Dept Festival & WhatsApp Business

The visitors of Dept Festival received program updates on their mobile phone via WhatsApp so they wouldn't miss a thing.

Digital agency the scoop of WhatsApp program updates

If you've ever visited an event, you're bound to recognize this. There is so much to do and see that time flies. So fast, that you forgot your favorite performance is about to start. Which stage was it at? And where did you leave that flyer with the time table?

For the visitors of Dept Festival last September, this situation won’t be familiar. They received program updates via WhatsApp so they wouldn't miss a thing. We talked to Richelle Rondel, Creative Brand Manager at Dept about this. 

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Digital is changing the world

Richelle: "Dept is a full-service digital agency that originated from 20 specialized companies in the digital sector, and has over 1300 employees worldwide. With so many specialists employed, there is a lot of knowledge to share. With this in mind, the Dept festival was created 4 years ago. Employees are flown in from all over the world for a crash course in the latest digital innovations."

Digital is changing the world. It is changing the way people live together, and how products and services are designed, made and delivered. Digital offers opportunities to bring people and businesses together in innovative ways. And that's exactly what Dept demonstrates at the Dept Festival. "During the Dept Festival, employees catch up with inspiring presentations. External (international) speakers are also invited to share their knowledge. Of course, it would be a shame if we wouldn’t share all this knowledge with our customers. So, our customers and business relations are invited to spend this day with us."

No more fear of missing out

This year's Dept Festival was the biggest edition to date. "In addition to our 1000+ employees, almost 2000 customers attended. Besides that, the program has been expanded with more talks and unique experiences. Brands we work with became part of these experiences. Take Tesla for example, with their networking speed date. Someone enters the care on the left, someone else joins in on the right. On the dashboard screen, statements were made to get the conversation going. A lot of crazy things like a graffiti artist, and futuristic AR-experiences completed the day. 

The ideal solution

Clearly, Dept Festival is the event you don't want to miss. And where you don't want to miss a thing! This year, Dept introduced the ideal solution for this. Richelle: "We already had the festival newspaper with the program. Until this year, there was no real mobile communication. A newspaper is easily lost, but the mobile phone is in everyone's hands all day. That’s why we now sent program updates to your mobile all day long! We are digital a digital agency after all, aren't we?" 

WhatsApp updates

Dept came to us via one of our WhatsApp partners, SaySimple. As a customer of SaySimple, Dept has access to the WhatsApp Business solution from our platform. In the run-up to the festival, a small marketing campaign was launched to bring WhatsApp's service to the attention of the public.

"For example, it was included in our newsletter, which is sent to everyone who registered for the Dept Festival. We had set up a landing page where visitors could easily register for the update service by entering their mobile number. Moreover, we also handed out a flyer on the day itself, with a QR code to register on the spot."

whatsapp updates

Message Templates

This WhatsApp opt-in clearly stated that it only concerned updates on the day itself, so certainly no spam or advertising. 

Dept uses Message Templates for the program updates. Together with SaySimple, they have created their own templates for this. These were sent to the visitors during the day. Not only were participants actively informed, but the enthusiastic updates also contributed to the real Dept Festival experience.

• Hi {{1}}, thanks for signing up for our Dept Festival WhatsApp updates! Now you don't need to worry about a single thing on September the 6th. We've got you covered. 🙋🏻‍♀ If you have any questions, let us know.

• Update: Welcome to ‘Big Tech’: from China to Mars in The Circus, two awesome stories on Tech for Good in the Warehouse 🌍 or join some live hacking in The Dome. After this block, it’s time to eat! Make sure you try out our delicious burgers from Beyond Meat! 🍔 When everyone’s satisfied and full, we’ll meet you at The Beach to close the day with our friends from Justdiggit: be prepared for a little rain dancing with The Flexican. 🌧 And, of course, we hope to see you at 7PM, when it’s time to unwind and dance in The Circus with Sojuju and Rough&Maximoes! 🥳

• Update: It’s lunchtime! 🍽 Check out the Tesla Speeddate experience or get active and join the Dundu workshop on Puppet Thinking 👩‍🎨in The Dome. And while you’re at it, stop by our nostalgic arcade games corner which also includes futuristic AR experiences. 🎮

Customer Care Window

As you can see, Dept also offered the possibility to respond to these WhatsApp updates. This opened a Customer Care Window. Behind the scenes, someone was ready to answer any incoming questions. "We were prepared for many incoming questions, but in the end most of the responses came from the last update," says Richelle.

Last but not least update: It’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed Dept Festival 2019, got inspired and are headed home with some new contacts and a million new ideas.

"We mainly received enthusiastic reactions to the WhatsApp updates. Not only via WhatsApp, but also face-to-face. Apparently, our proactive information flow had already answered most of the questions. And of course, we didn't really ask questions in the messages ourselves, so there weren't many conversations. But at least we were prepared for it."

Positive reactions

In the end, about 10% of the visitors signed up for WhatsApp updates. "This was, of course, the first time we had used WhatsApp in this way. So it was a bit like inventing the wheel. And also for our visitors, the service was new. Considering the positive reactions to the service, we may use WhatsApp updates again next year! And then, of course, we can take this year's learnings with us, but we can also expand our marketing campaign." In any case, we are already looking forward to the 2.0 version on the anniversary edition of the Dept Festival. 

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