A Look at SIGGRAPH 2020
Monday, March 22, 2021
Taking a multi-industry, global show that attracts more than 18,000 participants annually—when held in-person, that is—and moving it virtual is no small feat. ACM SIGGRAPH, like many other associations, was forced to do this in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To say it was challenging would be an understatement.
But in August, SIGGRAPH 2020 exceeded the expectations of the organization and its community, achieving 3.2 million online content hits during the conference week and attracting more than 10,000 registered attendees from 95 countries.
In many ways, a virtual conference is just as big of an undertaking for associations as a live event. For SIGGRAPH 2020, originally set to take place July 19–23 in Washington, D.C., that process began 18 months in advance. The planning process starts when a group of 28 volunteers congregates to establish and propose visions across more than 20 programs, each of which cover different specialties and interest areas in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Those volunteers are guided by conference support staff through every step of the process.
SmithBucklin’s SIGGRAPH team plays a critical role in everything from the selection of virtual platform technology to identifying dates and reimaging how to run a press office remotely. The content selection process also moved to virtual, and promotional content channels became an increasingly critical vehicle to connect with the SIGGRAPH audience. One such example of this reimagining was the addition of complimentary webinar programming. Though a small test effort that served to complement ongoing content via the client’s blog and podcast, these free webinars were a touchpoint in helping to prepare the community for the kind of virtual education they might see during the remote conference.
Although 2020 is behind us, the challenges presented by the pandemic certainly are not. With SmithBucklin’s guidance and support, SIGGRAPH continues to adapt to the changing environment and to meet the expectations and needs of its audience every way it can.
For an in-depth look into the final SIGGRAPH 2020 conference experience, check out our case study.
Emily Drake is a marketing manager at SmithBucklin.
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