Throughout 2020 and the early part of 2021, we saw many of our clients’ events either cancel or postpone due to pandemic complications. Many companies pivoted to utilizing their existing resources and platforms for internal events, such as all-hands Teams meetings, large Zoom calls, etc. These meeting tools have helped carry us all forward during this new era, but hindsight shows that we can do better.
Every single event registration company has developed their own virtual events “platform”, but they all lack one crucial component: an effective team and process that produces and executes these events. Many of these platforms seem rigid, and often difficult to navigate.
Over this past year, Gravity Productions has partnered with their clients to create custom Virtual Event Websites. We have also taken a lead on the production of content, and successful execution of the hybrid event itself.
Here are some benefits to this approach:
Control of the branding and access
No two events are the same, and that is why no single platform is perfectly suited for virtual events. Sitting down with clients and designing from the ground up leads to a more impactful and purposeful event. A template and sample PDF can help turn those creative wheels. Nearly everything is customizable. Backgrounds, button color, sizes, icons, layout, number of pages, embedded videos, and tradeshow booths to name a few.
Pre-recording some of the content can keep you on time and on message. Using live introductions, polling, and live Q&A sessions can bring energy and impact to these events. Presenters utilize a convenient “Presenter Portal” to advance slides, view speaker timer, attendee questions, and to chat with event producers and organizers.
Along with that additional control, you can also utilize as much or as little security as your event requires. This can be as simple as a single password access page, to a one time authentication password. Or maybe your event calls for a dynamic API to be written to integrate with your existing registration platform. This is all possible and has been successfully executed.
Curate the event to your needs, and not the other way around
Some events are simple webinars or multiday conferences with no frills or flash. The critical session components must work, be simple to navigate, and it must be easy to disseminate login information to an audience and presenters. Other events, such as galas or corporate presentations, may have complex programming with VIP guest speakers and require a more curated product for viewers. Either way, you want a platform that is flexible and a team that can flawlessly execute.
Going virtual has made travel logistics easier, however, communication has never been more critical, and you need Meeting Planners and Technical Directors that can facilitate and guide your team to success.
What is the objective of the event and how much time do you want your audience on the site? It is important to consider duration and attention spans in the virtual environment. Interactive elements like virtual foyers for clients to mingle in before the programming begins can help get attendees energized for main events that are informative and concise.
If it is a multiday event, perhaps consider morning wellness activities or social events to keep people fresh and engaged.
Build, Re-use, Repeat
A benefit of a Virtual Event Website is that once built, updating for the next webinar, the next gala, or the next quarterly meeting is a cinch. Simply supply the updated session details and assets to the production team, communicate with key players, rehearse if needed – and you are ready to go. Re-using an event site can save a client money on subsequent like-kind events after the initial site development costs.
Increased impact by going hybrid
Knowing how to use the meeting tools at your disposal can go a long way. There are chaotic Zoom meetings, yet there are also well planned and executed Zoom meetings. The difference is usually the planner, and the experience of the team who is using those tools. To make these simple meetings more professional, incorporating studio elements into a virtual production can send a message of significance to your workforce or clients. These add-ons can be affordable and scaled depending on budget. With preparation and rehearsals, you can achieve the important goal of having your presenters be comfortable, confident, clear, and concise. Partnering with a production team that has the experience and the knowledge can make all the difference.
Back to the Ballroom or Event Center
Virtual events were possible before 2020, and they will continue to serve a purpose in the future. They are a tool that can be leveraged to increase participation and audience reach. We all miss being together in person, but as we have learned over the last 18 months, technology has created a bridge for those unable to participate in-person. The hybrid model will allow participation from additional key players, presenters, and audience members that otherwise might be left out.
Whether preparing a team meeting for a small company, a town hall for a global business, or a sales kickoff for a tech company, consider utilization of a custom event website.