Case Study: BERNINA Event Shifts to Virtual

Case Study: BERNINA Event Shifts to Virtual

Like nearly all organizations that scheduled in-person events in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted BERNINA of America LLC’s annual gathering. Switzerland-based BERNINA is the world’s premier manufacturer of sewing, embroidery and quilting machines. The company has relied on a live, highly social annual event that is critical to its sales and distribution strategy, at which BERNINA unveils new products and conducts training sessions. But when COVID-19 struck, with its sales and growth on the line, BERNINA suddenly had to explore other options.

BERNINA is a 125-year-old company known for innovation, and it embraced innovative solutions to its event challenges. The company partnered with beedance to develop and host a virtual meeting, including Virtual BERNINA University. VBU, which began as a virtual event project, resulted in a significant digital transformation for the company, and it has become an ongoing resource for its community of distributors and sewists.

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Digital transformation

Translating BERNINA’s in-person event into an engaging virtual experience required creative problem-solving. BERNINA mandates training for distributors to sell its products, and the annual event traditionally includes a networking reception, sales awards and face-to-face meetings to sell inventory. A core component of every event is the BERNINA Store, a magnet for attendees.

Meeting BERNINA’s requirements for the annual event was tricky. Nine of the scheduled annual event sessions had to be live, while two could be recorded ahead of time. Ten sessions were hands-on, with audience interaction, and initially 22 sessions could be accessed on demand. The beedance team re-created the BERNINA Store as an e-commerce experience on Shopify, set up video cameras and streamed live demonstrations. The reception and awards became virtual, too, with point-of-view video and strong social media components.



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