Digital Experience at Awards International: What We Learned This Year
At Awards International, we always aim to practice what we preach. Our events recognise many different aspects of business excellence, and our customers rightly expect that we achieve a high standard in those areas ourselves.
After the year we’ve had, we empathise with our customers more than ever when it comes to the digital experience – because we’ve been on a remarkable digital transformation of our own!
Back in March 2020, we held our last live event in the UK. This was just before the announcement of the national lockdown, but everyone there was acutely aware of how fast the virus was spreading. Sure enough, a few weeks after that, all our employees were working from home and we were considering our options in a gathering-free world.
Whilst other awards organisers sought to defer or rearrange live events, our CEO, Neil Skehel, was quick to realise that a digital-first strategy was our best option by far. And so, within just a few months, we had to shift our awards strategy towards virtual events completely.
That meant a lot of retraining! Every Dream Team member has had to learn new skills, such as being a Room Administrator in a virtual category room. And we needed to work together better than ever before to deliver our first LIVE Online event in May 2020. But I’m glad to say that we rose to the challenge and, over the past year, we’ve enjoyed some extraordinary events.
As time has gone by, we’ve come to appreciate the advantages of an online approach. Compared to a live event, it’s far easier to welcome people from multiple countries to join in the competition. So, forthis year’s Digital Experience Awards, we decided to go international and welcome entries from all over the world!
We’ve also spent this year improving our digital products and services, particularly our bespoke Awards Manager application. This app helps our customers stay connected during and after the Awards Finals, and dramatically enhances their networking experience on the day.
As our appreciation of how technology connects people across borders has grown, we’ve also been organising a series of online networking meetings. In just an hour, without leaving their office, professionals have been able to hear from award-winning companies, ask any questions they might have and meet a host of like-minded practitioners. These meetings are so effective at bringing people together that we’re going to keep them in place long after the pandemic has finished.
When our live events do return, they’re going to benefit so much from the lessons we’ve learned in the last twelve months. Our customers will be able to enjoy all the human connection of an in-person awards programme, but with everything supported by seamless digital infrastructure.
This hybrid approach is what we’ll be pursuing in the years to come, and we’re grateful for having had the opportunity to enhance our digital offering. Now, we can’t wait to hear how companies around the globe have been doing the same!