“We need to do this event in the fall, but who knows if we’ll be able to?” We’re hearing this from a lot of clients. Take heart: there is a way forward.
As we all know, the point of business-critical events is to reach an audience with a message. Regardless of whether the event is in-person or online, content is what matters most. You still need a well-crafted message and a thoughtful, strategic way to deliver it. The elements we write and produce -- speeches, graphics, video, etc – remain relevant, usable and transferable regardless of whether an event is online or in-person.
A “convertible event” approach allows clients to move ahead with live event planning during this uncertain time by developing content with the understanding that they may need to pivot from an in-person event to an online event by a certain date. Having this as an option from the outset, and producing content with this option in mind, frees all of us from trying to predict the future of social distancing.
Clients have always asked us to find the right venue to house their event. By the same token, clients now ask us to guide them to the right platform to host their event. As is the case with in-person events, different online events require different and specific settings.
Here are some examples of events and online pivots from this new world:
- A pharmaceutical client is moving ahead with planning their live event for this fall, but we have a clear convertible plan in place should we need to pivot to online. If that happens, we’ll utilize a 3D platform that mimics the live experience with lounge/chat social spaces, expo areas for partners, corporate divisional “booths,” and General Session and Breakout “rooms” where the presentations and videos can be housed.
- Early on in the pandemic, a client made a last-minute decision to go ahead with their 500-person meeting, but to have 100 out-of-towners stay home and watch it via livestream. Our live meeting was already built, including scenic, staging, audio-visual, and media. As it happened, we already had cameras and livestream in place, so much of the pivot infrastructure was already there. The main change was adding two-way online collaboration in the breakout sessions so that presenters and at-home attendees were able to interact.
- A media client was looking for a solution to virtually replicate their live fan experience. We proposed a combination of social media fan engagement ideas and a virtual environment with interactive spaces rolled out on a schedule that tied to broadcast content airings. To add a tangible element to the at-home experience, we proposed shipping swag to attendee homes.
- For a live pharmaceutical meeting, we changed to online at the last minute and used the company’s intranet to deploy all the videos and graphics we had produced. We also produced a live executive leadership presentation of the from their headquarters. They were able to utilize their full investment in content development.
- We produce about 25 award winners videos every year for an association event. In the interest of keeping this key component of member recognition, we are now posting them online, which actually gives them a broader audience.
We hope this serves to offer at least some vision of ways to approach events in our new world. We welcome all interest.