Physical interaction is by no means a negative connotation in regular circumstances; but in times of crises, we must adapt to survive. While the intrinsic value of face-to-face interaction remains irreplaceable; the need for pivoting to virtual events has become not only undeniable in today’s interconnected world but also imperative in light of the Covid-19 pandemic we currently face.
We understand the word “virtual” can seem daunting to most – a 2020 EventMB poll found that 64% of event professionals have yet to plan a virtual event, while Westuc (2015) has found only 33% of marketers have hosted a virtual event – and for those who are less familiar with technological advancements (for whom among us can truly keep track with the breakneck speed at which these develop), the virtual landscape understandably appears intimidating.
“A practical outlook to the new paradigm of online event management”
But rest assured, for we are ready to help you navigate this new paradigm of online event management. We’re sure that by now you’ve had some exposure to the various types of virtual events, so rather than repeating what you’ve seen over and over; we present a more practical outlook that you can immediately identify and translate to suit your needs.
“Every online experience is a brand experience”
First and foremost, before embarking onto your digital journey, you need to identify your requirements and desired results from any virtual activity – and recognize that every online experience is a brand experience. Is the objective to substitute physical events, or to supplement them? If you’re looking to heighten your brand awareness through online engagement, are you aiming to convert views into leads, foster overall higher recognition of your brand message across the general public, or create networking opportunities amongst peers and potential clients?
Before starting out, it’s crucial to identify targets and goals – not only do you need to clarify what is it you mean to achieve, you need to determine at which point should it be achieved – given that virtual events always incorporate extensive data analysis, utilizing this data at key points of your process is pivotal to strategizing and adapting your tactics as you progress.
A virtual event is essentially a creation or replication of a ‘traditional’ physical event, but rendered and hosted in an online space. Basically, you host an event or experience where attendees can seamlessly join in and interact all from the comfort of their own homes.
Of course, it’s not just about letting them watch cat videos – you can implement just about any physical feature into the virtual space as well, providing most of the benefits you’d expect to gain from hosting a physical event minus many of the usual setbacks and necessities you’d need to plan out for your audiences.
Of course, before making any move to transition on a significant scale; you’d need to understand what you stand to gain from going virtual. While the benefits are immensely numerous, we’ve narrowed them down into a few key points for easy comprehension.
- Cost Effectiveness – every cent counts.
Venue, catering, accommodation, printing, transportation costs – all these are things of the past. With virtual events, you can achieve greater cost effectiveness and allocate your budget efficiently – all without reducing the quality of the experience.
- Eco-Friendliness – go green.
Without a need for transportation, your event won’t contribute to fossil fuel emissions, and you’ll even save a ton of paper! Get ready to proudly label your brand and event eco-friendly as you heighten your corporate social responsibility and join in the fight to save our Mother Earth.
- Revenue Generation – overcome loss from event cancellations.
Virtual event apps, microsites and live streams are perfect channels for highlighting monetized ad spaces such as branded banners and push notifications. On a general note, virtual events require relatively lower margins to produce and operate – selling virtual tickets can help boost profits quickly.
- Audience and Market Expansion – bigger and wider than ever before.
With a virtual event, you can reach a much larger audience – far bigger than even the largest venue can hold. And without travel as an obstacle, attendees can join from anywhere around the globe. Turn your brand experience into a truly globalized one, and penetrate markets on an international scale.
- Streamlined Networking – meet the age of globalization.
Humans are social beings at our core. That being said, networking is a critical component of any event, and one of the primary reasons why many attend them. With virtual events, networking is now borderless, easier, faster and more streamlined than ever before in the history of mankind.
- Data Analysis – information is power.
Learning is the ultimate ingredient for growth. Who looks at what? What do people love or hate? Data is the answer, as well as the solution for converting views into leads. Real-time data access that lets you adapt your strategy instantaneously is arguably your most valuable asset of all.
Having summarized the various advantages of pivoting to virtual, we now dive into a more succinct representation of virtual event categories.
It’s important to remember that the virtual world is one limited only by imagination. With virtual events, you can easily transcend the physical limits of reality and bring your products, messages and experiences right into audiences’ homes.
