The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has long been the pre-eminent civil rights organization in the United States. Their annual National Convention brings together social activists, industry leaders, public servants, and the general public to share experiences and ideas and discuss solutions on affecting positive change in black communities across the country.
In 2020, Pico’s Infinity Marketing Team (IMT) played a key role in taking the Convention online for the first time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event successfully won a Gold in ‘Best Diversity Campaign’ and a Silver in ‘Best Virtual Event or Experience’ at the 2021 PRO Awards.
In 2021, IMT was again entrusted as lead production partner to make the 112th NAACP Virtual National Convention and 43rd ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) National Competition an even more engaging experience for all participants.
The goal of convention was to engage members of the black community and their allies and continue to encourage the fight forward for racial justice. The target audience of the Convention ranged from young to old, with many of the latter not being tech-adept.
The NAACP outlined the major goal for the Convention’s virtual platform as offering an experience that mimicked the in-person event and was easy-to-access, smooth, immersive and engaging. In addition, ACT-SO wanted a platform that would enable student competitors to present their work effectively and allow judges and contestants to interact.
This would require IMT to build an interactive event platform with special consideration given to making it both highly user-friendly and engaging for users of all types.
IMT developed the platform using Pico’s Virtuosity – a suite of innovative solutions for high-performance ‘emotional’ virtual events. It helped achieve the goal of providing a seamless experience with a single point of entry to events from the site’s agenda page.
From there, the site identified different types of users and granted their appropriate types of access. For example, voting delegates were automatically taken to Zoom so they could talk and vote in their regional meetings, judges and contestants were separated from competition spectators, and spectators from the general public were directed to the content viewer page.
The Convention’s programmes were also to be streamed on NAACP’s social platforms, Facebook and YouTube to enable participants to access the event in their most convenient way. Complementing the virtual event were engaging interactive features including audience polling, Q&A sessions and live chat, all of which allowed visitors to connect with each other and the content.
The need to livestream the Convention and ACT-SO Competition’s 72 events back-to-back over the nine-day schedule – including regional meetings, performances, panel discussions and competitions – was the most challenging task for IMT. The majority of the events would be live competitions that relied heavily on judges and contestants to arrive on time and present or host interviews within their allotted time, with very few pre-recorded elements.
To tackle this, four stream production teams were brought on to handle the schedule of events and break them up so that no events were overlapped. This gave teams adequate time to reset set-ups and check talent for their next event. The arrangement optimized the transition precisely through each event’s run of show and then from one livestream to the next. It also gave teams some buffer to overcome any problems that could arise during a broadcast and to prevent a cascading impact on the remainder of the day’s scheduled events.
Highlights of what was a very successful Convention included messages from Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, and Leon Russell, NAACP Chairman; as well as segments such as DJ sets, the Resolutions Plenary, #GenZCultureTalk, Black Women Lead National Town Hall, and the 43rd ACT-SO Awards Ceremony.
After the Convention’s conclusion, programme content was available for replay on-demand on the official website: naacpevents.org