Avalara – a tax compliance software company – wanted to design an online event that was both engaging and impactful. They worked with Shiraz Creative to create the ‘Avalara CRUSH City Virtual: The Future of Global Tax Compliance,’ with the goal of helping a variety of businesses better understand trends in the global tax arena and navigate their tax compliance challenges. 

“Knowing virtual events were struggling to keep participants engaged, Avalara came to us to break through the limits of the medium with a new and entirely fresh solution,” said Shiraz Creative founder, Shai Tertner. “Our team of creative thinkers and doers produced a highly bespoke, immersive virtual experience that created curiosity, piqued interest, prompted extensive interaction and brought to life the personality of the Avalara brand.”

CRUSH City – a 3D, urban-inspired environment – was divided into 18 different distinct “neighborhoods,” each focusing on a different industry or product/service.  Attendees were then free to travel through their areas of interest, when between scheduled keynote speeches and appointments.

“Taxes can be complicated, complex, frustrating and boring to many,” said Alex Jones, Shiraz Creative’s senior account manager of experiential. “Understanding these underlying perceptions, we narrowed our creative approach to inspire, engage and empower each participant. This led us to propose presenting the content of the event in a city-like environment, where attendees could wander on their own and encounter specialized content topics collected in various ‘buildings’ they could explore throughout the city.”

The neighborhoods included on-demand industry keynotes and topic-specific videos, roundtable discussions, and downloadable documents and tax tools. An easy-to-use navigation tool allowed attendees to quickly visit different areas. 

Tertner explained that the self-guided format made sense as, “attention spans for content delivered via presentations is much more limited than in a live event. The self-exploration aspect of CRUSH City Virtual compensated for this, keeping attendees engaged by following their own motivation to interact with content at their own pace. Many virtual events are prescribed journeys, and we wanted the attendees to have complete freedom to go where they please and connect with the relevant people as easily as possible.”