The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is a teacher-lead association dedicated to creating a network of support for computer science educators across the US and Canada. Their annual conference is a huge part of what they do. When COVID-19 forced their event to go virtual, their challenge became to create an engaging conference and a humanized experience for their members. Virtual event gifts helped accomplish this.
Teaching computer science in the K-12 world is complicated. Teachers provide the essential blueprint that connects our youth with the ever-changing technology of computers. It’s vital for teachers specializing in a dynamic field like computer science to continue professional development and continuing education. Computers are continuing to advance and become a critical part of every industry. As computer use grows, so does the need for education at earlier ages. Technological skills are imperative for our youth’s future, and both national and global economies and industries.
That’s why CSTA’s professional development is essential for its members. CSTA members also gain access to in-person events and speaker driven learning opportunities. One of the most significant benefits of these events is connecting with their members on a personal level, providing them with an engaging learning environment, and leaving them with a lasting impression.
The mission for their 2020 conference remained the same, but the virtual format made this more challenging. Virtual event gifts helped bridge the gap between virtual and human.
After doing some initial research about shifting their annual event to a virtual platform, CSTA recognized the importance of working with a partner to host an event of this caliber. In the past, setting up an event venue and ordering some swag items would’ve been their plan of attack. This year posed a much bigger challenge that resulted in changing their entire approach.
Luckily, we’ve helped with hundreds of in-person events in the past. However, we quickly learned a virtual event is entirely different. We needed to be agile and educate ourselves about the evolving landscape of digital events to best advise and guide CSTA.
CSTA’s new virtual conference was an opportunity for us to help craft a virtual event gift strategy that would help generate more clicks to their website and interactions on their social media pages.
Our Brand Activation Team met with CSTA to understand their personas, goals, and aspirations for the event, resulting in a comprehensive presentation with recommendations tailored to their needs. This presentation included various elements, such as:
We came up with specific recommendations for an overarching social media campaign connected to their virtual event and their virtual event gifts. What’s more fun than opening a swag box when you’re stuck at home?
We worked with CSTA to craft a plan to engage their attendees. The end result was received with enthusiasm that took over CSTA’s social media feed: an eye-popping box design, thoughtfully designed postcard, and various useful swag items inside tailored to their personas.
Our design team came up with specific recommendations and provided two unique options for CSTA to choose from. The box design, collateral, and items inside their virtual event kit all tied back to the CSTA brand guidelines.
To reach CSTA’s member audience on a personal and human level, we had the crazy idea of sending personalized boxes to every attendee’s home. Shipments of 2,000 virtual event swag boxes seemed like an impossible task when we first came up with the idea and started working with CSTA.
Fortunately, we have relationships with various fulfillment partners and were able to help with sourcing, producing, and kitting all the items needed for their virtual event. The execution and fulfillment were handled entirely by DMG.
It’s safe to say that the results speak for themselves. CSTA had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about their virtual event. From the custom virtual event swag boxes to the perfectly executed event, attendees felt connected in a time where everyone feels distant.