It’s 2020, a different face, a different time entirely.
Covid-19 has made corporate organizations re-think how they hold meetings and even make corporate events, events and meetings are now being held virtually, a lot of companies have decided to make their employees work remotely if possible.
Today we are here to share what ideas you can bring into your virtual event to make a non boring virtual event.
1. Virtual Spot-on Caricaturist
Before pandemic, spot-on Caricaturist normally will come to your event, have your guests or prospects drawn during your corporate events and have each and everyone one of your guests have their piece for the event. Now it’s different, since the pandemic has made people embrace virtual events, the entertainment and the ability to give souvenir to prospects and guests by the spot-on Caricaturist service is still possible but now virtually, all you have to do is to have a spot-on Caricaturist join your event and get to draw your attenders one by one, this is possible on any of the virtual event applications be it zoom or google meet. The Caricaturist can have guests drawn, inscribing the logo of your brand on each artwork send to yourattenders emails to be able post on their social media platforms right away or keep for printing purpose later. Virtual spot-on caricature still encroaches entertainment and a sure marketing way for corporate bodies even when it is offered virtually at virtual events.
2. Real-Time Illustrations During Sessions
Bringing artists on board to create real-time illustrations — known as digital live scribing — is a great way to engage your audience with a unique type of content. These talented illustrators create artwork live as panel discussions go on, providing a graphical representation of the speakers and takeaways that are entertaining, informative, and most importantly, widely shareable/postable.
3. Live Games or Competitions
As part of Salesforce’s World Tour Sydney Reimagined virtual event, they implemented a live “battle of the apps” competition between exhibitors — complete with audience voting — called AppExchange Demo Jam.
During this session, Salesforce AppExchange partners were given three minutes each to do a live demo demonstrating their apps. The audience was then asked to vote for their favorite using a dedicated link that was accessible for 24 hours following the session, and the winner was announced on Twitter the next day.
Featuring sponsors and exhibitors through this kind of competition is a creative way to provide engaging demos while also getting the audience involved. Keeping the demos short and to-the-point is also beneficial considering that many attendees of virtual events will be facing more distractions while viewing at home, Plus, this kind of activity will have people checking back to and engaging with the event’s social media pages to see who won.
4. High-Production Value Content On Demand
Live streaming is often the backbone of virtual events, and it can be a very effective way to replace in-person presentations and sessions. However, there are other approaches that may work for your event, depending on your goals and the scale of the event. For example, Adobe decided to forego live streams for their recent Summit and went the prerecorded route instead.
What prerecorded sessions may lack in real-time engagement they make up for in production value, as they benefit from the ability to be edited or enhanced. This can greatly improve certain speakers’ performances. They also eliminate many common challenges of virtual events, such as planning around different time zones and connectivity issues during the event.
Personalized video recommendations were another facet of Adobe’s event experience. As always, the capabilities of your virtual event will depend on the platform you’re using, and Adobe has the ability to create high-end experiences thanks to their in-house development teams and custom platform.
Taking a page out of the YouTube playbook, they incorporated custom content recommendations based on people’s behavior on the platform using Adobe’s Sensei AI engine. Personalizing content delivery in a virtual format in this way speaks to a much broader trend in events in general. Many are used to receiving personalized suggestions when consuming both content and products on the internet.
6. Immersive Environments
While many virtual events are implementing virtual expo booths and networking tools, the SBC Digital Summit scheduled for next week will be taking these elements one step farther by designing their virtual space based on a physical conference center.
For example, the home screen from which attendees can access the different parts of the event is named Lobby and features a background of a convention center lobby. Similarly, the Networking Lounge feature looks like an actual lounge with chat windows that attendees can interact with.
Although not quite VR, these environments will allow attendees to feel familiar aspects of event spaces through the virtual format instead of just clicking through screens and videos that all look the same. Using design elements to give your event a unique look and feel will help set your event apart and serve to distinguish various spaces within the event as well.
7.Virtual Musical Entertainment
Just because you’ve brought your event online doesn’t mean that you need to forego entertainment. Certain entertainment opportunities, such as musical performances, can translate very well to virtual events.
There have already been several entirely virtual concerts in the last few weeks, including the One World: Together at Home concert just this past weekend. The event was hosted by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization and was streamed on most major social media and streaming platforms.
The artists’ performances were prerecorded and then broadcast, which made sense for an event of this scale. For smaller affairs, including a live-streamed performance can add a special touch to your event.
EventMB’s next online event taking place April 30th, Managing the Virtual Experience, will include a musical performance by Benji Harris from SongDivision. People are missing concerts, shows, and countless other in-person experiences due to the pandemic, so incorporating a performance of some sort is a nice way to bring entertainment directly to them. Just like every other part of the industry, event entertainment companies are pivoting to virtual and can assist with bringing different types of entertainment to your online event.
8.Health and Wellbeing Activities
Online workout and dance videos are the only options for many people looking to exercise during this pandemic, and incorporating these types of activities into your event is a good way to switch things up and deliver unexpected value to attendees. #MarTechFest Dial Up, which will be taking place next month, plans to include workout and meditation sessions throughout their event to get minds and bodies “ready to engage.”
Depending on the format of your event, you could organize a short workout or meditation break in between sessions, or have a separate stream for these kinds of activities that attendees can tune into throughout the event for a change of pace.
9.Intro Tutorial Video
It’s important to remember that while many eventprofs have never organized a virtual event and are unfamiliar with the inner workings of online conferences, many attendees may not be used to navigating and attending them and may need a little help.
Google SheetsCon, which was hosted on a custom event platform (as was Adobe’s), addressed this by including a short intro video for people to watch as they logged into the platform. This video acted as a brief tutorial that introduced attendees to the platform’s different features and instructed them on how to interact with the various pages.
Making sure everyone is comfortable with the platform and familiar with how the event will work is an important step in ensuring attendees take advantage of everything you’ve implemented and get the most value out of it.
10.Incentives to Engage Online
Giveaways are always a good way to increase engagement with attendees and can be a fun addition to a virtual event. Although it’s not quite as simple as handing an attendee their prize, there are virtual goodies you can offer, and there’s still the option of mailing physical incentives to attendees following the event. As part of their event, Google SheetsCon hosted an incredibly popular contest to win one of 25 swag bags that they had put together with branded event shirts and stickers. In order to win, participants had to share something about the event on social media using the dedicated event hashtag, or visit at least 5 of the sponsor booth pages during the event. Using criteria like these helps increase brand awareness and also works to engage attendees, so it’s a win for everyone.
Bonus: Announce Your Virtual Alternative When You Cancel Your Live Event
While not an idea for a virtual event per se, a best practice to keep in mind around the cancellation and postponement of events is to plan ahead and announce any virtual alternative that you’ll be organizing as soon as you announce the cancellation of the original event.
When the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition was cancelled, no alternative was proposed. The industry created its own replacement event, Virtual Health Conference 20. The official event has since announced its intention to organize a virtual edition of the conference, but no date has been announced, and it remains to be seen whether it will be impacted by the unofficial version that has already taken place. A community initiative and grassroots events organization also emerged after the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and the Tech Spirit Barcelona event rose up in its place.
By contrast, Salesforce planned ahead for a virtual replacement for their World Tour Sydney event in March and simply announced that the format of the event would be changing. The event’s live-stream drew over 80,000 attendees, so it was clearly successful in maintaining its audience through the transition.
While these grassroots events showcase the incredible resilience and motivation of event industry professionals, they are also important for planners to keep in mind so that they don’t risk losing their event to a faster-moving, unofficial alternative.