West Michigan Woman magazine is pleased to honor the success of women in the West Michigan community with the annual Brilliance Awards.
The event shines a light on the dynamic talent, spirit and intellect of local women; it celebrates the brilliant and meaningful impact they have on our careers and communities. West Michigan Woman honors women in nine different categories, and the men who support them in one category.
For the last four years, West Michigan Woman has hosted the Brilliance Awards with the main goal of celebrating the successes of women and men from the community. Every year, it is necessary to generate enough sponsorship and sell enough tickets for the in-person event. Before that can even happen, quality applicants are needed for each of the ten categories.
To reach each of these goals, the marketing plan relied on three key strategies:
- Utilize social media and eNewsletter to generate quality applicants
- Tap into local businesses for tiered sponsorship
- Employ social, email, and ad campaigns to drive ticket sales
Work on the 2020 Brilliance Awards began late 2019. Over 400 nominations were made across the ten recognized categories. It was a lot of work, but the selection committee had picked the three finalists in each category. Sponsors were lined up and looking forward to the April awards ceremony, but then Michigan and the rest of the country was shut down due to COVID-19. Kasie Smith, Publisher of West Michigan Woman and President of Serendipity Media, made the early decision of pushing the Brilliance Awards from April to May. Unfortunately, restrictions were still in place during May, so the event was again pushed out but this time to September.
As September drew near, some restrictions were lifted, but not all. It became apparent that the West Michigan Woman team was going to have to develop the in-person event into a semi-virtual affair. The hybrid event looked like this:
- The Serendipity Media staff ensured the sponsorship requirements were fulfilled in the print and digital marketing for the 2020 Brilliance Awards.
- Finalists and sponsors were invited to the awards ceremony. No guests were allowed to attend, thus reducing numbers to comply with executive orders.
- Those who had purchased tickets to the event in the spring were offered refunds or could hold onto the tickets for a future Brilliance Awards.
- For those who did wish to view the ceremony, but were not finalists, sponsors, or staff, were invited to watch a live stream online. Serendipity Media promoted this through social, eNewsletter and in-publication ads.
- A social-distance compliant event with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails was set up outside on the Egypt Valley Country Club’s covered porch.
- Inside of the club, the live feed of the event streamed, showing the winners and their acceptance speeches.
- A touchless experience was created for the acceptance of awards.
Time to Celebrate
Although West Michigan Woman did not get to host the in-person Brilliance Awards as in years past, the event was still a success. Through the promotion of the nomination period, 400 quality applicants were received. West Michigan Woman readers were very eager to see who would win in our ten categories, despite not being able to be there in person. While tickets couldn’t be sold for the event, from Serendipity Media’s efforts, the event had 4X the number of virtual attendants than the average audience size of previous in-person events. The marketing team also ensured all of the sponsorship requirements were fulfilled at the hybrid event. Lastly, all the permitted in-person attendants remained safe, healthy, and had a great time celebrating one another’s successes.
We think quickly on our feet and are not afraid to pivot if needed. Need help developing and executing your next marketing campaign or event? Contact us and we’ll talk strategy.