Virtual launches can include product launches, or festivities and celebrations such as annual dinners. The interesting aspect of virtual launches is that th ey don’t necessary represent a complete departure from traditional, physical event management – rather incorporating elements both physical and virtual to create a hybrid, holistic experience, one which every minute detail is completely under your control.
Think of your average product launch, where product USPs need to be read by attendees or presented by a spokesperson. With virtual launches, USPs can be highlighted holographically or in other breathtaking ways that ensure no audience member misses them. Combine this with real-time polling and Q&A, and you can get vital feedback instantly from each member of the audience about what they like or dislike. We recommend emphasizing gamification when it comes to this – don’t make your audience feel like you’re mining data off them, rather let them feel that they’re engaging in a fun and interactive game that makes them feel heard!
“A perfect example of how individuals can be physically apart yet participate in shared emotion simultaneously”
We mentioned a hybrid and holistic experience – don’t worry about details being lost in translation during this transition to the virtual space: utilizing greenscreen technology, your real-live products and spokespeople can be brought out in perfect detail and in true cinematic quality. When it comes to implementing physical components, virtual launches may yet be a perfect example of how individuals can be physically apart yet participate in shared emotion simultaneously. Virtual product launches can involve actual products being delivered to audiences’ doorsteps to comprise a physical experience, while virtual celebrations can involve drinks and spirits being shipped to attendees so they can raise their glasses in a concerted tandem toast.
Lastly, with traditional event management there will always be factors beyond your control. Bad weather can annihilate your event, and spatial limitations can be annoying barriers to realizing your ambitious creativity. With virtual launches, these will never be obstacles again. Furthermore, you get to craft awe-inspiring, titanic stages and venues at a fraction of the cost; and even overcome those pesky laws of physics in creating environments that would be utterly impossible in reality.
By far the most common of virtual events that you’ll see currently, our definition of virtual conferences includes virtual summits, virtual conferences, webinars and even l ive streams. While the degree of complexity and interactivity vary across these, what they all have in common is that they revolve around bringing people from all around the world to network, share content and foster dialogue.
The core component of virtual conferences is their heightened engagement and focus on data analytics. In a real-life event, it is essentially impossible to allow every single person a chance to speak. Much like virtual launches, real-time polling, Q&A and chat functions allow each audience member to interact seamlessly among themselves and speakers – a primary trait that is shared across all forms of virtual events, incidentally.
“Bring people from all around the world to network, share content and foster dialogue”
Again, data analytics play a big part in this. Viewership, engagement and reactions are all measured and tabulated throughout the event to provide an in-depth understanding of what worked and what didn’t. Findings should be focused not only on being comprehensive, but also being displayed in a simple, efficient and even attractive manner – for both virtual event planners and audiences alike.
It’s important to understand that live streaming represents only a subset of virtual conferences: that these forms of virtual events need not be limited to audiences engaging with a live speaker. Versatility comes into play: virtual conferencing allows a customisable combination of pre-recorded and live footage, along with options for additional gamification to keep audiences entertained.
Have you ever gotten lost at an exhibition, endlessly wandering about just trying to find one specific section you’re looking for? When it comes to virtual exhibitions, intuitive design allows audiences to navigate instantly with a click of a button to any component they so desire. Here’s where the boundary between reality and imagination really breaks down – you can construct a whole new world for your audiences to play in, even incorporating VR or 360° technology to achieve the ultimate immersive experience.
Just about any physical feature from a traditional exhibition can be incorporated in – booths, networking areas or even performances – without the annoying physical limitations, such as catering, toilets or travel and accommodation preparations.
“Construct a whole new world for audiences to play in”
This brings us to the most vital component of virtual exhibitions, and arguably any virtual event. As any event management service understands well, networkin g is and always will be a critical cornerstone of any event. Virtual exhibitions can and should always have dedicated networking features, and they should be easier and more streamlined than walking up to someone and starting a conversation in real life. Of course, you do lose a bit of the personal touch that face-to-face interaction gives you, but being able to network with a greatly expanded number of people on a faster, easier and global scale more than makes up for it.
