Zoom fatigue – need we say more. People fire up the laptop at 8:58 am and boil the kettle to prepare themselves for the morning Zoom catch-up call. Their Google calendar bleeps. Three more meetings will follow today – two with clients and another with the accountant.
After work, they relax by turning on the Zoom camera once more for a live yoga class. No shade on Zoom here – it has saved many businesses this past year while also giving the virtual space for people to connect.
However, it’s been months now, and if you’re ready to launch an engaging and inspiring event, it’s helpful to see what your audience will have been dealing with over the last long while.
Here’s how to stand out and host a virtual event with a difference. We’ll be drawing examples from companies who have thought outside the box and give pointers on how you can too.
Adobe’s last summit took place on 31st March 2020, when the world slowed down to deal with the coronavirus. The conference swapped out its Las Vegas location to the online world and offered the summit to the public for free. The virtual event garnered 425,000 total visits to the online conference.
How did this software company rally these numbers?
- Shorten talks – Adobe Summit in-person keynotes typically run as long as two-and-a-half hours; these were shortened to 20-25 minutes for the online event.
- All of the talks were prerecorded – this prevents sounds, lights, camera and connectivity issues so that Adobe knew that the user experience would flow smoothly and drastically cuts down the potential for technology mishaps.
- Invest in digital marketing strategies pre-/during/post-event – leveraging and investing in digital channels were critical to getting out to the market quickly and building audience and engagement.
Adobe offers a full suite of services, and it’s rare for a customer to need the use of all of their apps. That’s why the abundancy of breakout rooms worked so well. People dipped into the conversations relevant to them. Having the summit free enabled them to reach out to not only Adobe enthusiasts but also prospective customers.
An Irish event that succeeded in the virtual space is Wellfest. A trendy wellness event that takes place across Irish cities at the close of summer.
“It allows us to create a multi-stage event so you can go from stage to stage and workout to talk like you would at WellFest. This is not Zoom, we repeat this is not Zoom :)”
Interaction is also why this festival did as well as it did. The emphasis was laid down from the very start that this is people’s chance to connect with these wellbeing experts. Connecting with the experts and speakers was only part of it.
Attendees could also connect online through video calls and chats. Wellfest knew that a key part of their appeal in the past was that family and friends could get together at a wholesome festival.
Here is a powerful takeaway message.
What does your audience need out of your event? And how can you provide this in a virtual space? This shift in thinking from making the event revolutionary to making the event satisfy and delight your audience will make for better engagement.
We can’t have a virtual event without naming the company that experienced a share value surge of 435% in 2020.
In April of 2020, Zoom organised a real-life ball, complete with well-designed invitations, a guest list, performances, signature cocktails, a host committee, and charity. 100 per cent of ticket sales went to charity – specifically to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and the International Medical Corps. What made this event so successful was the pacing. Without the real-life milling about and people making their own fun in an event, virtual events do well to keep the pace lively.
The entire gala was an hour and a half, which gave people time to enjoy three acts, sip their cocktails and enjoy the fact that they’d put on fancy clothes for the first time in weeks. The planning for this event began ten days before the launch. If you have more time, having a physical parcel of goodies excite attendees and make the event feel more special.
Tomorrowland’s Around The World digital festival took place on July 25-26th, 2020. Normally centred on an island called Pāpiliōnem, the virtual world showcased various stages that featured different music styles, mirroring the real Tomorrowland.
What makes this festival stand out is the efforts – that actually worked – to make the experience immersive. They set up enough 4K cameras around each stage to have 38 angles to choose from and filled the audience with 280,000 virtual festival-goers.
The avatars moved, sang and made merriment so authentically surprising the real – yet virtual – attendees on the elevated experience. Given that so few festivals went ahead even digitally meant that attendees got fresh new material from the acts ranging from David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Armin van Buuren.
You can view a snippet of the magic here:
5. Apple WWDC
In November of 2020, Apple launched its new products featuring their M1 chip. What they did was brilliant and easily replicated by any business; the entire event was prerecorded.
Major technical issues are avoided this way. It also meant that they could go all out with production a the brand decided on a crisp sci-fi-esque set that changed for each of the keynote speakers. The result was crisp, highly informative and entertaining.
You can watch the Apple WWDC event recap here.
If your goal is to grow your reach, ensure attendees have a wonderful experience, we offer virtual event production packages from a highly experienced team. Here’s how you can get in touch, and you can check out our production package options here. We look forward to being a part of your next high-quality event!