We recently examined how Cisco successfully pivoted a massive B2B event, Cisco Live, into an all-virtual one using creative engagement tactics and social media contests. Following are three lessons learned throughout the process, according to Kathy Doyle, Global Director of Cisco Live conferences, who spoke to Event Marketer about the strategies behind the brand’s pivot.
Lesson Learned: Form a Foundation
According to Doyle, converting mega-conference Cisco Live into a virtual event didn’t entail just pivoting to digital. It was more like starting from scratch. So, the brand began by putting a foundation in place that would support the agility that’s required when working so quickly. They created new, cross-functional work streams and identified decision-makers and contributors within teams across the company.
Lesson Learned: Right-size the Event
Converting all the content that was planned for the in-person Cisco Live wasn’t going to cut it. The team had to look at the original five-day event and prioritize content that would be appropriate for a two-day affair. They also shortened sessions to make the content more digestible.
Lesson Learned: Consider the Cultural Moment
On the evening before the show’s kickoff, Cisco made the decision to postpone the event in order to honor the Black Lives Matter movement taking place. The event was scheduled to happen on Blackout Tuesday, a collective action that called for the world to go silent on social media in honor of BLM’s cause. The decision, though disappointing for customers and requiring additional work from the brand, spurred a lot of positive feedback.
For additional tips and lessons learned from Cisco Live’s virtual pivot, read more in Event Marketer.