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How core became the answer

Why we did it

A confession by Michael Gwilliam

Today was the day, our final software demonstration. I’d be lying if I said we’d tried every single platform on the market but it was beginning to feel that way.  I was confident we’d spoken to all the major players and yet still, nothing quite fit. Weeks of research, testing, demos, questioning and it all came down to this.

Tired and frustrated, as the demo started, I remained positive that we could find a solution. The site looked professional, the presenter was confident – so far so good, right?

Realisation sets in

Question after question all came back empty, dashing my hopes within about 20 minutes. A sinking feeling began to set in, could it be virtual events were not the answer to our clients’ problems?

For me, this was the lowest moment of the past two months.

We make people happy… don’t we?

Since the crash of 2008, our business took on a new shape. The “jollies, as my friends liked to call them, had all dried up . ROI was key and we understood how important live events were to our customers’ sales and marketing strategies.

So, when we, along with every other business in our industry, stumbled at this next hurdle, it felt pretty dark. It felt like we’d failed.

For a company that lives by the motto “we make people happy”, not being able to deliver for our clients was unacceptable. That left us with two options. Find an online solution or sit it out and wait for the world to become normal again. The latter was beginning to look like our only option.

The journey begins

“Have we spoken to Tom?” I asked.

“Who’s Tom?” came back the reply.

It’s not unusual for me to have an idea floating around my head that I haven’t articulated to anyone but I still expect everybody to understand.

I had met Tom some years ago through a friend back home. He ran a publishing and content agency with strong ties to the golf industry.

“What if we built our own system?”

At that moment the journey began.

We had a clear idea about what we wanted – that’s why nothing on the market seemed suitable. Our standards were high. If we were going to provide a solution it needed to recreate a live event and be broadcast quality. 

A new type of venue

Software projects were not new to us. We’d developed hospitality fulfilment and rewards platforms for many a client. Yet, we’d never developed our own event space and our experience of live broadcasting was minimal.

It was then that I realised it was just a different type of venue. This we could do. This is what we’re good at; the management of the experience, the support, the creativity, the final execution.

So, we began thinking of the platform as the venue. Instead of doing a site visit in a brick and mortar environment, we were building our own virtual venue. All backed up by years of experience and a new sense of freedom.

The final part of the jigsaw was the broadcast quality production and content. The output needed to be creative and it had to be engaging. More than anything, it needed to be TV production quality to keep an audience’s attention and deliver for our clients.

We could do this!

We had the skills, knowledge and experience to create something special. Something with the customer journey at the heart.

We knew it would live up to live events because it was being created by event professionals. Plus the execution would be first-class thanks to our broadcast partner.

It was at that moment that core was born.

Embracing change

Coronavirus changed the world in a very short space of time. Peoples’ behaviour changed, what seemed like madness weeks ago started to feel normal. The embracing of technology was unbelievable, our Wednesday night Zoom quiz a testament to this.

So, we didn’t brush away the virtual solution. We focused on what our clients need and in turn, they felt confident we could deliver.

In six weeks, we took core from an idea to a functioning platform. We knew it could deliver everything our clients wanted and the response has been incredible.

How core became the answer (PDF: 2.84 MB)

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