Silver linings may feel few and far between these days. In the world of live events, Covid-19 forced everyone to find innovative ways to connect and take creative to new levels. The gleaming aesthetics and expensive sets of live events grew into to hostage-like zoom calls as events production rapidly turned virtual.
2020 has brought forth a new normal that we could have not foreseen. And the rest of year does not seem much more promising. So, let us embrace this new normal and continue to make the best out of any virtual experience.
Udi Ledergor, Forbes Communications Council Member and Gong CMO, in his latest article titled “Field Events Are Dead, But Here’s How You Can Nail Your Virtual Event” offer 6 lessons his company has learned during the pandemic. I summarize them here:
Do not try to replicate what you have done. Treat your virtual event as a novel format and prioritize attendee experience and content.
Focus on a creating a tight theme, tailored for a specific attendee persona. For audience engagement, it is recommended to have a mix of “celebrity” speakers, leading industry practitioners and your own company’s research/ updates.
Once you have planned for world-class educational content, add some entertainment.
Clean up your distribution list and focus on organic social media promotion. Your company’s channels depend on where your audience congregates online. Make it free, but require advance registration. Focus each promotional social media post on a specific benefit of the event- speaker, sweepstakes, music, action etc.
Day of Show
Keep it professional and human. Embrace the location from where your speakers are calling in from. Do not sweat it if a child or a pet runs into the camera frame. But do avoid dead moments. Consider running ads or moving onto a live music performance during planned breaks.
Be ready to follow up the next day after the event. Get those follow-up emails out and debrief your business dev team on the follow-ups made. To prevent follow-up emails getting stale, plan them ahead. They should be ready to go before the event begins.
Virtual events have plenty of technical moving parts. A multi-faceted, multi-platform approach will continue to be a crucial element for success. Always have a Plan B. Always make sure you have more than a few tech people running the show. Plan your event to the second. Practice and time and rehearse all sessions in advance. Attendees expect you to follow your schedule.
If possible, record some of the less interactive sessions to reduce the risk of technical issues. And continue to attend every event possible in your industry to learn what works and what does not.
You can read the full article here.
Here are some personal favorites that highlight creative ways to add entertainment to your event and connect with your audience during this new normal:
- Bumble and Babe’s “Moving on” campaign, giving $600 gift card for moving costs and $100 worth in wine to 5 people dealing with the pandemic breakups. (Remember to tag your newly single friend that needs help moving on via IG)
- Natural Light’s “Dorm From Home,” will give 1 winner a “Nattified mobile dorm unit” for the upcoming fall semester at home.
- Coke Studio sessions, Coca-Cola’s partnership with BeAPP. A 60-day initiative promising to democratize access to the world’s best artists. Plus, it included the donation feature for fans to support either the International Red Cross or the Red Crescent Movement to support Covid-19 relief efforts.
- Heineken’s stadium in a box will deliver a box with a backdrop, mini fridge, stadium chair and other swag to 23 winners.
- Burberry debuts luxury’s first social retail store in Shenzhen, China, powered by Tencent technology.