In the sixth episode of Elevate’s IGTV PR Toolkit series, we spoke to Oonagh Cahill, Account Director at Elevate PR, about virtual events, and the pivot from in real life events to the virtual event world.
Oonagh started by describing how pre-pandemic, brands were heavily investing in real life events for launches and key moments for campaigns. Once the pandemic hit, all live events were cancelled, and it was time to pivot. Elevate spent time looking at the best in class, attending online training, and preparing for the virtual event world.
Oonagh then took us through some top tips to ensure your brand makes the most out of a virtual event.
Choosing the right medium
Choosing the right medium is so important. We have hosted virtual events to launch a new product, to position brands as industry experts and thought leaders, and to build relationships with media and influencers that they have not spoken to for a while. Each set of objectives is different. Therefore, sometimes a webinar works best, other times a Zoom meeting or even a DIY masterclass is the way to go.
Like any real-life event, virtual events need a lot of planning and preparation. It is so important to schedule rehearsals, to make sure all parties are in the location / area where they will be on the day to check lighting / Wi-Fi / sound / background, to share key messages, briefing documents, etc.
Running orders are always needed especially if there is more than one element to an event, as each party needs to know how much time they have and when then need to wrap things up!
Sometimes things do not go exactly as planned and there could be a tech or Wi-Fi issue but it’s important to stay calm! And, always have a contingency plan and a WhatsApp group to stay in touch with panellists.
Create an engaging event
There are so many virtual events taking place, it is really important to create an engaging event that will capture the interest of attendees. Recent examples of engaging virtual events Elevate has created:
- We hosted a virtual Zoom for Kildare Village to celebrate the Spring Equinox, with a crystal workshop by Merle O’Grady, an insight into the Celtic wheel with Mari Kennedy, and a live performance from Tolu Makay.
- We enlisted beauty expert, Corina Tolan, to interview the founder of Irish brand, Lusso Tan, Lynsey, who shared her tips and tricks for best application of the product virtually. Attendees received the Lusso Tan products ahead of time to apply along with Lynsey
- We’ve worked with the Charlotte Tilbury Pro Artist Team to create some fabulous brush along masterclass events for influencers and media
Covid shaped the virtual event landscape
People are missing community and connection. A key objective with virtual events has been to try to give attendees a sense of togetherness, community, and interaction.
What does the future hold?
When it comes to the future of events, Oonagh spoke about some of the interesting trends she is already beginning to see.
- Hybrid events – hybrid events are going to be the future. We have already seen hybrid events take place on a larger scale with The Oscars in the America, The Brits in the UK, and even The Gossies here in Ireland taking place with limited number and online participation. There will continue to be a capacity limit and social distancing in the short term, so smaller in real life events will come back for now. We see a hybrid style event staying with virtual / streaming elements also included to reach a larger audience even when congregation is allowed again.
- Gamification – gamification immerses people in different reality. Including gamification in events is a future trend that we think is one to watch.
- Consumer engagement – brands inviting consumers to more virtual events.
Check out our full IGTV PR Toolkit series here.