Brella @ Brella Kickoff

This is how we created our own inspiring internal event

Are you planning your next internal event and need some guidance?

You’ve come to the right place! 

Twice a year, Brella hosts a company-wide internal event dedicated to its employees: Brella Kickoff. The purpose of this event is to nurture team bonding and company growth in a laid-back environment where knowledge, cooperation, and laughter unite. 

The goals

Brella Kickoff 2022 Winter Edition was hosted virtually, and the chosen organizing team was made of four Brellaneers respectively from the Marketing, Sales, Dev, and Customer Success departments. 

The theme of the event was collaboration, and the main sessions were therefore tailored around it. Of course, Brella Kickoff also had to reflect the true Brella spirit, so fun activities and plenty of networking time were a must.

This is how Brella’s Customer Success Manager, Valentina Voronova, who was part of the organizing team, summarized the main goal: 

  • Engage, motivate, and connect Brellaneers across Finland and the USA with an immersive virtual event. 

The premise was surely exciting, but organizing a company-wide event in conjunction with their busy working schedule wasn’t easy for a team of four. The event planning had to be methodical and time-effective.

Planning an internal event

The planning of Brella Kickoff included: 

  • Streaming tools, 
  • A tailored agenda to reflect the Kickoff’s theme as well as Brella’s essence, 
  • Building the virtual event in the platform,
  • Training with speakers for the sessions,
  • Planning of goodie bags to be sent to all participants in advance, 
  • A communication strategy to inform the participants and build momentum in preparation for the event,
  • Balancing the info-packed event agenda with virtual fun activities.

A lot to do in a limited amount of time, but this is how the organizing team pulled it off!

Streaming tools 

Virtual events are all about the content, and that’s the first big item the organizing team tackled. 

With her extensive portfolio in the event industry, Valentina knows different types of content call for different streaming media and tools.

That’s why the organizing team made the decision of hosting the info-packed content via live speaker sessions, while the more interactive activities (e.g. workshops, AMA sessions, and games) were held in Brella’s breakout rooms.

To host the live speaker sessions, the organizing team required ready-to-use tools for quality streaming. After considering different solutions, they opted for a combination of ReStream and YouTube. 

"When you don't rely on a professional AV company, live streaming needs to be carefully planned and tested. Restream, YouTube, and Vimeo are great tools I warmly recommend," Valentina said. 

The interactive parts of the agenda were hosted in Brella’s breakout rooms. This was the best way to foster attendee interaction virtually and in real-time

All Brellaneers could access the breakout rooms in one click and have engaging interactions both with the speakers and amongst themselves thanks to the live chat and live reactions instantly visible to the speakers. 

"Brella's breakout rooms helped us offer diverse and interactive content." - Valentina Voronova, CSM at Brella

The event agenda

Engaging content won’t be effective if you keep your audience staring at a screen for several hours listening to speaker session after speaker session. 

Zoom fatigue is real, and the first thing the Kickoff organizing team did was to schedule regular short breaks between sessions. 

Once the breaks were in place, the rest of the content was scheduled with deliberation, with longer speakers sessions in the morning, and more interactive and fun content later in the day.

The first networking session was right after lunch; workshops, AMA sessions, and other interactive activities (like a 15-minute mobility session hosted in a designated breakout room) were held in the afternoon. Finally, the Kickoff ended with a virtual escape room challenge, one of the many activities to enhance team bonding.

This strategy worked wonders for engagement! 

The virtual event platform

Once the streaming tools and the event agenda were taken care of, it was finally time to build the event in Brella.

The organizing team took good care of transferring their vision of Brella Kickoff into the event platform. They were able to bring their engaging agenda to life by creating different breakout rooms, matchmaking categories for intent-based networking, and making full use of Brella’s customization tools

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For instance, they renamed the platform’s tabs to fully reflect the event, the people tab was updated to Brellaneers, and the schedule was renamed Kickoff Agenda

A little touch of personalization makes all the difference! 

"Customization helped us build a unique space aligned with Brella’s branding look and feel." - Valentina Voronova, CSM at Brella 

Screenshot 2022-02-21 at 11.09.11

With Brella, you can customize the name of each tab and reorder them.

Networking and matchmaking

Since 2016, Brella has created tens of thousands of intent-based connections, and Brella’s biannual Kickoffs aren’t an exception.

The matchmaking categories were designed as conversation starters and based on the stats from the previous Kickoffs hosted on Brella.

AI-matchmaking is Valentina’s bread and butter and, evaluating the matchmaking performance of the previous years, she could tell what categories were worth keeping and what categories should be updated. 

Alongside matchmaking categories, the organizing team had to create a networking strategy to optimize connections. 

During the previous Kickoffs, the networking included speed sessions of 5 minutes each. However, the organizing team decided to exchange quantity for quality and increased that time to 10 minutes. This way, they still kept the 1:1 meeting count high but also offered more time to socialize and create new meaningful connections. 

Attendee engagement

Wondering how to keep your employees not only focused but also engaged virtually for 8+ hours straight?

This is how the Kickoff organizing team did it!

The virtual event platform was the venue of Brella Kickoff and it had to ensure a fun and pleasant stay. The organizing team hid several little surprises in the event platform (like videos and games inside the breakout rooms) and invited the participants to find them.

They also leveraged Brella’s push notifications to make sure everyone could read important reminders and be updated in real-time if anything concerning the event agenda changed. 

Last but not least, the organizing team knew that attendee pre-engagement is also crucial, so they planned an event communication strategy to boost it (the messages were regularly posted in the company’s Slack so that all employees could read them). 

The communication strategy was also designed to make sure everyone would join the platform in advance and start scheduling their 1:1 meetings. 

The results

After the Kickoff, the organizing team used Brella’s analytics to evaluate the performance of the event and provide prizes to the top networkers.

All in all, Brella Kickoff 2022 Winter Edition scored an unbelievable 100% meeting acceptance rate, and the meeting slots run out faster than ever with 87% of meetings requested prior to the event.

Over 150 1:1 meetings happened in only one hour, and 300+ chat messages were exchanged.  

“After all the work we put into organizing the event, it was a pleasure to receive so much positive feedback and see so many amazing numbers! This confirms we did many things right, and that everyone had a good time at Brella Kickoff!”, Valentina has commented.

And here's what our great employees had to say about the event: 

  • "The program was very interesting and inspiring. Lots of good sessions and networking plus some exercise & games. Just perfect!"
  • "It was great to see the energy and get together with all the Brellaneers. The event was built super nicely and it was very engaging!"
  • "I loved how active the chat was! Also, I loved the spirit of the whole event in general and I loved networking with colleagues I hadn't spoken to before."

In conclusion

Internal events can be challenging to plan but if done right, they are extremely rewarding!

If you’re planning your next internal event we hope this article gave you some useful insights on how to deliver a fully engaging experience in the spirit of your company.

Of course, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all with internal events, but we’re here to help you find the best solution. Schedule a free consultation call with our event experts and let’s bring your next internal event to life! 

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