Virtual Badges: #WirFürSchule case

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Introduction

Studying from home has become part of the routine for many students around the world, and the situation brought to the German education system by the world pandemic has shed light upon an unattended need for new solutions on the field.

What should the school-system of tomorrow look like? Are we looking at a short-term forced adaptation or could this be the first step towards new learning methods in a new education system?

The #WirFürSchule hackathon

The #WirFürSchule Hackathon, which translated from German means "Us for school" or "Together for school", took place from the 08th to the 12th of June and has connected experts, coaches, students, and teachers to come up with more than 216 solutions for the next school year.

But the hackathon, just like uncountable other virtual events that have taken place in the last months, had a great challenge to face: Enriching the event experience for all participants given the virtual limits imposed by the pandemic.

With that in mind, a post-event recognition token was successfully implemented and brought new networking opportunities to the event attendees by offering them a Virtual Badge.

Using Virtual Badges has proven to be an efficient method to boost participant experience in virtual events. The tool itself is very simple: It is a virtual, personal, automatically generated name badge meant to be shared on the participant's social media platforms. Each participant can log in with their email and gain access to the badge, which will automatically be uploaded with their profile picture from LinkedIn (or Facebook, etc). They also have the possibility to add more specifications to their badges, which will vary according to each event.

These specifications were, in this case, the "task description" that the participants had in the hackathon (such as expert, coach, student, etc).

Besides offering the event attendees a recognition token which they will be proud to share, the Virtual Badges also create different values for their event hosts and organizers: Igniting word-of-mouth marketing and identifying their event ambassadors.

Just picture the scene: You are a developer working on a hybrid solution for the school system during a hackathon organized, among others, by the german ministry of education. You share your participation badge with your network and build your own personal brand. Your friends, many of each are also developers, will have the first contact with the #WirFürSchule event through your badge. The simple act of sharing your badge will play an enormous marketing role for the event, given that the badges will be seen by a hyper-targeted audience (in this case, your like-minded developer friends).

But the question that arose was: Would such a tool work and bring the expected outcomes even without any other subsequent marketing push? And yes, it did.

More than 25% of all participants shared their badges, making the use of the virtual recognition tool a success for the event.

And now the second highlight for the event organizers: Those 25% of the participants advocated for the event and have shared their participation pride on their preferred social media platforms. This simple act creates important data insights such as in which platforms the attendees are more active. This data allows the hosts to implement digital marketing strategies aligned with their audience's behavior.

Besides that, being able to segment participants and identify the event ambassadors allows the hosts to directly communicate with those attendees to initiate referral programs, send gifts, or contact them in general.

Conclusion

The experience from the last months has proven to us that online events will keep on taking place. According to the 2020 Event Outlook Report by Bizzabo, 87% of the world's leading event organizers will run virtual events this year, and more than 90% of marketers plan on incorporating virtual events into their future strategies. The same study shows that historically, only 26% of those marketers had invested in virtual events before, indicating that even in a post-pandemic scenario the hybrid nature of events should prevail.

Virtual Badges are, therefore, a great way to enrich attendee experience for virtual and physical events, while creating value for all parts involved.

The technology used by the #WirFürScule hackathon was created by FutureNext and will be soon available on a SaaS model.


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