Live to Virtual Events: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Times have changed. As companies start distancing themselves from live events, virtual is reality. Switching from high touch to high tech can be challenging, but just because the format has changed, doesn’t mean the process has to. The best way to create a dynamic and engaging virtual event is to approach it like a live event!

That means strategy, creativity and execution are still critical. And so is how we apply them across traditional event logistics – such as attendee and speaker management, audience engagement, event content development and production.

Venue

All events need a venue. For live events BC (Before COVID), that usually meant a hotel or convention center. In the world of virtual events, your technology platform is your new “meeting space” and finding the right one is your first step. Your event needs to be more than a haphazard video call, so think about the event experience you want for the presenters and audience to find the right platform to help host your event. And to truly make your virtual venue feel like “home” you can explore designing virtual “sets” and branded backdrops for your presenters, as well as event-branded landing pages – your virtual venue “lobby.”

Agenda

Just like live events, you need to consider the audience experience and plan your agenda accordingly. Your audience is sitting in front of a computer, most likely at home, and it’s harder to hold their attention. Scheduling shorter general sessions and strategically breaking up the day (coffee/snack breaks, lunch, etc.) helps keep the audience fresh and attentive.

Audience Engagement

As with any event, you’ll still need to tell a story, create an experience, and make it memorable. The key to any successful event is an engaged audience. Most virtual platforms offer engagement tools like polling, Q&A and quiz functions, so incorporating these into your presentations can create an interactive experience for the audience. Video production elements like company logo animations, animated name/title speaker intros and traditional video productions are even more effective for virtual events, because they give the audience a visual break from the PowerPoint slides and “talking head” experiences that often dominate typical video conferences. And of course, nothing engages an audience like compelling content, so now more than ever, don’t let the technology get in the way of what you need to say.

Stay Connected

Your audience may not be able to enjoy each other’s company, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with them in a personal way. Send gift baskets and branded “swag” directly to your attendees’ homes, and in turn, have them send in personal photos and thoughts on the event content that you can integrate and display throughout the event – all great ways to unite the audience and stay connected.

Practice Makes Perfect

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Tech rehearsals, presentation rehearsals and dress rehearsals. Familiarize yourself and presenters with the virtual platform. Understand the technology and practice as if you’re live on stage – because virtually you are – and practice makes perfect.

Ask the Experts

Lastly, ask for help. You wouldn’t plan a live event without help from industry experts and you shouldn’t plan a virtual event without them either. It’s a team effort. And with over 20 years of video and live event experience, MK3 can help turn your live event into a successful virtual event, without having to reinvent the wheel.

Set your Messaging in Motion

We all know the value of video as a communication tool, but with today’s steady diet of “distancing”, it may be time to think of traditional video techniques in non-traditional ways.

Creating a video to promote your product, launch your business or communicate your message has always come in two forms: a “live action” video, in which people and products are recorded “in action”; and motion graphics “animation”, in which concepts that are not inherently visual or tangible can be visualized through animated graphics, text, design and iconography.

Live action video production requires camera crews and close collaboration, testing the need for personal and professional distancing. An animated video, however, can be created at a distance of anywhere from 6 feet or 600 miles… and beyond!

So think about using traditional animated productions in non-traditional ways, like presenting the messages you’d normally deliver in person, at events or in meetings, with engaging informative and dynamic motion graphics-driven videos, including:

  • White Paper messaging
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Employee and HR communication
  • “Town Hall” company-wide updates
  • Sales meetings and presentations
  • Enhancing/packaging your own User Generated Content (UGC)

Using motion graphics for projects you normally wouldn’t have before, can help make the “new normal” feel a little more… normal.

So let the loss of face-to-face interaction inspire creativity, and the creation of new video tools that’ll not only help bridge the current communication gap, but provide you with a new complementary toolbox for the (hopefully) not too “distant” future.

Looking beyond animation? Here are a few other ways virtual can be reality.

Out of the Tank

What do ABC-TV’s Shark Tank and MK3 Creative have in common? Both recently sent their top sharks to Austin, Texas, for the annual SHI Corporate Sales Conference.

We’re a creative agency, and we pride ourselves on storytelling. A live event is a meaty storytelling medium to sink our teeth into, and every year our client SHI lets us do just that.  SHI is a leading corporate reseller of software, hardware, and information technology products and solutions.  They partner with MK3 to produce and execute a multimedia event that incudes room layout and stage design, A/V technology, and content production.  In other words…we help bring their story to life, live on stage.

What does that have to do with ABC’s Shark Tank?  Aside from hosting major industry players like HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Apple, SHI also features special keynote speakers to motivate and entertain. Robert Herjavec, founder of The Herjavec Group and one of the leading Shark Tank investors, was this year’s “big fish.”

MK3 worked with Herjavec and the SHI team to deliver a live presentation for their sales force that was motivational, entertaining, and ultimately worth the investment.

By Mark DiTondo, Creative Director