COVID-19 Delta variant cases are rapidly increasing across the globe. To event professionals, it feels like a deja vu moment from not too long ago when they had to reassess and revamp their event strategies to stay relevant.
It’s high time to put the cumulative learning of the event industry, from the last two years, into practice to immunize your event strategy from the Delta variant.
If you want deep insights on how to recalibrate, reimagine, and reinvent your event strategy to deliver business results even in these unpredictable times, download this free e-book now!
The show must go on. And the good news is that we can all keep it rolling with virtual!
According to a study done last year, 66.5% of event professionals said that they plan to use hybrid as their go-to format even after in-person events resume. Virtual isn't a temporary solution. It’s a long-term trend.
Though virtual events are on a rise only few organizations have cracked them well. Virtual events can be boring or buzzing, full of awkward silences or amazing conversations. They can be anywhere on the spectrum - from blah, uninspiring, lackluster to engrossing, energizing, and lively.
However, there are a few best practices that when put to use increase the chances of your event’s success. From Apple WWDC to Tomorrowland, some virtual events took the events world by storm. We’ve uncovered a few best practices from such events that will help set your event strategy up for success.
1. Use first principles thinking
Elon Musk has been vouching for first principles thinking for years now. Simply put, it is a way of thinking like a scientist - without any assumptions, without any analogies, and by starting with the most fundamental questions. It’s a framework that drives innovation and new ideas.
When planning virtual events, don’t try to replicate an in-person experience. Don’t draw parallels and think of using old analogies. The new digitally transformed world needs you to reimagine events starting from scratch. Consciously avoid falling into the trap of - ‘we’ve always done it that way’.
When Gainsight organized its annual Pulse event in 2020, it went virtual and it went at it with a beginner’s mind and asked: “Should we do one day vs multiple days? Live or recorded? How do we provide digital networking? How should we think about the sponsor/booth experience? Should the event be free or should it require a fee? How are we thinking about the experience for prospects and customers? We changed many of the key tenets of Pulse as we originally planned and kept others that made sense for the new format.”
2. Create memorable experiences
Tomorrowland is one of the biggest EDM events in the world. It went virtual last year. The team wanted to “make sure festival visitors will be able to feel they are being part of something larger than their computer and their internet connection.” So, it created a virtual 3D island, named Pāpiliōnem, with special effects, fireworks, laser shows, sound effects, and much more for its over 2,80,000 attendees.
As per their official website, it is “a magical island shaped like a butterfly featuring beaches, night skies, mountains, forest sunsets – with a true game feel. Festival visitors will be able to navigate easily through the island with a PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet – you don’t need special VR goggles – and explore the entire festival site in an interactive way together with friends, experiencing all four seasons within a single day trip.”
While creating a virtual island isn’t feasible for everyone, creating novel, fun, immersive, and branded experiences should be your top priority.
3. Think mobile-first
For the last two years, more than 50% of the global website traffic comes from mobile devices. And in the US, out of 5 trillion web visits in 2020, 61% came from mobile. We know it’s a mobile-first world. And we must adapt virtual events to serve audiences on the devices they prefer to use.
Apple WWDC set a great example for this that we can all learn from. Whether you chose to attend on an iPhone, iPad, AppleTV devices, or desktop, Apple ensured everyone had a consistent UX and content delivery.
No attendee should feel left out or be unable to access the entire event experience. Think about how your mobile audience will interact with your content? Are your networking options optimized to be delivered on mobile? What’s the audience experience like while exploring lounges, breakout rooms, or virtual booths?
Adopting a mobile-first approach is even more important for hybrid events because your event app is the glue to keep your virtual and in-person attendees together.
Want to uncover five more best practices for free? Download this e-book now and get ready to deliver high event ROI.