How a Virtual Conference Increased Engagement by Letting Attendees Choose Their Own Path
By Lexi Godfrey April 20, 2021
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Onwards 2021 Onwards’ event theme was to always be looking ahead and moving forward together, with purpose.
For their virtual event, Onwards 2021, WRG Live prioritized delighting attendees to maximize engagement in the midst of another impending pandemic-related lockdown.

About The Creative Engagement Group and WRG Live

The Creative Engagement Group and its division WRG Live are an events and experiential agency that has worked with Google, Adidas, HSBC, Deloitte, and the Olympics to create live experiences, virtual & hybrid experiences, exhibitions, physical environments and logistics.

TCEG Virtual Event Goals

TCEG was looking for an event platform to virtually kick-off 2021, inspire cross-functional engagement, celebrate achievement and create onward strategic focus for 500 people, in the middle of a pandemic. During their search for an event platform, they realized that some platforms wouldn't let them use the back end. They wanted to customize the platform themselves instead of going back and forth with a project manager, so they kept looking.

Other event platform demos showed us screenshots of the front and back end, but they weren't able to show us how it worked. Cadence set up our test event in minutes and invested the time in teaching us how to use the platform.
Luke Power

Luke Power

Senior Producer, WRG Live

They were looking for an event platform that would allow them to:

  • ✅ Set up a test event in minutes
  • ✅ Access an easy-to-use backend to make changes to the event themselves
  • ✅ Simplify the login with one-click access
  • ✅ Intertwine the branding and the event's theme “Onwards” throughout the event experience
  • ✅ Connect people through 5-minute chats
  • ✅ Host over 100 pieces of multimedia content including videos, animations, augmented reality, interactive PDFs, user-generated content, pre-recorded edits, and digital ads
  • ✅ Gamify engagement to get the audience as involved as possible

Challenge: Making Attendees Feel More Connected

WRG was hyper-aware about the way their attendees would interact with each other throughout in a virtual event landscape. They wanted to make sure there was ease of use, accessibility, and incentive for audience members to get to know each other and even engage with speakers. The team wanted to capture attendees’ interest so that they felt excited to participate rather than pressured and nagged.

Solution: Seamless Integrations for Exhilarating Engagement

WRG used Cadence’s vast integration capabilities to first integrate CVent and SSO for easy registration and log in, and then Chat Roulette for attendees to meet new people in an exciting way. These seamless integrations allowed the event to reach max capacity, and over half of the attendees enjoyed the Chat Roulette feature for further networking.

But, the incentivization didn’t stop there! WRG used charitable enticements to encourage attendees to interact with the platform to help make a difference in their community!

For every interaction, we [said we’d] love to donate a pound to charity, whether that was logging in, completing a profile, booking an appointment, joining a session, a breakout session, downloading an interactive PDF… they ended up donating $10,000 to mental health UK.
Luke Power

Luke Power

Senior Producer, WRG Live

Additionally, even before the event began, WRG had the event go live a week before so that attendees could get in the platform and comfortable with the usability so things would flow smoothly once the event actually began. This tactic worked wonders for audience attendance and engagement.

Challenge: Organic Attendee Engagement

WRG wanted attendees to feel at ease during their event experience. With so many people in different circumstances, especially with another impending lockdown in the UK, WRG was keen to avoid putting any extra stress on their audience. They found that so many virtual events could feel overwhelming and bland, and they didn’t want to host another experience like that for their attendees.

Solution: Give the Audience the Freedom to Personalize their Event Experience

WRG leaned on Cadence’s Schedule and Registration features to give attendees the freedom to create the event experience they were most interested in. Unlike a lot of other virtual events with mandatory sessions day in and day out, WRG wanted audience members to feel like they were in charge of their own experience and could tailor it however they wanted.

