Go bigger and bolder with the BizBash Buzz.
The BizBash Buzz newsletter delivers inspiration, innovative ideas, and expert insight to event profs around the world.
Subscribe now!

Most Innovative Meetings 2021: Pure Storage SKO

The tech company’s immersive virtual conference included a vibrant, illustrated galaxy with five themed islands, plus a physical mailer complete with a custom comic book and other family-friendly details.

Screen Shot 2021 07 19 At 2 01 20 Pm
Photo: Courtesy of Blueprint Studios

The Basics: Shortly before the pandemic hit, technology company Pure Storage hosted a three-day, in-person event that used creative, experiential tactics to introduce the brand’s newest products and revitalize enthusiasm for the company, with the goal of turning everyday employees into brand evangelists. So when COVID-19 made it clear a similar gathering couldn’t take place in 2021, Edward Perotti, Pure Storage’s director of global field events, turned to a large team of partners to build an immersive virtual experience that matched attendees' now-high expectations.

The resulting event, which took place on March 23, 2021, with an “Islands of Innovation” theme, was a collaboration between Perotti and partners Streamlinevents, Blueprint StudiosThe Marlowe-Pugnetti Company Inc. and MeetingPlay. The fully customized, digital employee engagement experience drew more than 2,200 global guests.Screen Shot 2021 07 16 At 11 18 16 AmPhoto: Courtesy of Blueprint Studios

Steal-Worthy Innovations: The island theme was brought to life through a custom, animated illustration set within a vibrant galaxy, with each island serving as a landing point from which to navigate. The theme of each area was chosen to represent a core value within the company’s culture: persistence, creativity, teamwork, ownership and customer-first.

“We sketched and cultivated concepts from every facet of our collective experiences and obsessions, all in effort to create something fun, engaging and memorable,” explained Rebecca Cowlin, creative director of Streamlinevents.

To further build engagement, all attendees received a physical mailer including an event collateral comic book called SKO-Panion. It was filled with information about the event, along with family-friendly activities like crossword puzzles, stickers and coloring pages, all tucked between sponsor ads, helpful hints and agenda notes, speaker highlights and more. The event also had its own mascot called Hex, a cartoon Shiba Inu that organizers say will continue to make appearances at the company's in-person gatherings.

Those kid-friendly elements were intentional, noted Perotti. “We needed to provide attendees with a variety of tools that would keep them engaged, but we also needed to be considerate of what their at-home life might be during the conference.”Screen Shot 2021 07 19 At 2 04 20 PmPhoto: Courtesy of Blueprint Studios

Lessons Learned: Shannon Gurley, Blueprint Studios’ senior director of design and business development, noted that through collaborative thinking, the team was able to break out of the mold of traditional virtual events. “We set a new precedent for our industry while providing an engaging, emotional experience akin to a live event,” she explained.

Perotti added that the team approached the event with “no fear,” a lesson they’ll carry into the future. “Don’t be afraid to try new things—and be willing to fail, but also be ready to fly,” he said. “Our industry is filled with events that have a ‘rinse and repeat’ feel to them, so if you want to be disruptive, you need to let go of your fear and try new things.”Screen Shot 2021 07 19 At 2 03 43 PmPhoto: Courtesy of Blueprint Studios

Back to the list

BizBash's 10 Most Innovative Meetings 2021 is sponsored by Bevy, a community event engine fueling virtual, hybrid and in-person events.

Page 1 of 14
Next Page