With the current lockdown we’ve put our heads together with some of the best technical minds in the business to bring you to the next level in virtual events. At their most basic, these may be live video broadcasts - trying to move away from the 'death by Zoom' we have all been experiencing. Beyond this there is a whole world of ways to engage, inform and delight your audience in the same way that a really good live event does. Here are some of the ways that we can help you to make your event as good as anything you did pre-pandemic.
The changing nature of events
Pre-COVID-19 why did businesses put so much time and effort into running events? After all, they cost a lot of money, the team is out of the office for a few days and often you find yourself cheek by jowl with the competition vying for your customer’s attention. The effectiveness of events can be tricky to track too.
Strip an event back to the bare bones and it’s essentially a structured presentation of information
- with a good dash of networking thrown in.
They provide marketers with an opportunity to create a brand narrative through the stories they share. Exhibitors get that face-to-face contact to generate leads and gather precious feedback from a target audience. Speakers reinforce brand recognition and new products and services can be tried and tested. Anyone who has hosted an event in the last few years will tell you that the attendees are getting more and more picky. They tend to be super-targeted on the stands and speakers they want to see, and even while watching the presentation, everyone is on social media anyway. The event experience was in need of a bit of a rethink - Coronavirus or not.
It's going to be some time until we get back to events like this!
This seems to be quite a challenge for virtual events to live up to, but with a creative approach and some interactive solutions, a brand can produce an experience that delivers more value.
So, how do you turn your live event into an engaging online event?
First up, it’s important to look at the editorial. It’s useful to think of it as producing a live TV show rather than an event. Think about how the event will run and how smaller segments of content spring out from the main show (these would have been break-out rooms or Q&A sessions). Develop a content strategy that is appropriate for a virtual event rather than thinking about your typical daily running order. To keep people’s attention, your broadcast needs a story arc that holds the viewer, and each VT or segment should have a distinct narrative that is relevant within the context of the main show. Our team has the experience to guide you through this crucial part of the process.
Once you have the editorial locked down, you can think about how to get your content out to your audience:
If you want your event to stand out from the thousands of Zoom presentations, get a professional brand video production crew in to look after everything. By raising the production values, your end product will be a slick, high definition live studio show which will bolster brand integrity rather than damage it by using low resolution webcams. It can also be repurposed into an on-demand event, increasing return. We would recommend using a streaming company to run the broadcast to make sure you don’t suffer a drop out midway through, especially if you are expecting a high number of attendees. Alternatively, for smaller productions use a professional crew to look after the camera, audio and lighting and then plug into Microsoft Teams Live Events, Vimeo Studio 6 or similar streaming software to go live.
Related: Even the strictest lockdown doesn’t stop the show. Find out how our brand video production team mastered remote filming techniques at the height of the pandemic, in this case study.
Live Video Broadcast Example
By using a multi-camera set up you’ll be able to demonstrate products in detail, cut between presenters and locations, and the live element will retain that all-important sense of occasion that you would have had with an event.
Rehearsals are crucial when shooting live. Block out the camera moves and rehearse the running order and allow plenty of time between segments. Ensure you have talent on screen who can hold your audience and think on their feet.
Related: Prefer to have experts handle the details but want to know how they do it? Get everything you need to know about building brand awareness through video, and how Casual Films can help, in our Guide To Brand Video Production.
While VR has been knocking around for some time, it has remained on the fringes of corporate comms and rarely piques the interest of our existing clients who sometimes dismiss it as too expensive or gimmicky. The headset for one is a significant barrier to virtual reality. After all, who wants to wear a sweaty, heavy headset for a two-hour event?
360 has limitations when you consider the bandwidth needed to run it effectively, but what these mediums do offer is an immersive environment and an opportunity to create a virtual foyer to display your content.
360º Interactive Video Example
Shooting 360 is more cost-effective than you might think. We can shoot several locations within a day and the crew size is minimal. Once we have a 360 environment of an office space or an iconic location on film, we add an interactive layer with hotspots that link through to the different segments of content.
