We hosted our first virtual company kickoff this week and it was a smashing success. Our kickoffs have always been energizing and informative, but this was the first year we weren’t in-person in London and San Francisco. Everyone was nervous about how it would go.
The best things about it were the convenience and, surprisingly, the engagement.
With two screens and an ergonomic equipment setup (chair, keyboard, mouse, etc), I had one screen showing the presentations and another to take notes.
I was comfortable and focused but also felt connected. Our discussion forums were constantly flowing with jokes and chatter about the presentations so I felt connected to all the other attendees.
Since we didn’t have to spend budget on in-person venues, we brought in our first keynote speaker, David Speechly, who pumped everyone up with a talk on the psychology of success.
We also created our own version of Pitbull’s “I believe that we will win”music video and our President and CRO Ryan Ashburn led a remake of Mr. Worldwide’s hit, featuring nearly our entire global team.
Our in-house video production team, Studios, made bookend video assets that played before and after each presentation to reinforce this year’s kickoff theme.
After a big first day for everyone in the company, each functional group split into their own tracks, all running simultaneously on the event site. Some presentations were mostly slides, some were all video, and others were mashups of recorded and live video with slides and screen share too – the variety was great.
The gamification levers had everyone looking all around the site for scavenger hunt clues and daily trivia answers, connecting with, following and messaging each other and trying to earn enough AshCash (our President’s currency) to buy apparel from the swag store.
Without the need to travel, we were able to have the global team attend the same event for the first time and were able to have customers from California, England and Israel all join the same panel to share their knowledge with the team.
We were also able to have the CEO of TechTarget Mike Cotoia use his webcam in Boston to join our CEO Paul Heald for an interview discussing their post-acquisition vision for how we can work together.
We didn’t get to hug each other or spend evenings reminiscing but we were able to use our own virtual event platform to create what everyone has agreed was the best kickoff in BrightTALK’s history.