We are Event Strategy Group.


Lenovo Live

Lenovo’s annual kickoff event is traditionally an in-person event that brings together thousands of employees from diverse geographies to take stock of the past year, celebrate successes, and strategize for the future. In 2020, we adapted the event to a virtual kickoff format in light of COVID-19 concerns.


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The Challenges

When it came time for our client’s annual sales kickoff event in April 2020, it quickly became clear that the usual in-person, multiple-thousand-attendee kickoff would not be possible in the age of COVID-19. Ultimately, we ended up pitching and creating from scratch an entirely new virtual kickoff format that would allow our client’s global employee base to safely tune in from home. It goes without saying that the challenges in producing this event were numerous—a compressed timeline, planning for an entirely new format, and the inability to meet together in person were just a few. With innovation and flexibility, we partnered with our client to create a completely unique event that delivered on their goals. When planning, we kept the following goals and considerations in mind:


  • It was important to our client to deliver a “live” event to their audience.
  • Content needed to be curated and compressed to fit the virtual medium.
  • Company leadership needed support in presenting on a wide range of topics.
  • Attendee engagement and participation was critical success factor.
  • Ultimately, the event needed to deliver on business objectives to motivate & educate the sales team, align their sales strategy for the year, and strengthen the Lenovo brand.

Our Solution

With our challenges and goals in mind, we arrived at the solution of a live studio broadcast for our client’s kickoff event. When producing content for the screen rather than in-person, we took into account how different the settings are—speaking on a stage to a live audience is way different than speaking to a camera in front of a green screen, both for the speaker and the audience. A new medium called for an entirely new audience experience and event agenda.


Throughout the broadcast, a centralized event theme helped to provide continuity and keep messaging and branding cohesive. We helped our client write the kickoff script like you would a live TV show—with shortened segments of concise, meaningful information, a conversational tone, and motivational, inspiring messaging for their sales team. What would have been a two-day in-person event was transformed into a 70-minute scripted show. With a small team of production professionals following guidelines for in-person gatherings, we filmed local company executive segments on a green screen to create dynamic environments with digital graphic support. For speakers where video was not an option, onscreen graphical elements and high-quality voiceover segments fulfilled the need. Templated graphics elevated self-captured videos from various company correspondents, and offered another opportunity for additional brand messaging. Social media activations throughout the program engaged attendees in real time and offered data analytics opportunities for our client.


The kickoff broadcast was premiered in a simulive delivery format—the pre-recorded greenscreen segments, voiceover segments, and self-captured video were all shared for the first time during the show. A live presentation segment by one of our client’s best speakers during the show was a huge hit with the audience, reinforcing our notion that live delivery whenever possible makes for the greatest impact in virtual events. With TV-quality production and stunning visuals across the board, we created an engaging and dynamic kickoff experience for our client’s audience during an unprecedented time in history.


The Results

All in all, the program was a huge success. While the value of in-person events can never be refuted, creating a virtual counterpart to the traditional sales kickoff proved to deliver on client goals and engage their audience in meaningful ways. We adapted to the situation at hand and produced something all parties were proud of, and the numbers speak for themselves:


The average watch time for this 70-minute show was 72 minutes (you read that right!), with 4,117 unique devices tuning in.


As virtual events continue to solidify their place in business and marketing strategies, we continue to develop innovative solutions and hone our expertise in producing best-in-class experiences for virtual audiences. There’s a virtual solution for every business objective—head over to ESG Live to learn more.