07 Apr Its time to take advantage of cloud services, virtual events and go beyond
Could this recent outbreak of Covid-19 change the face of events forever?
We have spoken to 2 individuals at Intracon, Director Carolina Bernal, and Sales Enablement manager Juan Carlos Ferron who are studying the rapid emergence of virtual events, and we will take a look at how the industry is pivoting in the light of Covid-19.
Events are being canceled on a massive scale and its making business re-think and re-strategize how they communicate. This is a perfect example of when the need for digital change becomes essential, we are forced to find ways of adapting to it, and the ability to move quickly is the key ingredient to keeping business communications fresh and ongoing.
Carolina Bernal, director of Intracon Spain, has been studying this effective change, and she believes “Once a new cloud-based form of events is established and has proven to work, many businesses will begin to go hybrid to create an encompassing solution or even pivot to online altogether.”
Looking back, virtual events have been running for a while now and can take on many forms, from an interactive webinar right up to the virtual community of 2nd Life, where events of all nature are held daily.
The usual suspects of webinars and virtual events include:
- Business updates
- Product Launches
These difficult times could signal a new phase in digital activities, a turning point, because a virtual conference offers a cost-effective alternative to physical, attended events that carry a range of budgetary, time, and travel constraints.
In the long term, physical attendance events (F2F Events) won´t disappear. Still, the technology available today can be leveraged to complement venue driven events for those who cannot physically attend or people who are interested in a small segment that can be easily streamed online.
In the short term, the organization and priorities change around virtual events to focus on content, design, and breakout room planning. Apart from the logistical effort involved, networking, which is traditionally an awkward affair, can take on the guise of a themed discussion forum, pre-allocating the attendees a room in which to freely connect in based on their business interests removing any uncomfortable preamble. Also, satisfaction metrics can be tracking attendance numbers, engagement rate by feedback buttons for continuous improvement, and measure the return on investment.
Our Sales Enablement manager Juan Carlos Ferron adds, “Adapting face-to-face events to virtual events is not only a question of the medium (or platform) by which the content is delivered but instead, the importance should be focused on how the information is adapted to the medium used. Attending a two-hour face-to-face event is not the same as being two hours in an online event; the content must be more dynamic, participatory, exciting, and it should capture the participant’s attention.”
Virtual events need some work; they can´t just be a room where people congregate to listen in to somebody talk. Businesses are looking at agencies to create and produce digital environments for them to provide an end-to-end solution and bring it all together, from the first email communications to attendees through to the production phase, content delivery, and post-event attendee follow up.
To begin with, a sturdy platform is needed- It’s similar to choosing an event venue space, it is the one single decision that will have the largest impact on success. There are many platforms out there that provide webinars and hybrid events. A good platform can facilitate all online event types and can be branded and customized and allow for data analysis to measure the success rate and return on investment. Choosing the right platform should not be done likely, and consulting with an experienced agency can pay dividends.
A stable platform, regardless of its intuitive nature, needs technical know-how to leverage its built-in features, this is where an agency comes in. The visual aspect of the events needs to build out to reflect the value proposition of the event. The content needs to be clear and crisp; there can be no room for doubt in the mind of the attendee. A strategy on how to present the content should be implemented behind the scenes, and key messages need to be communicated with strategic intent. Web Conferencing platforms can have some restrictive components due to the limited audio and video capture and bandwidth capabilities; therefore, the content needs to fill the gaps and provide an environment that engages the attendee and calls them to action.
Conferencing is also bidirectional, and your attendees need to interact with Q&As, polls, and gamification, or it all becomes just another passive call, and you´ve lost the battle before you´ve even begun. First impressions count more than you could ever know.
Here at Intracon, we have experience developing and presenting webinars and conferences. We have a fully comprehensive in-house events team with a wealth experience on a large scale that can manage and strategize events on a global level. We provide stunning graphic visuals to accompany the virtual event, along with storytelling and content strategy, to enhance the key messages and make sure they don´t get lost in the myriad of moving parts. We can provide experienced narrators who can act as guides and points of information, and a secure platform administered by professionals who possess the know-how to administer large scale virtual events.
Carolin Bernal adds, “Because this isn´t the time to panic or feel helpless against adversity, this is the time to evolve and explore to virtual events.”