Events accomplish various objectives in unique ways. They remind stakeholders of your mission so they will dig deep and donate. They gather media and leaders together for a simultaneous announcement with a sense of grandeur. They give your VIPs access to one another and to you in a way that makes them know they are important. Lastly, when done right, they can provide the same sense of connectedness and togetherness people experience at an in-person event.
With current social distancing measures preventing gathering in a safe way, many are giving virtual platforms a closer look, but are daunted by the technology, logistics or concern for a potentially underwhelming experience for participants. We get it. Nobody wants to sit through what feels like a flat, one-way broadcast with poor production value.
This is exactly why ECPR has been investing so much time and learning into developing leading-edge best practices for virtual events. Just because times have changed doesn’t mean business and organizational objectives are any less important. If anything, the relationship cultivation inherent in events is even more or a priority.
Here are some questions you need to ask your team to keep your virtual event lively and effective:
- What platform and format best suit your audiences and the content you have to exchange?
- How will you ensure that the lighting, staging, messaging, technology and atmosphere support your image and their sense of value?
- In which ways will real-time feedback be allowed so that participants are continually engaged, but where you also don’t risk you losing control of the narrative?
- Where will calls to action fit into the event experience for the greatest return?
- If a virtual event is replacing a physical event, how will it be innovative and unique rather than reminding guests, presenters and sponsors of what they are missing?
- How long can you hold your audience’s interest? While audiences may remain engaged at an hour-long luncheon, will your audience be interested and inspired by someone talking into a laptop camera for 30 or 60 minutes? If not, how will you mix it up seamlessly?
- Do you have the capacity on your team to to plan, promote, produce, rehearse and execute a virtual event amidst other priorities?
If you don’t want to take any chances with your upcoming virtual event, let ECPR be your partner for a successful strategy. Give us a call and let’s talk!
ECPR produced and managed the Downtown Austin Alliance‘s first virtual Annual Meeting of Members.
Lia Truitt is a vice president at ECPR.