Connecting Brand and Engaging Audience with Smart Content


  • Annual event required fresh, compelling content to drive attendance and value for a seller audience that had “seen it all”
  • Needed a strong, cohesive narrative to establish consistency across the experience
  • An already diverse and quickly growing audience was looking for a wide variety of topics and had disparate needs - eBay needed to speak to all sellers but keep on brand with consistent messaging

Project details:

The biggest focus for eBay Open - an annual event for the seller community - was the content. In creating the strategy for an overall narrative and experience, it was imperative to focus on delivering key messages to an active, diverse seller audience, and show ROI for eBay and the attendees alike. With a growing base that has ever-increasingly complex needs, the challenge for eBay was to deliver content throughout Open that was compelling, approachable, and educational .

Sparks created and developed content for the multi day program, year over year - from new compelling presentation styles to graphics and animation. We looked at formats of every individual session and re-configured with an eye towards variety and appeal. A number of original videos were created for presenters to keep things dynamic, along with a compelling show identity that helped solidify a look and feel and extend an updated brand. By applying a content strategy to the entire program, the end result for eBay was a cohesive experience for the attendee and a strong narrative that helped increase press attention, attendee acquisition, and sold-out status. New sessions were developed, external speakers were curated, coaching sessions and rehearsals all underlined the narrative to deliver a content-rich eBay Open that told a rich brand story.

Rather than stick with a more traditional general session, Sparks helped eBay flip the script and create a space that was a source of energy, information, announcement and empowerment. A celebratory atmosphere was created - a set that changed color in line with the brand spectrum at the drop of a hat, flexible set design that enabled content to shine, a live house band or DJ pumped the crowd up with hit music, and audience participation was encouraged. Breakouts that ran simultaneously throughout the 3-day event were active Q&A sessions with varied formats. A town hall style pop-up theater centrally located on the expo floor provided a public forum for questions in a more intimate setting. Community areas provided a casual gathering place with more of a coffee-shop style atmosphere.

The variety of storytelling provided eBay with a different platforms to deliver messaging, and gave attendees a choice in how to steer their experience. and enriched the audience experience, catering to their individual needs. eBay was able to host their largest number of sellers ever at a new, refreshed Open conference with major returns.

eBay Open Content Strategy-- The Results & Sparks Scope

  • Created full storyline and narrative for experience that drove attendee journey and content creation for a full experience
  • Oversaw full program content, including format, graphics, and programming ensuring consistency of messaging and design
  • Developed and created original videos and stage presentations, , including script writing and video production
  • Changed up the traditional format of workshops and breakouts to introduce more variety and tie topics to Sellers’ needs based on pre-event survey data
  • Crafted narrative to drive experience and make sure storytelling was continued throughout entire event
  • Consulted over 50 speakers on session development
  • Researched and contracted external speakers
  • Developed content for post-show engagement on website