At Rimu Marketing we work with a number of inspirational small businesses across a diverse range of sectors. We wanted to share a recent Client Case Study: British Fascia Symposium 2020, illustrating not only the type of marketing support we can offer our clients, but in this instance a very special example of how a business responded and pivoted their proposition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jan is the founder of both Body in Harmony Training and the British Fascia Symposium (BFS); we have worked together since February 2018 and the planned event – BFS 2020 – was over 18-months in the making. The end result was something unexpected and very special.
About the Business:
The British Fascia Symposium is an event which takes place every two years. Fascia is a connective tissue of the body about which a huge amount has recently been discovered; it is a focus of excitement within the world of complementary therapy and the subject of much research and discussion. The first event ran in 2014 and has grown from strength to strength since then. Historically, the Symposium would gather together around 350 therapists, exhibitors and people from the world of fascia, to network, mingle and refresh their knowledge, to then take this back to their workplace to the benefit of their clients.
We started working on the preparation for BFS 2020 in March 2019, the event was a huge success and had some very exciting but unexpected outcomes.
When we started to prepare for the live symposium, my brief from Jan was that she did not wish to be as involved in the detail and organisation behind BFS as she had previously. She was finalising her first book, running a busy training school and private clinic, so no longer had as much free time. As with all good marketing planning, we started by plotting our approach to the event: what did the pricing look like? How would the agenda be structured? And how were we going to promote it? Working with one of our website partners, we then rebuilt the website to support what BFS 2020 would look like.
Jan has an amazing community and support behind her for the project, with leading global influencers from the world of fascia being involved, happy to speak, present and generally be part of BFS.
We launched in September 2019 and began to promote and sell tickets; all was going to plan until, as we headed into January 2020, we began to suspect that something out of our control may influence proceedings, and we were right.
When the announcement came on 23rd March that the UK was going into lockdown everyone went into shock – what were we going to do? Too much time and budget had been invested to just walk away – what were the alternatives?
Once the initial shock had subsided, Jan began to explore viable options and, as many businesses had moved into the online environment, she started to think – what if she could move BFS online? It would be a massive undertaking as it involved not just the delivery of lectures, but of exercise classes and (in the live version) hands-on workshops teaching therapists how to work with fascia. A viable alternative would have been to simply reschedule BFS for May 2021 – looking now at the inevitable continuation of the Covid19 situation, thank goodness her gut decision was that going online was the best option.
What Happened Next?
In summary, what then happened was amazing. Jan decided to go for it and then we had to reset the agenda. This was tricky as a couple of speakers were very worried about the pandemic and therefore, unfortunately, felt unable to join us. We reworked the schedule and sourced an online conference platform to enable us to recreate the ‘live’ BFS as much as possible giving as much networking and human connection as we could in the online environment. We then waited with bated breath as we offered the option of refunds to existing ticket holders.
Emotions were still really high at this point, with none of the hands-on therapists able to work at all and so many uncertain how badly the pandemic would affect them; there were still so many unknowns. This uncertainty did result in about a third of the attendees deciding not to join us, but then in the subsequent following two weeks we gained interest from a new audience – an online audience who were isolated, desperate to be involved in a community event focusing on their favourite subject and so grateful to be kept occupied for five days by interesting, high profile speakers. Rimu Marketing’s role during the time of transition was to support with decisions on pricing, the deployment of regular communication to the attendees and the evolution of the website content and messaging.
The event was a roaring success with compliments flooding in from around the world. Run over five days by Jan and her production team, BFS Online delivered over 45 hours of speakers, workshops and activity sessions for 300 attendees. The diversity of people joining BFS Online was also different than anticipated, as they were no longer restricted by the physical practicality of having to be in Birmingham for a weekend. Many joined from around the world, including South America, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Japan and Iceland.
Here is what some of the delegates had to say:
“Just wanted to say a big thank you for the British Fascia Symposium…what an amazing success, THANK YOU! You put so much time and energy into this and just letting you know it is hugely appreciated by many of us therapists out there. I feel very privileged to have been a part of it.”
“I’m sure you are deservedly thrilled with the BFS 20 success. Congratulations on the amazing job you and the team have done. I have learned so much in the past few days and my book budget has already spontaneously combusted.😊”
It was an incredible five days and Jan should be really proud of her achievements. This is a perfect example of how a business can pivot and respond to a change in circumstances. As a direct result of this experience it has opened up a whole world of possibility for Jan in the online world. Jan is currently working on a new, innovative and exciting project, due to launch very soon – watch this space!
But for now, we look forward to seeing what BFS 2022 has in store, if you would like to register to hear about our next event please click here.
“I could not have turned BFS live into a hugely successful online conference without support and Sophie went above and beyond to support me during the two months of intensive work it took to reinvent the event, as well as during the five days of broadcasting. It was a team effort and she was a strong part of that team – I’m so delighted with the result, thank you.”
If you are looking to set up an online event and need some support in implementing the marketing, please do get in touch to arrange your no obligation discovery call.