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News October 06, 2020

Life is too short to host boring events

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If we can’t bring Depsters to our annual Dept festival, we’re going to bring the festival to our Depsters. That’s what we thought when discussing our plans for the yearly company event. Over 3,000 people joined our annual Dept festival in Amsterdam last year, and all ‘Depsters’ (the people who work at Dept), stayed for a full weekend of team building, strategy sessions, inspiration and fun.

“In a world that stays at home, we had to rethink our flagship event,” says Dimi Albers, CEO of Dept. “We are totally aware that Depsters are experiencing fatigue with back-to-back online calls. So we decided to create that next level virtual event experience that we’re all looking for. Energising, crazy and personal. Because we all know how difficult it is to truly connect and make an impact. It’s cool to hear that we even convinced the sceptics amongst us and that, sometimes, three Zoom hours can actually feel like three minutes.”

We combined existing technologies such as Zoom, Slack and Vimeo, with the build of a custom made, interactive, 3D festival map protected by single sign-on. We squeezed 15 stages and 35+ short and snappy presentations into a 3-hour event, and invited some industry heroes like Stefan Sagmeister and Gmunk to join our virtual reality. A personal welcome movie by our CEO and Dept stage hosts made everyone feel welcome. With the help of Slack and ‘social reporters’, people knew what was going on all the virtual stages, creating a healthy amount of event FOMO, before and after the event.

Just as for the offline edition, we looked for the right balance between content and fun. Virtual meditation, magicians and karaoke were combined with ‘Easter eggs’ to the 10 most famous internet cat movies, and a crazy Zoom background contest. The virtual Photo Booth generated a live photo wall, and in all 13 countries Depsters got the opportunity to have food delivered to their doorsteps after a visit to the digital food truck.

“It’s a mix of content and fun, unexpected interaction and a next-level 3D experience,” says Max Pinas, Creative Director at Dept. “We translated all offline ingredients into an online event concept that can easily be translated into other organisations. It’s a safe, engaging and future-proof solution that will help our clients to connect with their employees. Just by combining live streaming with 3D technology and a good amount of creativity and data.”

We are excited to share tips on how to bring virtual events to life with the help of technology and are already in contact with several clients to help utilise this digital event solution for their own business. Because, in the end, life is too short to host boring events.

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