Dec 16th · 4 min read
The repercussions of 2020’s global health crisis forced many traditionally offline businesses to adapt to a more digital way of work, in order to survive.
The idea for the Shropshire Virtual Show came from the marketing committee at the Cavalier Centre, home of Perry Riding for the Disabled, in Much Wenlock.
They decided that the best way to raise funds was to create an engaging and entertaining digital event for the public, who were at that point locked down in their homes.
What started as a creative idea to help one charity boost donations, quickly evolved into a major digital event to support five local charities; The Cavalier Centre, League of Friends to RJAH, The Movement Centre, Dog A.I.D and Shropshire Rural Communities Charity.
The plan was to launch an exciting and engaging website, which would act as the hub for a virtual show taking place on 22nd August. It would include a range of performances, films and workshops, featuring celebrity guests and local performers, as well as remote interactive competitions and a Shopping Village for local retailers.
As word spread about the event, and more businesses and performers got involved, the organisers soon realised they’d need the help of experts to make their dream a reality.
Given the tight timeframe, growing volume of content and changeable nature of the project, they needed a team of specialists with creativity, adaptability and efficiency.
Having worked with DCS’s Director, Scott Bowler, for over six years, Anna Lockley and Danny Budd from The Cavalier Centre knew the company had the knowledge, experience and skills to create the perfect website.
DCS Digital were delighted to be involved in such a new and exciting project and gladly agreed to become the key sponsor of Shropshire Virtual Show. With the day of the event only 2 months away, they went straight to work.
The website itself experienced four key stages. Initially, its purpose was to raise awareness of the show prior to the event. DCS’s team of professional designers created a bespoke style for the website, with vibrant colours and engaging content that were expertly chosen to generate interest amongst visitors, potential sponsors and guest performers.
The next step was to boost engagement in the weeks leading up to the 22nd by encouraging visitors to enter virtual competitions or vote for their favourite winners in various event categories. The team created a collection of easily navigable pages to ensure a frictionless visitor experience, and an automated email system was put in place to create a seamless voting process.
On the day of the event, the ‘Showground’ page was the star. Visitors could access all the live streams, videos and other digital content via a selection of ‘stalls’, simulating the real-life showground experience.
There was even a ‘main stage’, where the headline acts performed. This replication of a County Show was designed to provide visitors with as much normality and fun as possible, to distract from the global issues going on around them.
Lastly, the website was quickly adapted to provide a platform where people could catch up on any performances they’d missed and continue to donate to the charities, following the show.
During this process, the project evolved greatly, and DCS efficiently and expertly moved with it. They took a collaborative approach and demonstrated exceptional communication skills to ensure that the high volume of content was always up to date and any changes were made as they happened.
In addition, DCS offered consultancy and support to any members of the organisation committee who were less experienced with online work, to help them work as efficiently and productively as possible.
– Danny Budd, Member of the Board of Trustees at The Cavalier Centre
The live event was viewed over 18,000 times, demonstrating the success of the lead-up campaign and website’s strong visitor engagement.
So far, the Shropshire Virtual Show has raised over £22,000 for the five charities, made possible by DCS’s involvement and support.
The virtual event was successful in simulating the experience of a County Show, proving that with the right expertise, it’s possible for traditionally offline businesses to go digital.
The visitor experience was made seamless by the professional build and design of the website, including bespoke graphics made by DCS’s specialist team.
The site was easily and efficiently adapted according to the stage of the process, an essential factor in a project that is ever evolving.