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Keeping the Audience Stoked: First Ever Virtual Surf Park Summit Makes a Big Splash

Surf Park Summit 2020
October 1-2, 2020

The Event

  • 2 days and 20 panels
  • 87 world-class presenters
  • 26 featured partners and sponsors

The Success

  • 1,500 page views and counting
  • 1,578 product clicks
  • 434 unique custom registrations

The challenge

Convert a longstanding in-person summit into a high-energy, action-packed virtual event

The solution

A technically seamless experience, along with a virtual environment that mirrored the IRL summit, supported by Brandlive’s expert production team

The impact

An immersive, on-brand experience more exciting than a Netflix binge

Making waves—virtually 

Surf Park Central (SPC) is the comprehensive hub for news, information, and resources about surf parks, surf pools, and wave tech around the world. Their annual summit gathers top industry minds to promote authentic, sustainable, and profitable experiences to grow the surf industry. 

In October 2020, SPC moved to virtual for the first time since the initial 2013 summit. After reviewing 25 virtual events competitors, the SPC team decided to partner with Brandlive for a two-day event made up of 20 panels—and featuring Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple; Ian Calderone, the first millennial elected to California State Legislature; and pro surfers from around the globe.

Brandlive on the board 

Choosing Brandlive gave the SPC team a totally customizable, easy-to-use platform—plus expert support and partnership—so they could focus on what they do best: putting together an epic lineup of talent and programming.

Challenges solved 

  1. Making a virtual event come alive.
    The key differentiating factor for SPC’s virtual summit was how well it mimicked the layout of a live summit in a digital environment.The Brandlive team put 26 virtual vendor booths on a single library page to form the event’s home page. Then, each of the 26 virtual booths got its own event page. Guests clicked on a logo to visit a booth, where they were immersed in unique branding, video, feature sets, and product links. When guests visited a booth, partners got product click-throughs and collected audience feedback from the chat feature.
  2. Support for simple and seamless tech.
    Partnering with the Brandlive team was crucial to smooth sailing. Chris Kluesener, Partner at SPC, explained, The Brandlive support team helped us hash out the technical details. This was a key element for us, to have a true partner who would lean in and help, instead of just a platform. We also loved the user interface and seamless experience throughout the event.”
  3. A broadcast-worthy, totally branded experience.
    SPC wanted something far beyond another online meeting for their guests. Kluesener noted that “A key consideration for us was to make the event feel less like a virtual conference and more like Netflix. We really wanted to move away from a pure conference experience and instead create more of a live-stream content series. We were able to execute that on Brandlive seamlessly. We also wanted to brand the entire experience to look just like us, which Brandlive delivered on.”

A key consideration for us was to make the event feel less like a virtual conference and more like Netflix. We really wanted to move away from a pure conference experience and instead create more of a live-stream content series. We were able to execute that on Brandlive seamlessly.

-Chris Kluesener, Partner, Surf Park Central
Virtual Surfing Summit Hosted On Brandlive Platform
The event was customized to match SPC’s brand identity

Big wins

  1. Captivating talent.
    The 26 total agenda items over two days made for one of the most entertaining summits since 2013. World champion surfer Shaun Tomson opened with Welcome Remarks, describing how he met Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple and current author and marketing specialist, at an Apple store. After this chance meeting, Shaun gave him surf lessons, and Kawasaki was hooked.After his Tomspn’s introduction, Kawasaki shared his wisdom in his How to Evangelize Surf Parks presentation, saying “Besides being Shaun Tomson’s friend, which is—that’s good enough! But besides that, I worked in the Macintosh division of Apple and became Apple’s Chief Evangelist.”
  2. On-demand action.
    SPC made sure the waves kept rolling after the live summit. Kluesener said, We wanted to ensure as many people participated after the live event as during—that’s been the case with the Brandlive platform. It made our live event, the pre-work, and the on-demand recording access all seamless. We did a simulcast on FuelTV’s YouTube page to boost total views, and we found a 120% increase in total number of views with that—which was totally seamless, again using Brandlive. “ On-demand views continue to climb due to the Surf Park Summit commercial, which was shared widely among surf enthusiasts.
  3. A wave of valuable data. 
    The SPC team appreciated the data from the Brandlive dashboard. Kluesener said, “The analytics, especially regarding on-demand views, are interesting to watch. For example, lunchtime drop-off or times of day people watch.”The virtual booths also yielded rich post-event analytics. “We’ve spent a lot of time reviewing the data on the virtual booths set up by our sponsors. This helps us understand how guests participated in a virtual conference,” Kluesener explained
  4. Hanging ten into the digital future.
    With the success of their first digital summit, Kluesener said that 2021 will feature a higher frequency of virtual events. “We expect several of next year’s events to be virtual. It’s become a huge part of our toolkit now.”

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