into the virtual platform In total, Identity delivered over 50 sessions and unique pieces of content for the Festival, which was broadcast live over five days from October 5-9, 2020.

Deliverables & Highlights

Identity undertook a significant amount of research and exploration around platforms which would meet the client brief and objectives. Once selected by the FOM team, we advised and supported on the technical capabilities of the platform and were present on calls with the FOM and platform teams to gain a deep understanding of platform mechanics so that we could alleviate any client concerns regarding delivery.

Identity worked collaboratively with the client on the use of the virtual events platform as the “venue” for the festival. This involved the utilisation of branded visual devices to be used across the speaker and panel sessions broadcasts, including virtual animated backgrounds, providing an immersive level of consistency across the event in the Festival of Marketing “look and feel” and brand voice. One brief deliverable was a requirement for the use of a 3D virtual studio for filming so that speakers could be interjected into a virtual backdrop to make their presentations feel more immersive. However, due to sensitivities about travelling to a studio during the COVID-19 pandemic and to maximise use of the project budget, Identity “flipped” the solution, taking speakers from their native environment and immersing them into a dynamic, virtual 3D environment. The creative brand assets were also echoed within the Tobacco Dock productions. The design and build of the FOM event kit, which included animated introductions, was created with optimum adaptability and became an integral support within the Tobacco Dock staging and presentation, building on the continuity to the overall event look and feel. The Identity team delivered versatility to accommodate varying sponsorship information and underpinned a production that fell outside of our management.

Identity consulted, advised, tested and supported on the live stream and Q&A facilities on the platform to ensure that the functionality was as robust and useful to the audience, speakers and the Festival itself as possible.

An extensive roster of prominent, industry-leading marketing figures was pre-recorded, including senior representatives from Facebook, Unilever, Tesco, LEGO and McDonald’s, with their speaker sessions being housed on the platform to be accessed at the point of broadcast and also on-demand by Festival attendees throughout the event. In total, the scheduling and recording process took around two months; Identity effectively coordinated and collaborated with numerous stakeholders, including the Festival of Marketing team, the speakers themselves and all technical suppliers, to establish a workflow where up to half a dozen sessions per day could be pre-recorded, edited and branded, before being passed back to the speaker in question and the client for their review, second round edits and completion. At this stage, all content was queued ready to be uploaded to broadcast timings as “live”.

The Results

Setup and testing of all connections pre-event was undertaken with all speakers who would be live on the platform, testing bandwidths and any firewall and security restrictions that may hamper the broadcast; mitigations were put in place to ensure that these would not interrupt the live sessions. Backups to all live feeds were implemented as a protective measure in the event of one internet line dropping out which enabled seamless switching between feeds in the platform backend well before the audience would be aware of any issues.

The platform itself was managed and monitored constantly by the Identity technical events team throughout the five-day Festival. Speakers and panels were cued-up in Identity’s virtual staging area and pushed live by our attending technologist, who monitored the streams at all times for any technical issues that might have interrupted the broadcasts.

At all stages from initial kickoff to project delivery, Identity worked closely with the client to get the most out of the budget whilst ensuring delivery of a visually compelling execution that met brief objectives and maximised ROI. This not only included the utilisation of a lean but highly experienced Identity team to minimise costs, but a requirement to be flexible, agile and accommodating at all times. Working collaboratively with both the client and all stakeholders, this included managing deadlines and timelines to accommodate needs, being supportive of speakers who had to reschedule pre-booked slots and providing connectivity assistance on the day, working closely with suppliers to optimise outcomes and over-delivering on the volume of content production against agreed deliverables.

The 2020 Festival of Marketing was truly an event like no other, with the Identity team supporting the delivery of a world-class virtual and very human experience that was as seamless, compelling and engaging as the in-person events. With amazing headliners and five days of dedicated content, attendees came away brimming with ideas and takeaways, with unmatched insights, inspiration and learnings.

“I wanted to say a huge thanks for all the work you put into the Festival of Marketing. Thank you for all your support, from a practical perspective, but also as a reassuring voice through the whole process. I look forward to working with you again.” – Group Head of Awards and Events, Centaur