Live video events now a reality
When last year’s worldwide pandemic made in-person meetings impossible, Elements Financial came to Williams Randall to expand their website’s event-registration system to include the ability to host a webinar with a live video feed and chat. After all, their brand promise is to assist members with their financial wellness, pandemic or not.
We had previously built Elements’ event-registration system, which allows the credit union to create co-branded events for their partners. Potential attendees can browse the events on elements.org and register for them in a fully customized experience without leaving the site. Registrations are stored in Elements’ customer database, so they can follow up with subsequent communications regarding the upcoming event, including automated email reminders.
The event-registration system can also track attendance on the day of the event. If the event is in person, the Elements host has a tablet available for attendees to find their name and tap to sign in. If the event is through third-party software, such as Microsoft Teams, sign-in happens automatically as a first step when the attendee accesses the meeting URL. This allows partners to reward their employees for attending the event.
Tackling the new challenge
When Elements approached us about extending this system to include a self-hosted, fully integrated webinar option, they had already settled on BoxCast as the provider for the video feed. The use of BoxCast, in conjunction with Wirecast, allows them to broadcast a live video feed and have a producer working behind the scenes to add effects such as switching among multiple live presenters, showing a slide deck, and overlaying captions.
Elements asked us if we could put the BoxCast feed in a page that matched the website branding and styles plus included co-branding for each partner. They also wanted the ability to chat with attendees while the event was happening.
After researching several online chat providers, we selected CometChat to provide the chat service. Then we styled the chat service to match the site and mark Elements chat moderators for easy identification. The tool includes multiple ways to manage and prevent inappropriate content. It also provides a way to send a simple, one-question poll and see the results of the poll in real time as attendees make their selections.
Our designers produced a beautiful, fully customized layout that met Elements’ objectives. It includes the credit union’s branding as well as branding for the partner hosting the event. The prominent video feed is accompanied by the chat feature in the sidebar along with links to related content. We even added a promotional space so Elements can make their own “display ads” to sell relevant products to attendees during each educational event.
On the back end, the new event type connects to BoxCast’s API, automatically creates a scheduled broadcast, and stores the information needed to display the feed during the event. It also connects to CometChat’s API to create a new chat group for the event and to automatically sign in each attendee using their registration.
One hour before the event, attendees receive an automated email that contains a link specifically for them. It signs them in as an attendee as well as signing them into chat. Chat moderators also receive a special link that gives them additional privileges for managing the text-based discussion happening in the chat.
Elements now has a fully customized, highly automated webinar experience that they use regularly to host virtual events. They are pleased with the results and, particularly, the time savings afforded by the level of automation we were able to provide.
A perfect fit in more ways than one
The solution we created allowed Elements to maintain their relationships with members, even during the isolating time of the pandemic. Additionally, it allowed them to maintain their brand promise of helping members achieve financial wellness by providing advice. In the first eight months of having the ability, Elements has hosted more than 40 events, connecting with 700+ members during the pandemic. Truly, Elements lives its brand promise.