CEMA is Bringing the Spirit of Nashville to Attendees for Virtual Summit

July 23, 2020
CEMA nashville

The Corporate Event Marketing Association had planned on providing attendees with a true Nashville experience as part of CEMA Summit 2020, which was to be held July 27-28 at JW Marriott Nashville. When the pandemic nixed a live gathering, organizers decided to incorporate the sights and sounds — and even tastes — into its now-virtual summit as part of its “Bringing Nashville to You” experience for attendees

In addition to creating a multimedia Music City theme on the conference home page, CEMA sent some of the city’s culinary treasures to attendees. That took the form of a gift box put together by Nashville-based Batch, a company that curates gifts made by small businesses across the country to provide an authentic taste of a city. 

“We're seeing a lot of events do this,” says Sam Davidson, Batch co-founder and CEO. “What they're saving on meals, lodging and other costs they can apply toward keeping attendees engaging virtually.”

Davidson said CEMA chose the most popular Batch gift option: the Everything Nice in Nashville Gift Batch, which he described as a little sugar and a little spice. “It offers recipients a smattering of some quintessential Nashville goods: grilling seasoning, locally made brittle, shortbread cookies, beef jerky and Southern pickles,” says Davidson, who pointed out that CEMA also added a personalized message and a branded baseball cap and water bottle.

As part of the run-up to the summit — which this year allows non-members to register as well — CEMA staffers have been holding weekly virtual happy hours. The happy hours provided a way to connect with members on a personal level and offered sneak peeks of the summit agenda, including time with opening keynote speaker Jon Acuff and Summit 2020 charitable partner Strings for Hope

In addition, CEMA designed a Virtual Hug contest that will continue throughout the summit. The contest uses a virtual photo booth by SnapBar where attendees can create a “hug” photo of themselves (or their pet, or a view from their window) and then add an overlay or stickers and the hashtags #CEMASummit2020 and #CEMAvirtualhug. 

The photographs are then used to populate a “Bringing Nashville to You” mosaic depicting the Grand Ole Opry (via interactive wall maker Luster) that is displayed on the Summit homepage. Top posters will be awarded hotel stays in Nashville; Boca Raton, Florida; and Hawaii.

“We created the #CEMAVirtualHug contest as a symbol of our warm friendships, deep regard for each other and our joy of being together,” says Kimberley Gishler, president and CEO of CEMA. “We’re not going to let digital distance stop us from connecting.” 

Nashville touches will be incorporated into the summit itself as well. In addition to the scheduled education sessions, events on the agenda include a singer-songwriter experience with local artists Rivers Rutherford and Brett James on July 27 and a happy hour sponsored by SongDivision on July 28. 

To replace the time attendees would have spent getting to know Nashville better, CEMA created a Summit 2020 Playground, which will feature a special cooking class with Chef Julia Sullivan, owner of Henrietta Red restaurant, and a mixology session with Seth Weinberg, head bartender at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak in Nashville. 

To learn more or to register for CEMA Summit 2020, click here.

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