Coronavirus is threatening our industry as in-person meetings are being cancelled globally. And with good reason: COVID-19 is dangerous. Cancelling or postponing in-person gatherings and live events is a wise and responsible decision.
While no one is traveling for business right now, that doesn’t eliminate the need met by events. Our clients still have real business needs. They still need to make product announcements. They still need to connect and unify their internal audiences. They still need to educate and inspire their salesforces. They still need to inform investors and the press. And, they still want event professionals to run their events—however, now we must run those events digitally.
As event creatives and producers face tough new challenges, we must address these key questions. How can we engage our event audiences online? What practices can we keep from our experience with live events? What do we need to adapt for web-streaming applications?
Live events are big, immersive, shared experiences. They engage all our senses and connect us with our stakeholders. Conversely, webcasts are just one browser tab amid a dozen others. Viewers could push webcasts into the background while sifting through email and a dozen other distractions. What’s the biggest challenge that online events face? It’s continually earning each individual audience member’s attention. There’s got to be something in it for them in order to justify their time commitment. Think of any webcast you’ve ever attended yourself, and you’ll have immediate empathy with your next online audience. What can be done to provide real value for our clients and their audiences?
In discussions with graphic designers, creatives and studio owners that regularly design visuals and storyboards for these online events, here are some key creative tactics, garnered from years of experience, which you might fold into your own approach for web-streaming events:
With the live events industry moving to digital-first delivery, you need to work toward new goals. Space is very different in a browser tab than an arena. Everything has different proportions and scale relationships to the presenters. Broadcast design relies on different techniques to earn audience attention. Here are some ideas:
Web-Streaming live events are still live events at their core. A lot of what we know about producing traditional events translates. There are new production considerations, too. Some are obvious, like cameras, switchers, and a streaming platform. Here are some others:
The move to web-streaming delivery affects all event disciplines. We have great staging experience that we can still apply — but we must tweak our approach and layer in some vital new tools and techniques in order to best serve our clients. Collectively, we have the creativity, talent and experience to deliver key content online with the high production value and high audience engagement that our clients have come to expect.
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