B2B media group Momentum Media has been recognised in the Australian Financial Review’s BOSS Most Innovative Companies Top 10 for creating a virtual event technology that it is now licensing to other organisations.
Momentum Media has been recognised by the Australian Financial Review for its speedy conceptualisation and delivery of a platform called THE BALLROOM to ensure the continuity of its business awards programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The media group provides market and business intelligence to financial, real estate, legal, defence, aviation, and SME business sectors across print, digital, events, broadcast, research, and social platforms. It holds 17 business awards programs throughout the year for each of its brands.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia a number of industry sectors, like aviation, tourism, hospitality and events, were decimated, while others struggled to keep pace with a rapidly changing situation.
As one of Australia’s largest business events companies, Momentum was in the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis, but was quick to evolve, transforming its business awards into live-streamed events.
The outcome of its swift adaptation to the environment has resulted in its recognition as one of the best examples of innovation this year by the Australian Financial Review.
The quick pivot to THE BALLROOM
To continue its business awards programs in a virtual environment, Momentum created THE BALLROOM, a piece of tech that combines a range of platforms, processes and utilities to deliver an Australian-first live-streamed interactive business awards experience.
Momentum Director Alex Whitlock likened the core function of THE BALLROOM to the iPhone’s ability to aggregate a range of pre-existing utilities (email, telephone, internet) with a slick UX/tech overlay.
“Rather than a one-way transmission, THE BALLROOM facilitates an immersive live awards experience,” he said.
“We do this by delivering ‘traditional’ business awards with over 30 categories via THE BALLROOM. This enables us to connect finalists, their friends and colleagues with other participants, the industry as whole as well as our sponsors.
“We connect the winners with everyone attending – sometimes running into the thousands – in an up-close and personal manner through live-streamed video. This has never been done before in Australian business awards and it’s an amazing experience.”
THE BALLROOM has now been deployed across a range of Momentum’s business awards, including the Australian Accounting Awards, Australian Broking Awards, Australian Law Awards, REB Awards and the Women in Finance Awards.
It will also serve as the backbone to a range of other awards in 2020.
THE BALLROOM platform has now also been made available to external organisations and third parties via Momentum’s events agency Momentum Connect.
Major step forward
Whitlock added that the development and launch of THE BALLROOM has been a game-changer.
“Previously, we were shackled to specific geographic locations to host our awards, now it is borderless.
“We can now connect and engage with finalists and participants nationwide and internationally, ensuring inclusiveness and backing our communities to excel in this environment irrespective of any localised COVID-19 conditions or restrictions,” he said.
While COVID-19 was the catalyst for evolution, THE BALLROOM has been the utility for transforming the way we deliver business awards, Whitlock continued.
“We’re more connected with our audiences and communities than ever before. The depth of our relationships, matched with the knowledge of our sectors, world-class content production and a direct digital conduit into the offices and homes of Australia’s professional communities, means we’re in a unique position to thrive,” he said.
Seamless execution of strategic agenda
Whitlock was quick to back Momentum’s ability to deliver to its communities during COVID-19 with a clear strategy set in March this year to ensure continuity of its events business, despite restrictions to in-person events.
“The speed at which this crisis unfolds domestically and globally has deeply impacted everyone as we try and keep events in perspective while looking towards a return to normality,” he said at the time.
“While we have little control over the conditions we find ourselves in, we can adapt to the environment – and Momentum is in a strong position to ensure we keep our communities connected, engaged and better informed.
Whitlock said that setting a clear strategic agenda, and delivering it via the development of THE BALLROOM, was a testament to the depth of talent at Momentum matched with a positive can-do attitude that excels in a time crisis.
“Our team – executives, event production, sales, engineering and marketing – interpreted the challenges posed by COVID-19 as an opportunity to get behind our communities.
“With the nation in lockdown, we are bringing our communities together during the biggest crisis of our generation – unifying them from their lounge rooms, dining tables, boardrooms and offices from across the nation, helping them to engage, network and celebrate success,” he said.
NPN spoke with Whitlock in June about Momentum’s approach to the COVID-19 crisis and his top tips for niche media businesses in navigating the new business environment.