2021 Forbes Under 30 Kickoff: Decade of Disruption
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A brief overview of 2021 Forbes Under 30 Kickoff: Decade of Disruption
Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most-influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 140 million people worldwide every month through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE and Forbes Virtual events, custom marketing programs and 32 licensed local editions in 71 countries.
What was your objective in staging your event?
After a year of unprecedented change and uncertainty, the end of the pandemic finally appears to be near. Yet, the world we re-enter will undoubtedly be unlike the one we knew before. The past year has illuminated structural cracks in our society and shed light on opportunities for systemic change.
At the same time, it spotlighted the need for innovative visionaries and technology to create a better tomorrow. Forbes wanted a way to reach the leaders of tomorrow to inspire them to work together and pave the path forward toward a more resilient and equitable future.
One problem? From webinars to breakout rooms to audio-only events, 2020 provided many virtual event options for brands to choose from. And most of the time? It was easy for audience members to turn off their video or throw a question into the chat to make it look like they were paying attention while they multi-tasked on another screen. So with many virtual events to choose from, Forbes also needed to find a way to reach these leaders and keep them engaged.
Thus the idea for The Under 30 Summit Kickoff: Decade of Disruption was born—complete with a bespoke virtual networking experience, unlike anything any other publisher had done.
What technologies / platforms were in play?
With the help of Gather’s virtual communication technology and Facebook’s Spark AR platform, the virtual event didn’t just include big-named speakers like Joe Jonas and brands like Outdoor Voices and Daily Harvest. No, the event included a completely bespoke virtual networking experience that used avatar-style navigation with an entirely customized virtual venue.
When a viewer entered the event, they had the opportunity to explore a custom space and network with a global audience in a uniquely personal and engaging encounter using their custom avatar. From the completely on-brand bespoke space (including a rooftop bar overlooking the Detroit skyline) to a gallery of 30 Under 30 franchise covers from the past decade that linked out to their respective cover story on Forbes.com, the experience took interactivity to a whole new level.
How did you attract attendees?
The agenda sparked a number of critical conversations. From mental health to putting action behind activism to being an unapologetic female founder, the slate of topics kept audience members engaged for the half-day event. Plus, to spice up the experience, even more, custom Instagram filters were designed to complement the event. Not only were they used by thousands of attendees around the world, but the exposure led to more than 167K impressions on social media.
How did you judge the success of your event?
Over 11,000 individuals from around the world (146 countries and all 50 states to be exact) registered for The Under 30 Summit Kickoff and more than 3,000 attended the event live. From CEOs to founders to managers, the majority of attendees were business decision-makers. The most impressive part of it all? The virtual event didn’t just engage viewers; it captivated them for hours—with some staying in the bespoke networking experience for well over two hours.
Even the CEO of Gather raved about the experience saying, “the way the Forbes team used Gather for 30 Under 30 set the bar high for the next stage of digital events...they were one of the first brands to build out a totally new type of event and executed one of the best branded digital events we’ve seen yet!” So not only did Forbes reach the leaders of tomorrow, but the publisher helped keep these visionaries engaged in an innovative way as we begin to pave a path forward.
What made your event stand out?
To help ensure the world we re-enter was better than the one we left behind, Forbes assembled a dynamic roster of leaders, entrepreneurs, and Under 30 Listers from the past ten years and invited them to participate in a first-of-its-kind virtual event. To really make an impact and counter the passive viewing experience of live-streamed content, Forbes knew that this virtual event had to think and act differently to get innovators and business leaders excited about envisioning a more resilient and equitable path forward together.
How was the event received?
Don't just take it from us — take it from three of our attendees! 1) “This was a tremendous event and one that certainly exceeded my expectations (especially that of a virtual event) From the well considered and detailed orientated panel discussions that encompassed very specific points of relevancy that impact our daily lives socially, physically and mentally But also to include the idea and networking features that allow connections with other under 30 listers, and future 30 under 30 listers were all great additives that helped make the event engaging " 2) “Last night's F30U30 event was a brilliant experience that seamlessly merged a unique knowledge share with a new age era of networking The speakers were great as they discussed means of adapting life-work balance to the post-pandemic world and shared best practices on how to utilize creativity with technology in new and exciting ways One of the most impressive aspects was the use of 'Gather' which allowed people to network in an easy to use virtual format that felt as if Zoom and Nintendo had a baby I look forward to the next one!” ; 3) “This experience was so phenomenal! The virtual platform was engaging and intimate compared to TV viewing The speakers and moderators were incredibly diverse in age, industry, experience, and ethnicity! The topics discussed were relevant and applicable The sessions were perfectly timed to keep me engaged So awesome and I look forward to October!”