The annual Awards for Excellence provide a platform to celebrate the work of Sirona care & health’s 3,500 staff. With COVID-19 restrictions limiting the possibility of an in-person event, Sirona approached us to see how we could create an accessible virtual awards experience that would bring employees together, celebrate success and share achievements.
Moving an existing award ceremony online needs careful management – even without a global pandemic. Before any work was done on technical production we explored the essential components of the awards experience. These are subtly different for each award show, but in this case they were to share stories, to celebrate and connect. These three pillars became the guiding principles for the event design.
Working in partnership with the Sirona communications team and senior management we developed a show that would feel familiar, albeit delivered in an entirely new format.
Keeping it live
Maintaining the “live-event experience” was key so we agreed that all presenters would be live. We also agreed that the nominees for each category would be live on screen while the awards were announced, that they would be able to communicate to each other and the presenters, and that nobody – including the presenters – would know who had won until the awards were announced live. Surprise was a key element to the show and helped ensure guests stayed engaged.
Having nominees able to share the sense of suspense, congratulate their colleagues and hear the citations from the presenters created an atmosphere of connection and emotion that would not have been possible using pre-recorded presentations or acceptance speeches. Tears were shed and laughter shared.
To keep the production levels high the awards were streamed from a professional film studio located in the heart of Bristol. Using a professional studio ensured we had all the kit we needed on site – helping keep costs down – as well as putting a full mixing suite behind a single door. The result was an awards programme that although complex played out as a single live stream mixing live in-person presenters, live remote presenters, surprise guests and nominees and pre-recorded content. We also developed awards music, graphic overlays and lower thirds.
The show was compared by Ali Vowels from BBC Points West:
“I want to tell you…I’ve been doing this for years, and that was really complicated. Very ambitious. To pull that off is amazing. That is so many (64!) outside sources – it’s like an election night!”
The awards needed to be accessible, but also to remain secure. To ensure every employee was able to access the stream we created a bespoke awards website to hold the awards introductory information, and secured the embedded live-stream with a domain level sign-in.
We also created a bespoke platform for the private sharing of messages and photos which guests used through the night, in addition to the chat that accompanied the live-stream. All photos and messages were sent to the client for use in post-event comms.
Focal Point were responsible for:
- Supporting Sirona to develop the event structure and design – maximising the opportunities for interaction
- Advising on pre-recorded assets to be used in the programme
- Project management
- Sourcing and management of the studio space used as the awards hub
- Bespoke website design and build following client brand – providing a place to hold the event information and live-stream
- Secure viewing platform with chat, polling and question function. This was embedded into the awards website.
- Registration platform design and management
- Bespoke social media / photo submission platform for guests to submit and share their photos throughout the event
- Online briefings for all 51 nominees and 17 award presenters
- Show-calling the event on the night
“Thank you so much for making the Sirona Awards for Excellence last night a success; it was phenomenal and the feedback so far is great.”
Wendy Best, Head of Communications, Media and Public Relations at Sirona care & health.
“It was a fantastic night with tears and laughter and to be able to involve all our staff was an incredible achievement.”
Simon Knighton, Chairman, Sirona care & health.