Keeping Recognition Events #Virtually the same

The Linnaeus Achievement Awards 2020

Linnaeus hit the ground running in 2019 after a period of transformation when they were acquired by Mars Petcare. Having previously worked with Top Banana on their ‘Excel Together’ conference – an event to unite their 40 practices, the company looked to Top Banana again in 2019 to help create their first rewards and recognition ceremony. The event proved a huge success, and with all good intentions, Linnaeus looked to 2020 to host a second. Little did they know, 2020 would consist of huge amounts of change and adaptation – but that was not going to stop them from celebrating the achievements of their associates, especially after the dedication so many had shown throughout the pandemic.

Kelly O’Neil, Linnaeus Events Manager comments “After everything we had been through during 2020, we knew it was more important than ever to go ahead with our awards event. 2019 was a huge success and really motivated our employees to succeed and looking back we’re so thankful that we had the event under our belt before the pandemic hit! 2020 was like nothing we had experienced before, and our staff’s dedication and ability to adapt over that period had to be recognised. The format was going to be different to 2019, but the sentiment of thanks was the same – if not more! It was vital that we made sure people felt motivated after the year they had just had and knew that we as a business recognised their dedication”.

So, with careful planning and consideration, Top Banana took the event online and created an entertaining and engaging virtual awards ceremony that celebrated their people, their passion and their survival throughout 2020.

The entire production was recorded remotely and in advance of the event day, with footage seamlessly edited together into a 2-hour sequence to give the impression of a live broadcast. Streamed via Top Banana’s Event Arena Live platform, delegates engaged through our latest feature – the Top Banana Remote Control, allowing attendees to interact and engage from their mobile device whilst watching on their computer or smart TV with the ability to comment, share emoji reactions and give live feedback.

With 6 awards to hand out and over 500 attendees to entertain it was important to create a balance that engaged the whole audience. A 30-minute DJ set counted down to the start of the live event, made up of songs curated from attendees’ submissions upon registration. A further 10-minute set acted as a mid-event interlude along with a closing set to round off the party at the end of the night in true ‘kitchen disco’ style.

As a special touch, 2020 Britain’s Got Talent winner, Jon Courtenay was commissioned to write and perform a bespoke song themed around Linnaeus which was met with a great reaction from the audience. Another unique element to bring the content to life was when we revealed of the overall winner in the final event category using a speed painter, who was recorded and edited in such a way that it was not possible to tell who the painting was of until the end of the sequence. Not only did the artwork game keep delegates on their toes throughout the evening, but this awesome one-off piece of artwork was also then given to the winner to hang in their home as a special momentum.

The overall results from the event were fantastic, with 500 viewers of the awards ceremony, over 25,000 emoji reactions and 994 viewer comments – the award ceremony was a hit with both the audience and the client, ‘there was a seamless partnership between the team from Top Banana and Linnaeus, together we worked so hard to bring this event to life and with a large number of delegates to keep entertained it was no easy task. However, the clever ideas the team came up with to engage our workforce meant everyone felt energised and in the mood to celebrate, despite not being together. The pre-recorded content could have fooled any of us for being a live stream and the way it was edited, coupled with the remote control for live interaction made it feel like we were watching a TV show style awards ceremony – we can’t wait for 2021’s event!’ Kelly O’Neil, Linnaeus Events Manager.

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