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Virtual Events & Hybrid Events

Motus Experiential is savvy on the complexities of hosting the perfect blend of in-person, virtual events, and hybrid events for a seamless experience. The case study below outlines how Motus Experiential helped create and manage Branchfood’s annual B2B Food Edge conference.

BranchFood: Food Edge Conference 2022

We partnered with Branchfood to help its founder identify a business growth strategy, new business opportunities, and partnerships. Also, we co-founded Food Edge, a first-of-it’s-kind annual summit, bringing together the food industry’s largest brands alongside startups and industry innovators. We worked with Branchfood to oversee everything from marketing, logistics, P&L, and event strategy.

Food Edge Conference is a three-day thought leadership program powered by Branchfood and Motus Experiential. This B2B food event brings the hottest trends in both technology and sustainability to medium and large food companies. Through this program, Branchfood aims to congregate the industry’s largest brands, dynamic startups, disruptive leaders, and leading researchers to discuss the future of food. Other goals are to explore trends, strategies, and actionable insights to help industry stakeholders succeed. The event launched as an in-person conference in 2018, but pivoted to online in 2020 due to COVID. In 2022 we took a hybrid production approach. This was done to extend our audience reach and build on the positive attributes an in-person event provides.

Why Event Marketing?

In 2017 Branchfood approached Motus Experiential to help conceptualize what an in-person conference could look like from a revenue and branding perspective. Motus Experiential has many years of experience working with brands and corporations on their event marketing strategy. Branchfood facilitates the connections that catalyze food innovation and unite the community of food entrepreneurs, industry experts, corporate leaders, and investors who are passionate about improving our food system for generations to come. Since its founding in 2015, they have supported 800+ food founders, hosted 200+ events, and formed 180+ industry partnerships. We launched Branch Venture Group, a membership organization, and angel investment network. It fosters connections between investors and promising food ventures. Since its launch, it has invested over $3.3MM across 14 portfolio companies.

Branchfood brought to the partnership two critical elements to any event marketing strategy, content, and audience. But they needed Motus Experiential to contribute budget management, partnerships, logistic support, and business development. Branchfood’s goal was to expand on their existing educational programming model into a more recognizable annual conference that would deliver on the FOMO in the food industry.

In-person, to Online, to Hybrid

After 2 years of a successful in-person conference, Food Edge was picking up traction in the industry as being the go-to conference for innovation. Then in 2020, all momentum changed with COVID. We did what most events and conferences did and quickly pivoted to an online-only format. Now that people were working from home, digital platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and others were flooded with business meetings, social gatherings, and conferences. The one area of feedback that most online attendees complained about was the lack of good networking. We continued the online format through 2021. Though, when it was time to plan for 2022, we made the decision to test the waters and offer a sampling of in-person programming and networking elements. The idea was to still provide all content online and create multiple COVID-safe, in-person gatherings that accelerated networking.

We partnered with Silicon Valley Bank and Sam Adams, two companies looking to host events at their new spaces in Boston. The purpose was to expose their culture and companies to a new audience. Sam Adams opened a new taproom at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. It has a space on the second floor dedicated to private parties. Sam Adams was looking for a way to integrate into Food Edge. So, when their space officially opened in early January 2022, we decided to host a networking event open to all ticket holders. The programming included a few words from Branchfood founder, Lauren Abda and a representative from Sam Adams. The main focus was to accelerate networking between conference speakers, sponsors, and attendees.

With Silicon Valley Bank and their need to expose a new audience to their space on State Street in Boston – and our need to create more COVID-safe networking – we decided to host two “watch events”. A watch event allowed Food Edge attendees to gather in one location, watch the programming together, and network in-between sessions. SVB provided breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks for all attendees and Branchfood initiated connections and conversations.

Hybrid is Here to Stay

With the combination of online programming and three in-person events, Food Edge was able to offer the hybrid event experience. It offered great programming and networking opportunities which can not be replicated on any of the online platforms. In the end, the Sam Adams Tap Room networking event was sold out. Also, the two-day watch party was at full capacity, proving that attendees were eager to gather and network at conferences.


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