While hybrid events are the perfect fit for the post-COVID world, we think they’re far more than a compromise until we can get back to ‘normal’. With the launch of our own hybrid events packages, Live From Tobacco Dock, we’ve been talking to some of the most creative and experienced brains in the industry to find out their advice for hosting the perfect hybrid and why they offer much more than just a solution to social distancing.
Robyn Church, Head of Client Services at Clive Agency
That face to face interaction is hard to replicate, but digital experiences bring so many benefits, including reach, measurability and sustainability. Hybrid events unite worlds, harnessing the advantages of both!
Hybrid events offer an extra layer of professionalism and can appear more dynamic – if done right the overall experience for your audience is elevated. Multiple hosts, on a TV-esque set, integrating a bit of AR and pre-recorded content simply turns a one-way experience into a fluid, interesting and professional one.
Anything event organisers need to pay particular attention to when planning this type of event?
Tell a story – if you don’t feel it, you won’t remember it. Our approach is to build an event narrative that focuses on the entire event canvas for a complete journey.
Celebrate your speakers – speakers are your biggest asset and carry more responsibility than ever. Take care of your speakers and make it as easy as possible for them through preparation, rehearsal and coaching.
Give attendees purpose – in order to engage with attendees, you need them to feel like they have skin in the game! 70% of a person’s learning is experience-based, so you need engaging touch points throughout the digital event.
What are the most important elements in which to invest your budget for hybrid events as opposed to live events?
We recommend you double down on content – strong content is your most powerful tool in a digital world.
Your message is the foundation and it all starts with being clear on that message. From there, it’s how you visualise and engage the senses.
Appreciate the production value; 67% of live stream viewers say quality is the most important factor. It’s not the time to back down from an elevated idea. Make it uniquely yours in order to stand out.
How can you make the event just as engaging for your online audience as for your live attendees?
Remember the surprise and delight!
Break through the screen – Beat screen fatigue, drive casual collisions and create a sense of community by encouraging physical movement, providing team building and social activities, sending home drops and leveraging shared F&B opportunities.
Content considerations – how is your timetable likely to be different to a live event?
In a virtual/hybrid events world, your content becomes the most important element to keeping your audiences engaged. If it’s a one-off event generally the sessions are shorter, meaning instead of spending a whole day at the event, audiences are spending between one and two hours. But what this can do is make the organiser think and consider more carefully about the content they are putting on. ‘Punch’, ‘impact’ and ‘fluid’ are all words we’ve heard when our teams are coaching speakers.
This said, a hybrid event does allow you to be more varied with your content, accommodating all audience types and allowing them to curate their own experience. There could be an event stream all day with different channels and streams, your audience can log in, see what they want to see and log out again. It opens up more choice and flexibility for the audience.
What you look for in a venue to host hybrid events?
More than ever before, health and safety is key, so organisers and attendees need confidence that the venue has adhered to agreed parameters. Communication between the venue and the planner needs to be spot on. Venue space flexibility is key, great to have a lot more space so the teams can socially distance as well as have plenty of ‘backstage’ space for the tech team. From a technical angle we’d look for privacy, soundproofing and ‘closed sets’ – and of course unbeatable Wi-Fi and internet connections.
Pitfalls to avoid
Make sure you place a big emphasis on your speakers. With virtual and hybrid events there should be increased amounts of time spent on coaching your speakers, checking their connections, getting their light and sound set-up right and plenty of time for full rehearsals. Failure to take these pre-event processes seriously, and you will likely impact the smooth running of the event not to mention the audience enjoyment.
Whatever your event style, whether it’s live, digital or hybrid events, make sure you check out our roundup of the most creative happenings around the globe in our Inspiration Station. The latest edition focuses on Positive Change. The next few editions will focus on topics such as Virtual Experiences, Engagement, Community and Storytelling.
To find out more about the amazing work of Robyn and her team, visit the Clive Agency website.