January 16, 2019 Michael Mayday
Plante Moran knows its taxes. After all, it is one of the largest certified public accounting and professional services in the United States with more than 3,100 staff members. As a leader in the accounting industry, Plante Moran is under constant pressure to prove its expertise and insights, expand its client roster and inform its audience of the near-constant changes and adjustments to American tax codes.
To cement itself as a leader in the accounting industry, engage its accounting audience and educate at scale, Plante Moran makes expert use of the ON24 platform for its webinars. The firm is so skillful in its webinar use, that it submitted a webinar to the 2018 Webinars That Rocked contest. And we have to say — Plante Moran knows how to put together a tightly-crafted event.
The Why Behind the Webinar
Plante Moran’s typical webinars needed to serve the dual purpose of impressing attendees while educating them at the same time. So, the company created a webinar, “Tax Reform: 2018 Year-end Tax Planning for Businesses” in the hope it would help craft a great brand experience highlighting the organization’s professionalism, its breadth of knowledge — through both its presenters and its resources — and recruit attendees to future webinars. The company also offered certifications through ON24’s certification widget, allowing finance professionals to acquire continuing professional education credits should they need them to maintain a license.
How It Rocked
Clean Console and Consistent Branding
First thing’s first: just take a look at its console! The main image is an even grey/black combo and is featured in its media player, its slide widget and its main background. This consistency allows the color to pop where it counts; take a look at Plante Moran’s brand name, its squiggle logo and the widget bar at the bottom of the console — each share the company’s logo and a similar color scheme. Even the Q&A button matches the firm’s style.
Next, take a quick look at the top. Plante Moran’s official logo and motto are featured prominently, tying the brand’s imagery to the event. One quick look at Plante Moran’s logo and you’ll begin to see it everywhere. We already mentioned its slides and media player, but the firm went the extra step and inserted its logo in its resource list (next to relevant tax guides) and a widget button. Its rare to see such a well thought-out and consistent style and you can see the subtle, but significant, differences when you compare this new console to their previous one:
To be fair, this is not a bad console. It’s clean-cut and has good branding itself. But it lacks the unified presentation of its new console and doesn’t let the webinar’s interactive features, like its widgets, pop out to the audience.
Continuing Professional Education for its Audience
Accountants need to know of new developments within their field and are often required to maintain a certain number of CPE credits to maintain a license to practice. For Plante Moran, this one-two combination of needs means the firm can identify accountants, see where their concerns are (via CPE-earning polls) and better cater content to address the needs of its audience.
Plante Moran places its CPEs offer front and center, highlighting the “Certification” widget and clearly detailing the requirements for accreditation in a slide and during its live broadcast. For example, the company clearly states that participants must respond to 75 percent of all questions and accrue a viewing time of 50 minutes. The firm also gives clear breaks allowing attendees to respond to polls. Plante Moran also takes the time at the end of the webinar to remind attendees to collect their certificate by clicking on the “Certification” widget.
Finally, Plante Moran ensured attendees could interact with the webinar and its panel. In addition to CPE credits, encouraged attendees to ask questions of its four-person panel via the Q&A widget, connect with panelists via email through the Speaker Bio widget and to download its many available resources. The panel also took breaks to answer questions from the Q&A chat, highlight polls and, at the very end, to ask its audience to fill out a survey assessing the webinar’s usefulness as an educational tool.
Overall, Plante Moran produced an excellent webinar and a great webinar console template it can use going forward. A fantastic example of a webinar that rocks.