With a vision to transform a small annual in-person meeting into a virtual event open to all, last year a team at SAP got to work and set a goal of attracting 10,000 online attendees. There was no playbook, and many risks were taken.

Innovate LIVE drew more than 51,000 live views and over 200,000 views over subsequent weeks, becoming SAP’s largest online event to date.

As a result, the company has been officially recognized by the 26th Annual Communicator Awards with an “Award of Distinction” in the Live Events category and an “Award of Excellence” in the Technology category.

With more than 6,000 entries received from across the U.S. and around the world, the Communicator Awards is one of the largest and most competitive award programs honoring creative achievements for communications professionals.

Innovate LIVE discussion
Photo courtesy of Faith Maginley

“With Innovate LIVE, we tested new ideas ranging from content to technology to promotion,” said Siddharth Taparia, then head of the Global Partner Ecosystem and Small and Midsize (SME) Marketing team at SAP. Now head of Experience Marketing, Taparia envisioned the event out of the necessity to reach a large group of customers and his desire to push the envelope by creating a unique experience in the industry. “It was an experiment in unchartered territory, and there was no guarantee it would be a success,” he shared. “But I’m glad it was. And I’m extremely proud of the team’s efforts in earning two Communicator Awards.”

Produced November 5, 2019, Innovate LIVE was designed to drive SME awareness and demand generation by showcasing SAP customer and partner stories. The 90-minute broadcast was hosted by media personality and small and midsize business influencer Ramon Ray, and livestreamed on the company’s event platform as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Special guest Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media evangelist and entrepreneur, offered advice for companies large and small on best practices for success.

“Being honored with two Communicator Awards is an excellent validation of our efforts,” said Ira Simon, vice president of Global Partner Ecosystem and SME Marketing at SAP. “We tried something completely new and different with Innovate LIVE, and the results were really powerful. Additionally, thanks to that event, we now have a model for many of the ‘virtual’ events currently in development due to COVID-19.”

“What made Innovate LIVE such a unique experience for me was the amazing format: multi-camera shots, three stages, and a ton of great content packed into 90 minutes,” Ray said. “Plus, I always enjoy working with the fantastic team at SAP: friendly, first-class, and focused. The Communicator Awards are a well deserved honor.”

All winners for the Communicator Awards are hand-selected by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts (AIVA), an invitation-only group consisting of top-tier professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative, and marketing firms. AIVA members include executives from organizations such as Airtype Studio, Big Spaceship, Conde Nast, Coach, Disney, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Estee Lauder, Fry Hammond Barr, Lockheed Martin, MTV Networks, Pitney Bowes, rabble+rouser, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Time, Inc, Victoria’s Secret, Wired, and Yahoo! To learn more about the AIVA, visit www.aiva.org.