Bringing to Life Verizon’s Virtual Incentive Program Through a Screen
How do you take what was intended to be a trip across the globe and turn it into an immersive virtual incentive program with A-list entertainment and a red-carpet feel for 550 people? You reach out to Bishop-McCann, of course! That’s exactly what the Verizon Business Group did when faced with the challenge of making their 2021 incentive program a virtual event. Read on to learn how we executed this 2021 Best Recognition Program in the Motivation Masters Awards by Incentive Magazine.
Since 2012, Bishop-McCann has worked with Verizon to create dazzling live events that attendees remember for years to come. While familiar with the company, the client and group were new to us. Nevertheless, Verizon turned to Bishop-McCann to navigate the unknown status of events and provide a new type of competition and incentive prize that would keep employees motivated during a year that was operating outside of the norm. Bishop-McCann faced the challenge of creating an event that was unforgettable for their guests—without interacting with them in person.
In the initial communications with Verizon, we discovered that they were looking for a virtual incentive program for their business group’s top producers in the B2B sales arena and that they had recently cancelled their planned incentive trip. The new virtual event was to take place on two days for two hours each day—one event for their North American group and one for their international group.
For this event, the biggest challenge was obvious: going virtual. We needed to find a way to make winners feel honored for their above and beyond efforts but also feel special in a virtual environment. Without face-to-face interactions with leadership and peers, this was definitely an obstacle. To overcome this challenge, Verizon was ready to roll out the red carpet with an immersive virtual experience complete with A-list entertainment. They wanted to appreciate their winners from afar, and while this was not a replacement for a traditional, traveled incentive program, it was a recognition and celebration nonetheless.
To kick off the planning process, our team met with key stakeholders to understand their goals and objectives, worked with their internal planning team to create a proposal, and presented our ideas to the client. Our team strategically approached the structure and entertainment portion of the recognition program. We wanted to provide recognition for each individual while also keeping everyone engaged for the duration of the program. Verizon was already doing a wide variety of virtual entertainment shared publicly on social media with their consumers, so we knew we wanted to do something different for the winners. Most importantly, it had to be something that would recognize their employees during one of their most challenging years.
The team landed on offering the winners an opportunity to choose a master class led by an industry powerhouse. Verizon selected Daymond John, a businessman, investor on Shark Tank, and founder of FUBU to lead the entrepreneurial master class. José Andrés, a creative innovator, founder of World Central Kitchen, and the chef credited with bringing the small-plate dining concept to America led the culinary master class. Additionally, members of the Verizon communications team participated in a virtual magic show with Justin Willman. Their excitement and awe of the different tricks added a layer of fun and JOY to the show opener.
One of the most captivating features was a 3D animation, which opened the show that took guests from the racetrack to an Oscar-like theater and red-carpet event. Even the scripting for the celebrity hosts (Mark Jeffries and Jamie Gwen), presenters, and entertainment included language that connected to the racing theme.
Our team also utilized various components to immerse attendees in the event’s agenda. As an opportunity for event-day engagement, a chat feature was built into the website to encourage an interactive atmosphere. This atmosphere was enhanced when winners were given the spotlight as their names were announced and their photos were shown on screen. In addition, different types of visuals were created to keep attendees engaged while sound effects and high energy music were played to give a celebratory feel to the festivities. To add a personal touch and special interaction, top executives addressed the group and remarked on the successes, hard work, and perseverance of the winners.
We didn’t stop there! Even before the program began, we wanted attendees to get a feel for the event by creating a video teaser, including racing elements to encompass the overall theme. These elements were used consistently throughout the customized website and all graphics. In addition to creating an immersive environment, we took steps to ensure this was an engaging, memorable program. With their selection of the master class, we provided attendees with a corresponding gift. For example, winners that selected José Andrés were given a cookbook authored by Andrés, cooking utensils, recipe cards, cutting boards, and aprons, along with a Stream TV to watch on a larger screen in their home.
Big name entertainment with customized presentations for the client, motion graphics bringing the event to life, and an individualized moment for each winner in the spotlight—all of these elements made for a spectacular Verizon virtual incentive program. Because of our collaborative and supportive team, all of the incentive program’s aspects were successfully executed. Virtual components included website development and design, registration, attendee management, gifting, graphic design of all printed and digital assets, video animations, sourcing and contracting of entertainment, executive production, remote recordings of entertainment, program editing, and technical support.
To make the event even more meaningful, there was also a giveback opportunity. Race to the Finish winners had the choice to receive a physical award or donate a cash equivalent to the charity of their choice and one third chose to give back. Additionally, there were impressive amounts of communication seen during this event. Over 4,500 emails were distributed between thank you’s, feedback, reminders, and invites, and over 240 chats of encouragement were sent during the program. On top of that, the program had incredible attendance rates. Only 12 of the 510 invitations were declined, and of the accepted attendees, 97% attended the non-obligatory program.
Attendee comments included:
“I would like to thank the entire planning team for the incredible preparation. Everything was refined down to the smallest detail–from reminders through sending parcels to the event itself. In the following years, I wish you great success in the organization.”
“Thank you for all the behind the scene work that goes on.”
“Despite being outside the typical President’s Club celebration, I believe this was a job well done! I absolutely enjoyed the mentalist show and the master class with Daymond! I do wish I had taken the time off for it, so I could thoroughly enjoy, celebrate, and virtually connect with other winners.”
“The gift box was great, and I loved all the items and the theme!”
“Jose Andres was amazing! I took many notes for future reference as his perspective on life and serving others were so inspirational!”
“I was very impressed and honored to participate in recognition of my accomplishments and others across the company.”
“Terrific experience; absolutely loved the Master Class. Found it profound and humbling. Justin William was a great opener and all the speakers were inspiring.”
“Fun event and lots of energy from our executives for the winners performance”