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With increasingly sophisticated technology changing the way we share information, a new style of event is emerging which is seeing participants from all corners of the globe taking part simultaneously. .

Barts Bash Such events can have a huge impact on a brand’s ability to reach a truly worldwide audience. Paul Colston reports.

NinetyOne Consulting is an agency that delivers digital projects around events, with a particular focus on event promotion. Recently it worked on a global project on behalf of Sir Ben Ainslie. The aim of the project was to set a Guinness World Record for the largest ever sailing race, with over 26,000 sailors from more than 500 sailing clubs around the world due to take to the waters simultaneously.

The event, held on 21 September 2014, was named ‘Bart’s Bash’ and was designed to raise money for The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson was a British Olympian who passed away while in training for the America’s Cup.

Event Manager Tim Anderton, said it felt like everyone in the world went sailing on that Sunday. “The turnout was amazing and we worked around the clock to process the overwhelming numbers to find our winner.”

David Bishop, Results Director added: “The focus has been on both the results system and keeping the website live at the same time. We experienced over a million page hits and also kept track of the amazing fundraisers with over 80,000 JustGiving server requests across one weekend. This was new technology built for the event. It was the first time it had been used. It certainly got some testing.”

NinetyOne Consulting’s David Bishop said Bart’s Bash was an example of a new wave of global events that mean businesses can follow this example and communicate with target audiences on a much wider scale than ever before.

“The event set the scene for any kind of event where a collection of locations are simultaneously used for a single purpose at a single point in time - using internet-based communication to create the sense of a truly joined up occasion.”

Bishop said organising such an event, and achieving commercial success, was reliant on key ingredients, the first being a strong reason for undertaking it in the first place. Secondly, a willing and engaged community is required who will physically deliver the event at a local level, and thirdly, an actual activity or experience that individuals and/or groups will want to take part in.
The technology then brings all this together.

For such an event, a central website is set up and used in conjunction with supporting social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to share updates, news and information, generate awareness and encourage participation.

Each individual, club, region/country (depending on the scale of the event) has its own web page navigated via a collection of directories and interactive mapping. And, if fundraising is a core requirement, it can be encouraged through a collection of targets and rewards which trigger emails with Facebook (for example) sharing messages and badges as milestone targets are hit.

And, because the technology is doing all the hard work, the logistics of running such an event on a local level are kept relatively simple through the use of ‘event makers’ who act as the main point of contact on the ground.

“It is clear that using the Internet as the backbone with deliverance through a range of tablet and mobile devices, there is now real opportunity for a brand or event to attract awareness on a truly global scale with low on-the-ground costs,” Bishop said.

“With the right mix of a worthy cause or objective, challenging and engaging activity, and well-executed digital strategies, an event such as Bart’s Bash could reflect the crest of a wave of globally digitally networked physical events. By adopting a variety of social media practices, event organisers across sectors as diverse as retail and rail, to farming and food can have the unique ability to unite attendees, strengthen relationships, stimulate engagement and ensure that the ‘buzz’ of an event is maintained long after the final curtain falls,” Bishop added.

#sailonbart

This was first published in the December issue of CN. Any comments? Email Paul Colston

19 Dec 14

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