Lastly, virtual exhibitions – and again, virtual events in general – allow more space for multitasking. You can visit a booth, watch their demonstration or introduction, read their materials and make comparisons with other options, along with engaging or networking; all at the same time! Of course, this needn’t be a must for each individual; but providing audiences such a streamlined and customisable option is always appreciated, and it frees up their time to interact even more with you.
While we’ve grouped the various forms of virtual events in an easily understandable manner, do remember that their various features tend to overlap across different forms of virtual events and are generally interchangeable. For example, perhaps you’d want a virtual conference with features of a virtual product launch. Or a virtual exhibition where attendees can join in separate conferences or interact with separate product launches. All of that is perfectly possible, and we definitely encourage it – the beauty of the virtual landscape is that it can be completely customised to fit your unique requirements.
“The only limits are your own imagination and the scale of your ambition”
So, go crazy! The only limit is your own imagination and the scale of your ambition. Again, we stress that it’s important to identify your goals – while cramming your virtual event with every possible feature known to man is technically feasible, overloading your audiences with too many functions and features can confuse them and create ineffective results. Hence, it’s vital to recognize which features are best to achieve your targets, and prioritize quality over quantity.
We recommend utilizing the modular, interchangeable versatility of virtual events in tandem with clear-set, definitive objectives for maximum effect. Embrace the future of creative experiential marketing here.
The technologies of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality are by today pretty well-known to the general public. These concepts have long been at the forefront of the innovation of immersion, and are not to be forgotten as we transition to virtual events – by utilizing these technologies, we can fully envelop virtual reality, physical reality and the audience in a multi-directional, multisensory experience to surpass all imaginable expectations and achieve absolute, otherworldly immersion.
We’re delving into AR/VR/MR to take immersive virtual experiences to the next level. Are you ready to explore the next steps of reshaping reality with us? Embrace the future of creative experiential marketing here.
What Makes You Different?
In a world where everyone is pushing to go virtual, what sets you apart from the rest?
We argue that it’s your style that differentiates you.
How much a person is willing to interact with you over a cup of coffee depends on your own unique, individual style – and that goes for virtual events as well. We’ve added a few notable tips that help you define your virtual style below.
Visual – How does your event look? Modern? Classy? Simplistic?
Audio – What kind of music are you using to set the atmosphere, to create the mood?
Message – How are you delivering your message, and guiding your audience thus?
Flow – How does your event flow overall? How and when are you highlighting your brand message and sponsors?
At The Fame, our style focuses on Precision, Honour and Character: meticulousness in design, nothing but the highest of quality, and true expression of brand identity.
What’s yours? Embrace the future of creative experiential marketing here.
Tell a Compelling Story
Your style gets audiences in the door, but what you have to say is what keeps them in their seats. Not only does your content have to be remarkable and engaging, it has to be relevant – you need to give audiences a compelling reason to commit their time to you. Your audiences shouldn’t just be saying they had a good time – at the end of the day, they should be feeling lucky to have had the opportunity to witness, engage in and learn from your virtual event; which consequently motivates them to come back for more.
“Every experience needs to be designed and curated with people in mind”
Experience is Everything
Regardless of what industry you’re in, the experience you give your clientele and your audiences is what truly defines you, and what keeps them coming back. With virtual events, the complete user experience that audiences undergo is what will set you apart from the rest.
Always remember, at the end of the day virtual events aren’t just about two computers talking to each other. You’re still talking and interacting with another human being on the other side of the digital sphere, so each and every experience needs to be designed and curated with people in mind.
The Fame is a brand experience agency that specializes in igniting passionate companies and enhancing their brands. With a strong emphasis on artistic perfection, we craft breathtaking, multisensory brand experiences that go above and beyond to connect with audiences.
Given the recent Covid-19 circumstances, we’ve pivoted not only to helping brands transition to the virtual stage, but also to help them do so with magnificent style and maximum impact when it comes to experiential marketing and optimizing ROI.
Combining traditional + futuristic elements, we look to bring an artisan touch to revolutionizing virtual events in Malaysia, Southeast Asia and beyond.
Look to the Virtual Horizon.
Embrace the future of creative experiential marketing here.