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We Are Phoenix

Learn how Phoenix expanded their virtual event potential with the help of Cvent solutions.

Katherine Bishop, Co-Founder of We Are Phoenix

The Virtual Potential

Before the pandemic, Phoenix purely handled in-person events and saw no real demand for virtual events from their clients. Things changed in a big way in terms of how they ran their business after the onset of the pandemic in 2020. 

All of our live events were all cancelled, so we had a full schedule of events that all just completely stopped. So, our sort of pivot into the virtual event space was partly a survival tactic. To continue running a business and still be able to employ our team, we decided to run our own virtual events,” says Katherine Bishop, Co-Founder and Managing Director at We Are Phoenix.

On its fifth birthday, Phoenix hosted a simple virtual party and invited all their key customers, long-term suppliers and contacts from their entertainment network. Through the party, Phoenix was able to show their clients what was possible in the virtual space in terms of engagement and entertainment. Instead of it being just another online conference call (which was the experience most of their clients were familiar with) Phoenix was able to deliver an uplifting experience in a virtual setting. 

That virtual party was what really lifted the lid of our client's imagination. So, we got quite a bit of virtual event requests due to that,” says Katherine. From then on, Phoenix began to get enquiries from customers who wanted to host their internal sales kick-off, academic conference, business summit, or other such events in the virtual format. They soon realised that their clients didn’t really know how to handle the technical aspects of executing a virtual event. Explains Katherine, “There was that requirement to have someone to manage the technical production of their events. This is the same in the live event world as well, but it’s usually the venue that handles that part. Whereas with a virtual event, our clients didn’t have the technical capabilities in-house and usually their IT team didn’t either. So we had to step in and take over.

Phoenix also felt they would have the step up their virtual game if they wanted to deliver a superior experience. “We were all in a lockdown and working from home, so the Zoom fatigue was setting in strong. And our clients didn’t want their audience to sit in front of the computer all day, feeling disengaged, and not actually consuming the content. They were really looking to us to provide a professional and engaging experience, basically a different experience of a virtual event. They didn’t want another webinar – they wanted a professional emcee, they wanted entertainment, they wanted interactivity, they wanted games, they wanted humour, etc. So, that’s where our skill as a sort of creative event agency really came into play. Because we effectively did the same thing that we would do for a live conference, in terms of offering a higher production value and having a range of different things for the audience to experience during the event. We just looked at how we could deliver all of that over a virtual setting.

The Full Cvent Experience

Phoenix had used other event tech solutions prior to Cvent but with the rise of a new event format, new functionalities were needed, and their event solutions had to deliver accordingly. This is when Cvent came into the picture, as it allowed Phoenix to really deliver an amazing experience and get creative with their customers’ needs. 

Says Katherine, “We came upon Cvent in Jan 2020 when the University of Melbourne approached us about running a new academic conference for their communications division, ANZCA. They needed an abstract management piece to the puzzle, and obviously, Cvent was really strong in that respect. And that’s effectively why we leaned towards working with Cvent. Phoenix soon found that Cvent had the ability to not just help with the abstract management and the speaker management but also do the registration, sponsor booth, and engagement piece, as well as act as a virtual hosting platform. That was when they realised Cvent was a great choice with all these capabilities. Katherine adds, “We did another three-day internal conference which was fantastic to host on Cvent – because it was great to have the capabilities to include sponsor booths and coffee & networking sessions into the virtual event, as well as the live stream delivery on Attendee Hub.

And then because we had the licence, and because our team had invested in learning and coming up to speed with how to use the platform, we just kept using Cvent for all the different enquiries we had coming up,” exclaims Katherine.

A Feature-Rich Solution

Phoenix’s relationship and usage of Cvent evolved with time, partly because it was a volatile market, and they were getting all sorts of enquiries from clients for virtual events. Says Katherine, “There were certain clients that were interested in the platform primarily because of the security features. They really wanted a two-factor authentication process because they were launching confidential new products during the event, so they didn’t want security to be an issue for them.

One thing that the Phoenix team loved was the ability to white label the platform to make it look like the client’s website effectively. Phoenix had tried their hand with other virtual event tech solutions, but they soon realised those tools could not offer the branding customisation they needed. “That was crucial for our clients in all cases. Cvent enabled us to do a high degree of customisation of the look and feel in terms of colour palettes, fonts, and other branding elements. It was essential for us to be able to give the client that plug and play experience – like it was their own website – even though really it was the Cvent platform.

Phoenix also found Cvent’s seamless integration with Zoom very handy. According to Richard Fetherston, who is a Technical Director at Phoenix, “The Zoom integration worked very well for us, particularly for our Michelin campaign. The client enjoyed being able to have the approachability of a presenter and be on a call with the key people involved – all the while maintaining a professional look on the client website for the end-user.” He adds, “Having that Zoom integration really made it easy for us to get a professional look. From a technical perspective, I think I enjoyed the flexibility that Cvent gave us because we were able to cut between webcams and shots to be able to present that.

Richard also saw the responsiveness of the video player as a real plus. “Having locally-based streaming servers made it really easy for our clients to access video on demand, without having to wait for their videos to buffer for sort of 20 seconds before it loaded. In Australia, the internet is pretty varied —for some people, it runs pretty well, while for others it’s not the best experience. So, I think, having these localised servers really helps.” Richard further adds, “We did this large event for Parks Victoria that had a lot of people from all over the state. Some were from rural areas, accessing content we were hosting on Cvent. The event went off without a hitch in terms of them being able to tune into the stream and us not having to troubleshoot – which would have added more time on to us and more stress as well.

Phoenix also got a few enquiries from clients who were particular about the reporting. Katherine lays out a few examples, “LiveTiles did this event called ‘Let's Connect with Simon Sinek’ that was hosted across three time zones and had over 10,000 attendees. So naturally, they were very fixated on the reporting. Michelin also had specific reporting requirements. They were quite interested in the behaviour of the users on the platform, in terms of how they interacted on it. They even held contests that involved people going and consuming all the different content that was housed on the Cvent platform. They were interested in the on-site behavioural stuff. Michelin also tried out the appointment booking feature on Cvent, as they were very focused on lead generation. So yeah, different clients have different perspectives, so I think that’s been great that we were able to accommodate such different requests from a data and reporting point of view.

A Great Choice

Today, Phoenix uses Cvent extensively for hosting their virtual events, and with the return of physical events, is also leveraging the platform to handle in-person event tasks. “We’ve hosted quite a few successful events on the Cvent platform – some pretty major Australian clients (Australia Post, Michelin, Kellogg’s, University of Melbourne, LiveTiles, Parks Victoria) as well as some significant blue-chip companies do events via the Cvent platform,” exclaims Katherine. 

The Phoenix team notes their clients now believe a comprehensive platform like Cvent is a vital tool for carrying out virtual events. “Having a virtual event platform is almost a hygiene factor in some ways, for some of our clients – in terms of wanting it to be secure, wanting it to look professional, wanting it to be user friendly. Obviously, Cvent has provided all of that to us. It’s been a great choice for us,” gushes Katherine.

Phoenix plans to continue its relationship with Cvent and explore other solutions to support in-person and hybrid events as well. “I worked at an exhibition last year where we used the Cvent LeadCapture scanning system. I think it worked really well! I can definitely see there’s potential to expand our usage and we’re very keen to explore new solutions and new functionality from Cvent.