We recognize that people might be working in tricky circumstances with commitments with children and pets at home. We gave them the freedom to decide whether they'd go to a breakout or not and which one they would pick. It worked out really well.
Luke Power

Luke Power

Senior Producer, WRG Live

Combining accessible registration and detailed schedule items featuring speakers, materials, and more, WRG found that most sessions were almost filled to max capacity (with all Meet the MC sessions reaching full capacity). And since people were only participating in sessions that they were highly interested in, there was a high volume of discussion in the Live Feed at all times!

WRG Live used the following features for Onwards 2021:

1. Schedule for attendees to browse and choose which sessions and breakouts they’d like to register for and attend.

Onwards Schedule Attendees were able to register for sessions that they were most interested in, allowing them full freedom throughout the event.

2. Custom Menu Items & Branding to keep the event’s theme seamlessly synchronous and engaging for attendees.

Onwards Mobile Menu and Schedule Attendees were able to create their own event experience by picking the sessions they wanted to attend.

3. Exhibition for an all-inclusive space to hold detailed expo information and ways for attendees to get involved.

Onwards Expo Expos were organized by subject matter so guests were always able to find exactly what they were looking for.
Onwards Expo Details Onwards event branding was seamlessly synchronous throughout the platform, without sacrificing accessibility to important event information.

4. Chat Roulette to increase the excitement around networking so that attendees could easily meet each other and establish meaningful connections.

5. Competition & Leaderboard to incentivize audience participation and increase charitable donations to UK mental health causes.

Onwards Leaderboard Onwards’ goal was to keep attendees effortlessly engaged throughout the experience, and by incentivizing guests to compete for prizes and bragging rights, WRG saw increased participation and enjoyment.

6. Live Feed to keep audience members connected with meaningful discussions about relevant topics.

7. Materials to provide a collection of pre-event materials and homework that participants could access. They also used analytics to see which participants had accessed which materials, and when.

8. Analytics so that the logistics team could efficiently inform their tactics to increase audience engagement.


WRG found that attendees loved the effortless accessibility of the platform and further appreciated having the freedom to cultivate the event experience they were most interested in. WRG’s seamless and synchronous branding excited attendees and kept them active in the event.
Additionally, WRG was able to learn the platform from the Cadence team, but was still able to build out the event on their own so as to avoid the tedious back and forth that can happen with some event platform companies.

We completely got what we wanted: proper experts who put in the time to train us and actually invest in developing a partner relationship. They show a willingness to evolve Cadence, while being real honest about its capabilities.
Luke Power

Luke Power

Senior Producer, WRG Live

Event Statistics

  • ✅ Attendance - 98% of people (446 out of 456) joined the virtual experience
  • ✅ Participation - The live stream maintained an average of 410 people throughout the two-day event
  • ✅ Interaction - 2,748 messages were posted to the live chat with over 10,000 ‘likes’
  • ✅ Networking - All 12 “Meet the MC” sessions reached full capacity and Chat Roulette was enjoyed by 272 users
  • ✅ Breakouts - Self-assigned sessions were attended by 90% of the audience and averaged 90 people per session
  • ✅ Expo - Optional seminars were attended by hundreds, supported by 236 interactive PDF downloads

What attendees said after the event:

  1. “Phenomenal!”
  2. “My first virtual conference and I wasn’t expecting this high standard”
  3. “I can’t imagine how it could have been better”
  4. “Engaging, impactful, thought-provoking and motivational”

Interested to see how Cadence could work for your upcoming events? Schedule a free consultation. We'll recommend the best solution based on your goals - even it's not Cadence.

Lexi Godfrey
Lexi Godfrey
Lexi is a Content Marketing Manager at Cadence. She loves crafting strong brand messaging, and her Mean Girls meme game is strong #grool. Her dream event is a surprise party for herself, and she never gets tired of listening to Yacht Rock - it's 5 o'clock somewhere!
Lexi is a Content Marketing Manager at Cadence. She loves crafting strong brand messaging, and her Mean Girls meme game is strong #grool. Her dream event is a surprise party for herself, and she never gets tired of listening to Yacht Rock - it's 5 o'clock somewhere!