How do we make GroupM’s yearly NextM expo as engaging, inspiring and exciting as usual – but virtually, and within a short timeframe?
Create the concept of a virtual city, where participants visit different “places” to see talks and meet the expo partners.
Moving NextM online
Every year, GroupM opens the doors for NextM, the biggest technology and marketing event in the Nordics. Any normal year, NextM welcomes 50+ speakers and almost 5,000 attendants to venues in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo to meet, inspire and to get first-hand experiences in the massive tech garden with all things AI, VR, AR, MR, big data, data security, robotics, digital marketing platforms, etc.
Of course, 2020 was a little bit different. It was clear that the event would have to move online.
We joined the project well into the planning phase. Most subjects and speakers had been planned, and the foundations for a visual concept had been developed. So, the challenge was: how do we create a virtual environment that can realize the expo’s potential to engage, inspire and excite participants – even from home?
Engaging attendants online
We wanted to give attendants an experience of not just watching a webinar but being part of an event.
We created the concept of a virtual city. The basic idea was that attendants would go to an event by clicking on a location in the virtual city. When you click on an event, the camera zooms to that building and the video appears. This simple design choice creates a sense of moving around in an environment like a physical expo – even while participating from home.
A simple, yet effective setup
The virtual city consists of three expo areas – one for each day of NextM – as well as two areas where attendants can learn more about the speakers and the event partners, respectively. Since a lot of the funding for NextM comes from partners, it was important that they had a prominent placement in the virtual city.
The talks themselves were prerecorded and very elegantly produced. Therefore, our focus was on implementing the talks in the virtual city in the best way possible. They can be viewed in an embedded window or full-screen, and we put a link to the agenda for the day in the top left corner of the screen.