Just because your event was canceled doesn't mean it can't continue, you'll need to consider new strategies. An option that's gaining acceptance is electronic group meetings. There are a variety of platform options, but we are more interested in the event.
Just like the most popular bar in town- you'll need a bouncer. Always make sure you’re taking adequate precautions to prevent Zoombombing. The bouncer can also act as the point person for troubleshooting tech problems or outlining the rules in your meeting.
Pants Required! Know what's expected. Will there be time for networking? Is there a theme or tone for the event? There are many questions, so you need to set expectations and communicate those expectations. Use your social media & marketing materials to make sure all attendees will be wearing pants when the head of human resources is providing tips for developing an employee manual.
The elements to event planning are similar, only the logistics are different:
Commemorate the event. Hire a photographer to take screenshots or create images the same way you would at an in-person event. Plan for group shots and more informal fun shots too. We all enjoy non-scripted authentic photos! Perhaps convert the budget you would have spent on a venue on creating a professional video or working with a tech guru to figure out how to house those power points & session videos into mini training sessions on demand. This approach generates revenue after the event and builds interest for 2021.
Seize opportunity. Consider stretching out an event that would have been one day and breaking it up over several days. This approach will allow you to change the tone of each event. For example, when you show up to a 3-day conference, you usually have a fun theme inspired cocktail hour the first night. Wearing funny hats, encouraging folks to share the same beverages or dress up in a theme with destination wallpaper behind their face makes sense; and invites networking. When it's time to delve into serious topics, the look & feel should change to reflect the purpose of the event.
Get Comfortable, but with pants. The tone has changed, keynote speakers or training sessions for professional development benefit from comfortable surroundings for attendees. Classics like drinkware, journals, pens and snacks provide new opportunities for sponsors because attendees can continue using them after the event.
Think Bigger Picture. Sponsors want engagement. Instead of picking up swag at the event, sponsors can strategically benefit from kits built for attendees; adding value before, during and after the event.
Create Hype. A coach motivates the players before the game, getting your Disney wristbands prior to your visit to Magic Kingdom adds excitement and builds momentum. Make kits with social media in mind, quality over quantity of items. Imaginatively themed packaging will generate shares on social media. It's all about the eyeballs my friend.
Create kits! Mailing kits ahead of the event to attendees, add a perk for early bird registration. No budget for shipping? Is this a local event? Develop sponsor-attendee relationships with curbside pick up at sponsor locations. Even divide the attendee list among sponsors with strategic prospect pick up locations. Each sponsor would have time for one-on-one time with that registrant!
Share Success! Let others know you rocked this event. Share on social media, through newsletters or video links in an email. (assuming you have everyone’s permission).
Back to that question, which platform is right for your next event? We can build a kit that will add value to attendees and maximize sponsor engagement, but we aren't experts in video platforms. Here's a document to help you decide which platform works best for your needs.