How to Elevate Your Digital Live Event to the Next Level
The Digital Transformation of Events
How to Elevate Your Digital
Live Event to the Next Level
June 16, 2020
The Digital Transformation of Events
How to Elevate
to the Next Level
June 16, 2020
“The Times They Are a-Changing”
As Bob Dylan so rightly prophesied back in 1964, “The Times They Are a-Changin.’” And although some parts of the country are slowly trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy (for now), many aspects of the events industry will never be the same. Or at least, not for the next few years. For some, the impact of COVID-19 has been severe, and for those who rely on in-person events, the ramifications are just as concerning.
Think about all the live events that have been canceled over the last few months. The Olympic Games. The European Cup. Concerts. Tours. Trade Shows. Galas. Fundraisers. Comedy Shows. The list goes on and on, and the message is being projected loud and clear – find a way to make live events work in this new reality or face the very real threat of extinction.
Can live events really happen without close proximity and face-to-face interaction?
In a word, yes. Will they be the same? Of course not. But then again, our industries are constantly evolving and changing to adapt to the world around us, and change isn’t something to fear.
Take a look at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Big Virtual Climb” event that happened on June 13th. Usually, this event asks people to climb the 61 flights of stairs in the Salesforce Tower to raise money for charity. Obviously, having thousands of people climbing in close quarters for hours wasn’t going to happen this year. So, they pivoted. The event became virtual, and the Cinebody crowdsourcing tool was used to help promote the big day. If an event like that can become virtual, any event can.
On a bigger scale, the “One World: Together At Home” event received International attention and raised over $127 million to battle COVID-19. It was a star-studded event, but although there was praise for the concert and the feeling of unity it gave us all, there were issues. As the NME put it, some moments felt “like a random musical Chatroulette,” with the overall wrapup of the evening being that the event “feels depressing rather than celebratory and life-affirming. Rather than being given permission to smile, it would have been nice to have been offered more reasons to do so.”
So what can we take from these pros and cons to ensure a genuine elevation of a digital event? After all, virtual events are the only option right now, and as USA Today and AdWeek have pointed out, they could be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
How to create a successful virtual live event – the basics.
Someone (maybe us) will write a book on this at some point. But for right now, what are the key elements that a successful virtual event needs, and what should you be doing to ensure you really can have tens of thousands of people not only attend, but rave about it?
1. Pre-recorded content will be essential. You cannot rely on doing everything by live stream. Not only will it be exhausting for all involved to always “be on,” but it helps mix up the kind of content you’re pushing out. Think about keynotes from different speakers or content that the likes of SNL and the late shows are embracing right now. If you can find a way to include footage from fans and brand ambassadors, that would make it even stronger. And again, a tool like Cinebody can help with that kind of remote video production.
2. Don’t give the viewers a passive experience. The key to any live event is the feeling of personal involvement, being “in the moment” and having great stories to share. If you’re a consumer simply watching an event play out live as a passer-by, it’s not going to feel as engaging. Use social media. Consider live “Ask Me Anything” forums. Get people chatting, and take advantage of the way video games use real-time chats to make the multi-player games more fun.
3. Remember the brand. Your brand. The client’s brand. Whatever brand is at the center of the event. Make this virtual event feel as branded as one that would be held at a convention center or a sports stadium. It may be intimate for the viewer at home, but the way you brand the whole experience can make it larger than life.
4. Capitalize on sponsorships. Can you turn your virtual event into an opportunity for other brands to co-opt? Use the space you have and get creative with it. Maybe you can add in some awesome “surprise and delight” giveaways. Imagine telling one attendee that someone is going to be at their door in 20 minutes with an armful of SWAG and a fresh pizza. Those shirts that get thrown into the crowds…throw them virtually with promo codes and giveaways that they can use there and then, with the winners filming their reactions in real-time with Cinebody for everyone to see.
Remember, just because the world of the live event has changed, it does not mean the world is over. In fact, we may well be witnessing the birth of a new, and very lucrative, way of connecting with people live…it just will be more face-time and less face-to-face.