Union Connect Account Managers, Georgia Waters and Lucy Kennedy, discuss the value of virtual events and why businesses must consider these in the current climate and beyond.
There’s no escaping that the Covid-19 global pandemic has drastically shifted how we communicate with one another on both a personal and business level.
Leading brands are already addressing the challenge head on. This week’s London Fashion Week, is offering a packed virtual programme, replacing catwalks with films, podcasts, live-streamed discussions and even a virtual afterparty. While Fern Cotton’s wellness festival, Happy Place, is a great example of how we can provide a festival feel even from afar, with a whole month of events!
In the absence of in-person interactions, Union Connect has quickly adapted to bring about some highly creative and engaging solutions that are helping our clients effectively reach and engage with their audiences, through virtual and immersive events.
Our new virtual events offering replicates a ‘physical’ location-based event/s on an online platform. We can host a vast array of event types, from large-scale conferences to more intimate product launches and brand awareness events, giving attendees an event experience easily accessed from the comfort and safety of their home. We have a host of different platforms and formats that can be adapted to best suit your objectives.
We’ve a wealth of experience and expertise in developing creative and effective events from corporate, recruitment, behaviour change, product launches and brand awareness drives, we offer everything that might be required to run a virtual event. From initial idea conception, to designing of any assets required and event management to implementing a communication plan to maximise reach, attendance and delegate follow-up. The beauty of us handling all of this under one metaphorical roof means we can ensure everything is seamless and working together in harmony to deliver to a truly impactful, memorable event which extends well beyond the computer screen.
Check out the packages below for an idea of how we can work with you.
These are just a flavour of what we can offer, there’s plenty other aspects of virtual events we can help with, from presenter training and slide design, to cook-a-longs, branded immersive games, tasting sessions and many more.
To discuss how we could plan and implement a virtual event for you, drop us a line and we can grab a virtual coffee, Email – firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to have a chat.
Not quite convinced?
We could talk for hours (yes, we love to chat) about the benefits and opportunities that arise from hosting an online event, but we have summarised below:
Direct interaction – Virtual events offer an outlet to speak directly with your audience, an opportunity often not available through traditional advertising. This can be priceless in building rapport, loyalty and insight.
Captive audience – Now that most of the world is spending more time at home, there hasn’t been a better time to easily reach audiences who are craving human connection and a sense of belonging. Virtual events can create that feeling of community which many people value now more than ever.
Reach – Hosting an event online means there is scope to reach anyone, anywhere, at any time. There are no restrictions in terms of geographical barriers or commute time, which means an audience from across the world can join instantly without the need to consider travel. You can grow your audience, no matter where they live.
Versatility – The flexibility of online platforms teamed with innovation and creativity means there are endless virtual event types, such as virtual conferences, product launches, training sessions, company parties, workshops, open days, career fairs, to name but a few. There’s also scope to scale your event up or down and add in exciting interactive and bonus features.
Cost-effective – By taking your event online you are cutting out the need for venue hire, venue insurance, food and drink, travel and accommodation, all of which can add significant costs to your budget.
Measurability and insight – When hosting an event online you can easily measure the number of attendees, interaction rate and capture post-event feedback, providing invaluable and accurate data.
While the interest in virtual events has clearly soared since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the new kid on the block is likely here to stay, in some capacity, long after the end of social distancing and travel restrictions as the benefits are so significant.
Some of our favourites…
Read on for some of our favourite recent creative examples of virtual events in action.
Like many distilleries, Eden Mill headed online to host the first of their virtual tastings in April. In an attempt to shake up the pandemic lockdown weekends and keep communicating with their audience, Eden Mill invited both gin enthusiasts and novices to join them in an evening of discovery sampling tastes, flavours and aromas of the brand’s full product range, all from the comfort of their own home. Sending tasting kits to attendees ahead of the event, the fun and interactive evening featured industry experts sharing their knowledge and history of the distillery, as well as a full tasting experience of six gins and live competitions.
SBC Digital Summit
SBC Digital Summit designed a virtual space based on the concept of a physical conference centre. They created ‘The Lobby’, a home screen jumping off point from which attendees could access the different parts of the event. They also had a networking lounge feature which replicated a realistic lounge with ‘chat’ windows where attendees could gather, interact and network. By creating these environments, attendees would feel familiar aspects of event spaces through the virtual layout instead of the clicking through to the usual webinar format.
Airbnb has undoubtedly been hugely impacted by coronavirus. Their sole business was centred around people being able to travel. However, by looking at their offering through a different lens, they were able to tap into a fundamental reason why people want to travel; it’s to experience new things. Coronavirus hasn’t impacted our ability to try new things, you could argue it’s even given many of us the time to be able to do so. Airbnb introduced online experiences to their platform which offers unique activities led by hosts from all over the world. By doing so, a brand that should have just pressed pause until borders opened again, has kept in communication with their audience and proved that they are here to provide their audience with memorable experiences, whatever the situation. Powerful stuff.
An event that by it’s own definition is a place of innovation, creativity and forward thinking has taken itself online. This example shows how a brand has stayed true to itself by adapting quickly and making the switch to the virtual world. The online space has also allowed an event that typically spans a week, continue on with talks and experiences for viewers still happening even now, months after the original end date. By removing the physical space and the need for all attendees to commit to being in that physical space from the equation, SXSW has managed to expand it’s presence and reach.