Redstone is not unique in the fact that we’ve spent the past month supporting our clients who have been forced to postpone or outright cancel their 2020 business meetings and events. However, despite this reality, our clients still need to deliver value to their stakeholders and have been turning to us for advice and guidance. Naturally, with the world mandated to #stayhome, people are quickly looking to leverage technology and adapt their meeting or event to a virtual format.
At Redstone, we’re digital natives, and a tech-obsessed bunch, so we’re extremely excited by this silver-lining that COVID-19 has presented us. While new technology is unfamiliar to many and can cause confusion and stress, we are looking forward to supporting our clients to embrace the change and help them navigate this new landscape. Below, we’ve included some of the most important things to consider when taking your event digital, to ensure you make the biggest impact with your event.
What Should You Be Considering?
Value – First and foremost, remember there is still a need to demonstrate value to your stakeholders. As you work through every aspect of your digital event, consider how you can provide the most value in new ways.
Goals & Objectives – It is important to revisit the primary goals and objectives of your meeting/event. Was it to educate? To facilitate networking? Or to showcase/launch a new product? Despite the need to change the delivery format (the HOW) of your event, the WHY (goals and objectives) should remain the same and at the forefront of your decision-making.
The Right Platform – While the WHY of your event remains the same, the HOW is changing. The list of digital platforms available is never-ending: from basic, day-to-day meeting tools like Zoom, Adobe Connect, or GoToMeetings, all the way to robust, immersive virtual experiences such as VFairs, Hopin or WeSummit. Depending on your meeting/event goals and objectives, budget, number of anticipated attendees, number of speakers, etc. you can choose the platform that is right for you (we know that this step can be overwhelming; we can help cut through all of the noise).
Communication – Communicating with your attendees is more important now than ever before. As an attendee, this transition to virtual events can be new too, so we need to communicate clearly and effectively in advance. As a rule-of-thumb always ensure you are communicating valuable information pre-event, during the event (via live chat box and other engagement tools), and post-event. The post-event communication is a great opportunity to continue the buzz from your event, create “FOMO” amongst those who didn’t attend, and create excitement for your upcoming events (whether in-person or virtual).
Get Creative – Although your event is taking place in the virtual world, there’s still an opportunity to include elements of the physical world. Go back to basics, remember snail mail? You might consider sending a direct mail piece (think: swag, printed program or a simple thank you card) to all attendees. This gesture can bring an element of surprise, excitement and foster the feeling of community. Other creative tactics include playing a game, doing an activity, and/or setting a theme and corresponding dress code. The options are endless! You just have to get creative.
Engagement – Networking and human connection don’t have to be lost when an event goes digital. There are numerous opportunities to engage attendees during your event – just in different ways. During educational sessions consider creating interactive elements such as live polls. This not only engages participants but allows you to collect some data too. Or encourage attendees to go on screen to ask their question live. You can also set up events with a focus on facilitating networking by grouping participants in a virtual “room” and doing things like a “virtual happy hour” or “first-timers reception”.
The opportunities are endless! Use COVID-19 as a catalyst (read: silver lining) to introduce digital content into your product mix. We firmly believe that this will help your organization not only weather this storm, but insulate and thrive into the future.
Are you pivoting (word of the year!) to a virtual event? Not sure where to start? Take a look at Redstone’s event services or reach out to our in-house Digital Event Strategist, Carly Silberstein, to get started today!