Corporate events are a great way to bring people together outside of the structured office environment for a common cause. In hindsight, it’s easy to see how stagnant these had become over the past few years – whether in regard to venue or overall content delivery. While there are many different types of events available, we’ve narrowed it down to four that we see the most in our industry.
It’s safe to say that a vast majority of us have now had first-hand experience with online events – even if it’s just an internal company Zoom meeting, or a homeschool webinar with our little one’s where your child is the only one that confesses to playing video games instead of doing homework. Oh wait…that didn’t happen to EVERYONE?
Corporate event planners have also recently pivoted to a digital environment. Venues were recently required to go dormant, forcing businesses to reschedule events by embracing video communication platforms. If you dust off your rose-colored glasses, you might find a little bit of light in an otherwise dark room here – pun intended.
Until recently, these digital platforms were intimidating. It was an unknown environment to many. The fact that the whole world could see them, coupled with a strong desire for unrealistic perfection, was a major hesitation for most when considering a shift to digital video content.
However (and you know where this is going) a microscopic virus that shut down an entire country had the power to push us into an otherwise uncomfortable digital world. What’s even more amazingly unexpected is how our perception of perfect content delivery has been altered: perfection is OUT – and it’s perfect nonetheless.
As we shift conferences and tradeshows toward digital platforms, whether partially or fully online, the segments are much more succinct to keep attendees engaged but informed. Distractions are much less avoidable from a computer screen than sitting in a conference room, so continuous engagement is critical for maximum retention.
Having an event that is both virtual and in-person allows everyone to participate, even those who would otherwise be unable. Tradeshows can be offered as a reduced capacity event in an communal (still social distance friendly) area, but also as a virtual event where attendees can pop into a live chat room at their convenience.
From a conference perspective, the same concept applies – livestreamed from the comfort of any remote location with a limited number of in-person attendees. It’s kind of the best of both worlds – remote and physical – while allowing a wider variety of engagement from different angles.
If you’re interested in learning more about converting these events to digital, here’s a cool article from Forbes regarding top hacks to making virtual conferences a better experience for all.
We all know how important onboarding is for new employees. Lately, digital technology has become a vital part of recruiting skilled team members, even pre-pandemic. With online meeting platforms like Zoom, the qualification process can be conducted online with no travel required until the final in-person interview. Saves time and money while keeping the participants at a safe distance from each other.
Training new employees is a key component of the hiring process. Many mid to large size companies group multiple trainees into a classroom setting, offering company platform and procedure education in bulk. In addition, these new hires are often paired with a buddy or mentor during their first month to keep a motivated brand ambassador at their fingertips. Never could we imagine that these co-training programs would become a scarce asset.
Online job fairs can be helpful to recruiting teams, especially when utilizing the interactive features such as chat rooms, live F&Qs, and webcasts. It provides the engagement that attracts prospective employees while removing geographical barriers and extending the reach for adequate talent.
Human resource admins often maintain a variety of training materials in an online cloud platform for quick and easy access for employees, but recent events have encouraged more to dive into the virtual training world in order to meet the needs of new recruits and potential promotions.
For current employees, reskilling and upskilling have become more crucial as executives assess the need to cross-train team members so that they can shift seamlessly between departments as demands shift.
For essential workers in Healthcare, where they have been hiring and reskilling in droves, online training has been critical. You’ve likely seen video tutorials on how to properly wash hands, or the video that shows UV lights exposing germs on hands that were not washed properly. What an incredible world we live in where essential healthcare workers are able to take advantage of online learning management systems to cross-train into new environments within the industry. Not only that, but online video portals have also allowed doctor/patient visits on a virtual platform as well.
Imagine the future potential for virtual recruiting, onboarding, training, etc. Nothing beats a personal experience, but having the technology to offer accompanying virtual tools is a key to staying ahead of the competition.
Many businesses rely heavily on local and regional community events to increase brand awareness. Even though these events may look different now and for the foreseeable future, the main purpose of them is to bring people together in some capacity for a memorable experience. But how do you connect and build loyal relationships when emotions are running so high?
For many, safety concerns are still front and center of their minds, while others are just chomping at the bit to go about their previously normal daily routines. Both perspectives should be considered equally important during the event planning process. Consider it from each viewpoint and develop the event to make each participant feel at ease with their own comfort level. It could be something as simple as an outdoor concert with a jumbo inflatable movie screens showing an engaging video – best for those who prefer to engage from a distance, but also enjoyable to the extrovert while offering a 1v1 consultation at an event table full of custom face masks and reusable water bottles.
Because…SWAG can always be “essential”.
Experiential activations are incredibly valuable in any atmosphere. As with any marketing strategy, it’s just a matter of pivoting the experience for the desired audience. Yeah, it SOUNDS simple, but we all know it’s much more calculated than it appears.
Now is the perfect time to re-ignite customer interest and educate clients on how your business has adapted to the current environment. How cool would it be to have a local celebrity help you out for a charitable cause – it could be a retired athlete, a local hero, a book author, or a local chef that fits your brand. Think of the online reach this would bring via social media outlets!
Yes, it’s about brand awareness for your company, but the most successful experiential events are when they are used to cultivate your company values and show the community how you can actually help make a positive difference in their world.
That’s how you leave a lasting impact!
According to CBS sports, only about 53% of sporting events originally scheduled for 2020 will likely take place. As this is being written, stadiums are empty. What started with the cancellation of NBA games for COVID safety precautions soon trickled down to NCAA tournaments and then quickly spread worldwide – including the highly anticipated 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which has since been postponed for the first time in the history of the games.
The devastating monetary loss of these cancellations is widespread.
On a brighter note, these sporting events are not gone forever. While most amateur and professional sports are still on hold, they are working diligently to determine the safest way to engage fans without the traditional concessions and high-fives. Major League Soccer (MLS) is scheduled to host their first major event in July with the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida. However, standard protocol for the teams has changed tremendously, as is evident by the new health and safety requirements implemented for keeping all participants safe during the event.
Once the stands open again, it will take time to maximize stadium capacities. Until then, event planners are getting super creative by utilizing these large capacity environments for social distancing events like outdoor theaters and concerts. Ahhh…why haven’t we thought of this before! What a great use of the space during the off-season!