The struggle with 360 has always been creating a clear narrative. Once you’re in the space it becomes an open world where the user picks their journey or the content they want to consume. The most effective use of interactive 360 we have seen is in virtual tours where the narrative is less of an issue. As well as tours, 360 is a fitting replacement for an event with multiple speakers as it gives the virtual delegate the choice to select different sessions or content streams. To direct the attention of your audience when using 360 you can use visual cues and ambisonics, but bear in mind this works best using a headset.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a 360º interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.
Interactive film provides a high level of engagement, comprehensive video analytics, and the ability to choose a narrative. This makes it a good candidate for a walkthrough of an exhibition space using interactive hotspots that lead to supporting pieces of content, product demos, Q&A sessions, or even filmed keynote presentations.
Everyone has sat through a webinar while simultaneously working on a document, and let’s be frank, it’s a waste of time. A creative execution combined with an interactive platform keeps your audience engaged throughout and can provide a huge amount of information on how your virtual delegates are interacting with the content. It provides clear data and we would argue it is more accurate than counting the number of tickets sold at a conference, especially considering the number of delegates you see on Facebook while a speaker delivers the speech of their life.
Interactive Video Example
If you provide a sense of occasion and limit the accessibility to your virtual event you can create a world where the audience feels they are attending an exclusive ‘live’ experience. If you want to take this further you can even have a live virtual Q&A session or have your team online and ready to chat with the delegates.
The issue with the current situation doesn’t affect construction or hiring an event space, so to make the experience feel familiar, hire a space, build the exhibition stands you would have used at the cancelled event, and then film a walk-through covering a services pitch from your team or any products in detail. Using shoppable interactive, the viewer could even purchase in the moment or download a PDF for more information.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on an interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.Related: Get more from every piece of content. Find out how to make video marketing work that much harder for your business in this blog post.
A gaming platform or virtual event is as close as you can get to the full freedom of movement you would have at a real-world event and with major festivals (Glastonbury, The Happy Place, San Francisco Design Week) going virtual, they are becoming ever more mainstream.
The flexibility of these platforms is a huge draw - as well as having Q&As, polls, online networking, surveys, and even a games room. Once you have the event space set up, it can be reused for different events delivering a fantastic return. Like interactive, a virtual event will provide detailed analytics so you can review the data and update the experience to improve engagement.
The good news is that the cost to develop these immersive platforms has dropped significantly but the slight drawback is that you need a desktop app to run it. If you decide to use a desktop app, make sure it is easy for your delegates to download and install. While downloadable software enables greater scope for creative flexibility, it stands true that the fewer barriers you have in place, the higher the engagement.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a Virtual Reality event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.
Build it and they will come: Using Programmatic Targeting
Given the volume of webinars and virtual conferences online, your event must stand out from the crowd. Ads need to be attention-grabbing and seen by the right people at the right time. To do this we would recommend using programmatic advertising. This works by taking audience insight and using that data to target the appropriate demographic with creative, memorable content (don’t worry, we can help with that).
The attendance data for a traditional event or trade show is readily available, so by using programmatic to target potential delegates as well as a wider audience, you could yield higher engagement than a real-world event. Our digital partners use programmatic targeting and retargeting across all digital media to drive traffic to your site.
A good example of how effective programmatic can be, is a campaign we ran for Breast Cancer Now, which set out to achieve 600,000 video views but by using programmatic we surpassed that target by over 1000%.
This is an opportunity to put your brand at the forefront of event disruption and digital innovation. After all, these event alternatives will provide you more data, more leads, more brand recognition. Online you can already run speaker sessions, networking, product launches and Q&As, but by using the emotive power of film or the limitless possibilities with animation you can really engage your audience. Pull this all together in a 360 or virtual environment and you create a memorable experience that brings an online event to life.
We offer a full range of marketing video production services and our team would love to discuss your event with you. There are many ways to use video to make your next event the best ever. Give us some details here and we will give you a call back shortly.