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Recreating the Open Data Institute’s annual Summit event in a virtual environment and cementing the ODI’s position as the leading data authority

The brief


In 2020, the Open Data Institute (ODI) challenged Allegory Communications and partner agencies The Business Narrative and Philpott Design to deliver its annual flagship Summit in a virtual environment for the first time. We all agreed to use this opportunity to create a richly immersive event that was more diverse and inclusive than ever before.

Very well done everyone! Packaging and channeling ODI energy into an online event was a huge challenge, but you’ve done it. Virtual high-5s and hugs all round!

Our response

Our strategy was to use our broadcasting expertise to capture the essence of the live Summit and keep people energised over the course of nine hours. We commissioned an original poem from spoken word artist Mr Gee to anchor the event and generate buzz amongst our target audiences.

We used professional broadcasting techniques to create 22 individual films that broke up the live panels and added texture to the event, mixing live-streamed video with studio-based discussions and pre-recorded content to captivate attendees and keep them connected to the Summit programme and community throughout the day.

Our big flagship media story involved a collaboration with partners Mumsnet and Barnardos to produce a headline-grabbing report about children’s lives during the pandemic. We launched this at the Summit and generated unprecedented national media coverage in support of the event.

Event specialists The Business Narrative designed our ambitious programme over two stages, with numerous ‘fringe’ events running in roundtables and content booths. Philpott Design produced our striking blue-and-orange visual identity, to ‘dress’ the online platform and physical spaces, creating a user experience that was both intuitive and immersive from start to finish.

The outcome

Our innovative approach turned the challenges of the pandemic into advantages: pivoting into an experiential virtual event that captivated an audience of 1,071 people from 72 countries for nine hours.

We were able to position the ODI as the leading authority on all aspects of data. Our media relations work generated 100+ media pieces (incl. TelegraphFT, and Mirror Online) with a potential audience reach of 32+ million people. There were 3,000+ contributions to the live chat during the event and the ODI website received 7,000 landing page visits on the day (7x the normal daily rate!).

We attracted a global audience, including target sectors beyond the traditional ‘data sector’ – representatives from Department of Culture Media and Sport, Innovate UK, Office for National Statistics, Ofqual, Mastercard, Ocado, the National Lottery and VISA.

Attendee feedback was overwhelmingly positive, rated on average 9/10, with comments such as:“It’s by far the most slick and professional conference I’ve joined since the world had to shift entirely online.”

As a result of the event, the ODI attracted 30 new business and partnership leads and over 1,250 enquiries for ODI learning courses. Following publication of the flagship report, teaching union NASUWT expressed an interest in the ODI’s work and a desire to make better use of data in the education sector. Subsequently, the ODI has produced a follow-up report with the NASUWT.


Contact us to explore how Allegory can help your organisation with a campaign like this.

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