My work in wealth management marketing and as a speaker at the global industry events has brought me to many exciting places – from Hong Kong to Paris to South Africa, and many more in between. But my most recent global feat happened right in my home office.
It all started months ago with dreams of a French chateau …
Let me explain. My firm The Rudin Group was working with Capgemini to plan the global event marking the release of Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2020. The event originally was intended to take place at a French chateau. Brooke Worden, The Rudin Group’s recently appointed president, and I even had our outfits planned.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
Like many conferences across the globe, Capgemini’s World Wealth Report event had to be moved from in-person to virtual. Instead of discussing the state of the wealth management industry in a chateau, participants would be discussing it on LinkedIn Live. As we prepared for the new event – which was the first entirely virtual event of its size that we, at The Rudin Group, had done – the next few months were a flurry of activity. We had prepared many in-person conferences but moving this event online required new skills, such as video editing, that Brooke and I didn’t have experience in . . .
So we brought in people who did – people like Scott Wenger, who served as executive producer of the 2020 Capgemini World Wealth Report virtual event and had extensive experience in live business television, and Amir Akhundzadeh, who worked as director/editor of the event and had a decade of experience in FinTech. I’m happy to say that the resulting event – broadcast on July 9, the same day that the World Wealth Report 2020 was released – was a resounding success.
To look back at the process of moving the global event online, I gathered the dream team once again. Given that this virtual event is likely a harbinger of things to come, here are our key takeaways:
· Put together a small, highly skilled team: You want a team that has enough people with diverse skills to get the job done, but that is also small enough to be nimble. If that sounds familiar, it’s likely because Dipti Kachru, J.P. Morgan’s Chief Marketing Officer, U.S. Wealth Management, gave similar guidance based on J.P. Morgan’s experience producing a wealth management TV spot in fewer than 10 days. You can read more about the TV spot and Kachru’s account of the process in one of my earlier Forbes blogs.
· Determine what your priorities are: Early on, The Rudin Group and Capgemini had to decide what had to be prioritized to make the 2020 Capgemini World Wealth Report virtual event a success. Scott says he knew that “it was paramount that we bring together top-shelf names in wealth management and use the virtual platform to our advantage.” “We prioritized creating a global, multicultural program that offered actionable takeaways and valuable insights by analyzing key findings in the World Wealth Report,” he adds.
· Combine careful, cautious planning with flexibility: Putting together those top-shelf names into one event would be challenging enough in the best of times; doing it during a pandemic took the challenge to a whole new level. As Scott says, “Having worked in live business television at both CNN and CNBC, I knew it would be challenging — but exhilarating — to bring together prominent experts from seven different countries and six U.S. states, but careful, cautious planning and flexibility steered us well.”
· Great partnerships and solid research are crucial for virtual events, just as they are for in-person ones. We at The Rudin Group are so honored that Capgemini entrusted us with co-producing this event. Of course, the solid research and analytics that went into Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2020 made this entire event possible.
· Virtual events are likely here to stay – and, with them, comes many opportunities for firms and the wealth management industry as a whole. Along with the challenges that the pandemic and #workingfromhome brought us, the virtual nature of the event also had many advantages, such as reaching a wider audience than in-person conferences generally do. As Amir explains, “This event really showcased the power of new tech platforms. Gathering 30-plus people from around the globe for an event would have required a massive effort and significant cost for airfare, hotels, etc. With LinkedIn Live, we were able to both have panelists from around the world and broadcast to a global audience.”
Scott, too, notes the power of the virtual platform. “Among the elements of the program we were most proud of were several ‘connectivity’ segments we programmed, allowing panelists, moderators and viewers to all connect in real time during the virtual event. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, that helped make the event feel as close to an in-person conference as possible.”
And so, although I regret not having spent July in France, I am honored to have been part of a global virtual event that represents the future of wealth management. Plus, we’ll always have (virtual) Paris!