The Evolution of the AFA Hybrid Conference - Evolve 2021
EVOLVE 2021 allowed for a truly hybrid approach that brought together both the benefits of virtual conferencing with face-to-face social networking.
Another year producing the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA’s) now hybrid conference done and dusted, and what an experience it was.
Last years’ unique circumstances offered the AFA and Because the opportunity to rethink their annual conference approach. We took the traditional 3-day live event and turned it into a virtual event like no other. Through a live conference stream and an on-demand content hub, delegates were able to watch industry leaders present exclusive talks, visit sponsor expo booths, while engaging with speakers and other delegates through live chat and Q&A, all in their own time -while wearing trackpants.
The on-demand centre was essentially an AFAflix – a fully customised content library of financial resources, which all counted towards professional development hours It was also accessible to delegates for four months post the conference.
This year, Australia’s ever-changing lockdowns and restrictions that varied across each state gave us the opportunity to once again evolve – a global theme over the past year, and a fitting theme, we thought, for the AFA Conference - EVOLVE 2021.
EVOLVE 2021 allowed for a truly hybrid approach that brought together both the benefits of virtual conferencing with the face-to-face social networking and interactive essence of the traditional format. This year we implemented:
1. A SHINY AND NEW cPD HUB.
We chose to hone into the underlying purpose and key incentive for delegates to attend the conference, which is to gain their professional development hours and promptly receive recognition for their participation. So, we introduced a new CPD hub that gave the AFA full detailed visibility of delegate attendance and progress by tracking the different video modules. When a delegate had completed a video, they could instantly download their certificates after the conference.
2. IN-PERSON NETWORKING EVENTS.
For states that managed to dodge lockdowns, the AFA hosted face-to-face networking events at the end of each day for delegates to catch up and discuss the conference content, making this a truly hybrid event.
3. SPONSORSHIP EXHIBITIONS WITH SWAG.
This year we replicated a fully branded lobby and expo hall that allowed for a format that mimicked what you would see IRL – a far cry from last year’s simple (yet effective) webpages that presented sponsor assets to view and download.
Wrapping things up...
As always, after a big job like this, we are exhausted, but proud, inspired and totally pumped for the next one. We thrive on the challenges the constant changing state of the world poses to us. Yes, it can be tough, but it has helped us evolve as an agency, and broaden the depth of our experience in all areas of the work we do. The benefits of virtual tracking, recording and longevity are now an integral piece of the conferencing pie that surpasses geographic limitations and allows for increased flexibility for all involved. But we’re all still craving RL human interaction, and so next year’s AFA conference will no doubt evolve once again. We’re excited to see how far we, together with the AFA team, can push the immersive hybrid experience for the delegates who attend. Here’s to 2022!
With a background in travel marketing, I enjoy the diverse and collaborative nature of working in a creative agency. My love for live and virtual events continues on weekends (excluding during C19 of course), as you’ll often find me at a music gig, comedy show or art exhibition.