I don’t know about you, but for me… this has been a month of adjustments, trying to tune out the news and establish a routine that keeps me from going crazy. It’s been a month full of masked trips to the grocery store (my kids’ appetites are certainly unchanged by a pandemic), navigating a plethora of digital assignments for my K and 1st graders, delivering milk to my senior neighbors, and video chat check-ins with my mom whose assisted living facility is in lockdown. I have also taken every opportunity to gaze at the unpolluted, cerulean sky with gratitude for the unexpected blessings of a world put on-hold. I am so grateful for the countless Zoom and Google meet calls I’ve had with people looking to pivot their events to a digital format (cue announcer voice – “These calls made possible in part by Disney Plus”). For me, it’s been a month full of being inspired by all of these calls with passionate problem-solvers that are looking to find solutions, impact their customers and colleagues, tell their brand’s story, adapt to the times and still make meaningful connections and communicate effectively in a new format. Humans rock. Seriously.
I thought I’d share a few thoughts inspired by a month’s worth of these calls.
White boarding the purpose of your event, its KPI’s and the intended value for your attendees absolutely matters most. Knowing which of your objectives can still be delivered virtually matters less. That’s what a platform agnostic production partner is for. I have personally recommended half a dozen “platforms” as the final event delivery solution during the last month after hearing the priorities someone outlined in our conversation. Have a bullet-proof digital event strategy, and then be flexible and creative as a team when finding ways to achieve it. You probably have to sacrifice less than you expect.
We are now full-speed ahead in the pre-production phase of several streaming events for these clients and the event team looks a lot different than the ones we manage for an in-person event. For instance, where we usually have an RF wrangler (a wireless mic audio tech), we now have a link wrangler. “A what?!” You may ask… well if your event has 15 different sessions over a 3-day period with 8 presenters, each session/presenter will have a dedicated link on the backend. We have one person managing a master spreadsheet with links for sessions and presenters, so that your presenters can still have the luxurious experience of simply “walking into (logging into)” the (virtual) green room. This is an awesome feeling to still be able to offer this to your keynotes. Yes, this can still be done.
The point is, IT departments, internal comms teams, external marketing agencies, production companies, streaming platforms’ tech support, AV techs, out-of-the-box thinkers, (the list goes on and on) all have an essential part to play (from home) in making your digital event, one that is worth having/attending. And everyone on the team ideally needs to be equipped with kind candor, solution-oriented, ready for collaboration, and responsive. No to egos. Yes to synergy.
Almost every phone call brought up the same question… — How long do we have to adopt this virtual-only event strategy?
My honest opinion, guys? — If there is one thing we know about COVID-19 at this point, is that we know very little about COVID-19. If your event strategy for the rest of 2020/2021 is to simply postpone so that you can avoid adopting a digital event mindset, I urge you to reconsider. Embrace the chance to learn something new, connect with your audience, and stay relevant.
Even if bans are suddenly lifted, we are advising clients to plan their Q3 and Q4 events as virtual ones that can be turned into a hybrid event if the virus suddenly allows us to return to something that resembles normalcy.
If you missed our EventMB webinar presentation on pivoting to virtual, you can download the industry white paper here.
If you are interested in a free 30-minute problem-solving session with us on pivoting your event to a virtual one, reach out to me under the Connect tab. Just know…you may or may not meet 1 to 3 of my children during our video call.
Stay well, friends!
Published April 17, 2020