Sowdens drove 1,000+ views for UK’s first ever Festival of Green Innovation

Receiving an impressive 400+ sign-ups for Humber’s first virtual chat-show-style event

The brief was to launch a brand-new centre for low-carbon innovation at the height of a global pandemic, when your guests can’t physically visit and restrictions are in place, the event was taken to homes around the world by building an attractive proposition, event concept, brand and digital marketing strategy and then live-streamed the event on the 2 March 2021.

Our clients at the  Aura Innovation Centre (AIC), part of the  University of Hull don’t do run of the mill, their inventive attitude is firmly rooted on their core brand values of accelerating, innovating and collaborating…music to our ears as one of the longest established creative agencies in Yorkshire.

A resounding success that put the Humber on the map

The latest in a long line of low-carbon comms projects we’ve worked on over the last few years, the Festival of Green Innovation was designed to spread the word about the work the AIC is doing to advance green innovation in the Humber, and encourage SMEs to collaborate with them to drive clean growth for the region. Creating a lasting legacy that’s vital to building a positive, carbon-free future for our planet.

And it certainly went down a storm. Check out some of the results that have rolled in already…

• 1,000+ views of the event livestream, and counting
• 400+ global sign-ups, including 210 individual businesses
• 32,800 Twitter impressions on the day of the event
• 309% increase in new visitors to the AIC site in the month leading up to the event
• 1,041 visits to the event landing page in two months
• 18,669 impressions from social media advertising
• 232% uplift in social referrals in the month leading up to the event
• 62% click-to-open rate for final teaser email (way above 14.1% national average)

Festival of Green Innovation virtual event digital ad graphic

Hosted by Kofi Smiles and not your everyday B2B event

Featuring a fantastic line-up of high-profile speakers including ex- Siemens CEO Juergen Maier CBE, Shadow Minister for FE & Universities Emma Hardy and Regional CBI Director for Yorkshire & the Humber Beckie Hart – and fronted by the legendary Kofi Smiles of BBC Radio Humberside – the unique TV-show-style virtual event proved a big hit, racking up over 1,000+ views and 32,800 Twitter impressions on the day.

Polly Sowden, Event Director, Sowden + Sowden commented:

“As an agency who’ve been creating highly successful, experiential in-person events for four decades, adapting and innovating in the face of adversity is in our DNA, and so we used the current situation as an opportunity to help our clients deliver an event strategy to remember. And so the Festival of Green Innovation was born.

It goes without saying that in normal circumstances, the launch event might have looked very different. To pull off a virtual event of this caliber in unprecedented circumstances takes knowledge, energy, ambition, and creative ingenuity, as well as a willingness to break the mould and do something truly innovative and unique.

Considering the challenges that were faced with planning and delivering an exciting, impactful event at a time when normal life has all but ground to a halt, it’s an incredible accomplishment which we’re incredibly proud to have been a part of.”

Targeted digital marketing drove 309% increase in web visitors

And the stats back it up. A clever and cost-effective digital marketing plan including engaging video content generated over 18,000+ impressions and more than 400+ sign-ups, leading to a final registration-participation conversion rate of 70%.

We smashed open and clickthrough targets with results that were way above the national average (with a 62% click-to-open rate on the final teaser email compared to 14.1% average), and delivered a 232% uplift in social referrals to the AIC website in the month prior to the event.

And we reached people around the world too, driving global interest in the Humber region – with people tuning in from France, Portugal, Africa and the US!

Louise Smith, Director, Aura Innovation Centre, commented:

“In just three months, Sowdens came up with a completely new creative concept for the AIC launch event in response to the Covid pandemic which was actually far more ambitious and innovative than the physical event we had originally planned.

They’ve worked alongside us day and night over the last few months to bring this one of a kind event to life, and the results have been extraordinary. Sowdens have totally raised the bar when it comes to putting on virtual events that really do make just as much of an impact as if they were held in person.”

An events and marketing agency that does things differently

We’re pleased to have had the opportunity to bring together innovators and leaders from across the Humber to put the Humber region on the map and celebrate our progress towards building a carbon-neutral world.

Whilst virtual events might be the norm right now, we’ve got experience across all manner of events and exhibitions, from brand launches to high-impact PR campaigns. Whether it’s holding a unique fashion show in largest medieval parish church in England or creating an immersive ‘Living Lab’ for the UK’s biggest green energy event, we’ve got the people, knowledge and creativity to take your events to the next level.

Check out some of our previous award-winning events work here.

In case you missed it, you can watch the full Festival of Green Innovation livestream here. You can view the three pre-recorded video segments for the event below.




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