Acrisure Virtual Summit: Going Virtual Brings Customized Content and Experiences
As one of the world’s top 10 insurance brokerages and the fastest growing in the world, Acrisure provides a broad array of insurance and financial-related products and services through its network of agency partners. Those agencies receive global resources, technology, and tools from Acrisure as part of a culture focused on collaboration and continuous innovation.
Filice Insurance, an Acrisure agency partner headquartered in San Jose, California, and with offices throughout the state, hosts an external, in-person meeting each year focused on compliance-related and leadership topics.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans into something else entirely.
Produce Seamless But Separate Experiences for 30 Partner Agencies
Filice needed to convert its annual in-person “HR Leaders Compliance Summit” to a virtual event, with several speakers to deliver relevant and timely updates on compliance and policy matters, leadership themes, and California-specific issues in areas such as employment law.
Lightspeed produces virtual events for clients all the time. But Acrisure threw in a couple of twists to make the project even more challenging.
Nearly 30 other Acrisure partner agencies across the U.S. wanted to be included in the virtual sessions, with a total of nearly 3,000 invitees. While most virtual events look for ways to encourage networking among geographically dispersed attendees, this event required the opposite.
Because many Acrisure partner agencies are local competitors with each other, this virtual event would need to keep attendees completely separated. That meant customized event websites branded for individual agencies, no audience intermingling in sessions, and three different agendas (one for Felice, one for other California-based agencies, and a third for agencies outside California).
For even more of a challenge, planning began very late in the cycle giving Lightspeed only a week and a half to pull everything together, go live with websites, and send out invitations.
For the virtual event platform, Lightspeed selected Cisco WebEx Events Center, designed to handle up to 3000 attendees. We’ve used this platform to flawlessly produce many large-scale virtual events.
Because of the client’s need to keep audience members from interacting, we set up the Day One and Day Two sessions so all partner agency participants could attend but see only the speakers or panelists, not other attendees.
California-based attendees received a Day Three invitation, with sessions focused on California-specific compliance and policy issues.
Customization Embedded Into Web Design, Communications, and Event Platform
Rather than one website URL, Lightspeed created distinct URLs for each of the 28 Acrisure partner agencies participating in the virtual summit.
“We coded the variables – such as agency partner logo and one of three agenda versions – into the master event website, so attendees saw only the specific information they were meant to see based on the unique agency URL included in their invitations,” says Bryan Meyer, head of event operations at Lightspeed.
Lightspeed sent over 5000 emails for this event, including reminders, confirmations, and post-show communications, all customized to be unique to the individual partner agencies.
“This level of personalization and attention to detail helped us achieve the client’s goal to make each partner agency feel special,” Meyer says.
Acrisure turned to Lightspeed for hands-on production services, including interactive elements such as audience polling questions and music during breaks. Lightspeed also provided coaching and tips for producing a successful and seamless virtual event, and took extra behind-the-scenes steps with Cisco WebEx Event Center licensing to accommodate the large audience size.
Smashing Attendance Records and Fabulous Feedback
Attendance exceeded 80% of those invited, far outpacing the 40-50% attendance rate virtual events historically draw.
Through the post-event survey, 98% of attendees said they would attend this virtual event again. Overwhelmingly, they found the registration and process to join the live sessions easy and intuitive, the information timely and relevant, and the sessions to be a productive use of their time.
Lightspeed’s ability to create different virtual experiences for the various partner agencies allowed Acrisure’s home office to sell nearly $50,000 in sponsorships to individual partner agencies. Those agency sponsorships further customized the experiences for their attendees.
“Acrisure was not aware something like this could be done with a virtual event involving their many agency partners nationwide,” says Billy Matiernan, Director of Events at Lightspeed. “Our client was blown away by our ability to run the production for them, customize the individual attendee experience, and do it all smoothly and seamlessly.”
This was our first virtual summit for our partner agencies, and we wanted to take full advantage of the features and flexibility of a virtual event platform to make each agency feel the event was designed specifically for them. Lightspeed provided everything we needed to do that. Full registration and production services, website creation and branding customized for individual partner agencies, and an incredible attention to detail – everything came together beautifully.”