By: Josh Rush / SURREAL

Apr 16 2021

The pandemic has left us with many web-based conference tools for communicating that are still passive experiences—very few involve seamless audience participation and attendees are starting to get fatigued by the generic experience.

Whether the event or experience you’re providing is IRL or virtual, it’s important to lead with immersive experiences that are bespoke for your demographic and break the mold.

Crafting a plan that involves a live, in-person event with a virtual component allows your brand to meet your customers where they are most comfortable while providing an innovative experience.

Here’s a quick way to get started:

  1. Decide logistics around space restrictions. Venues are beginning to open up their doors in a limited capacity, which means that your 200 person event is now limited to no more than 30, right? Wrong. With a virtual experience, you can sell in-person tickets at a premium and offer a live or recorded version for a discount—ensure that everyone’s included regardless of where they live, while expanding your reach at the same time.

  2. Cater to inclusion. Craft the digital twin to your in-person event in a way that is most inclusive to audiences, from tailoring the size of the font in your virtual experience to ensuring accessibility standards are met. In creating a hybrid event, you’re able to reach more audiences, but that also means building an event that everyone can enjoy.

  3. Don’t just replicate, innovate. When audiences are inundated with virtual experiences—from work to hanging out with friends— it’s important to consider what innovative hook a digital component to your live event strategy could include. Set up VIP experiences, virtual meet and greet with performers, provide bespoke clothing options for avatars, or develop alternate scenes and spaces using 3D virtual rooms… The opportunities are endless!

  4. Integrate eCommerce. Before COVID-19, audiences weren’t thrilled to wait in line for merch, and now that’s even more true. Use your digital component to sell exclusive merchandise during the live event, offer audiences the opportunity to test out product features virtually (and eliminate the need to sanitize products after each use), or partner with online food delivery platforms to provide audiences with a 360-degree experience.

  5. Get back to basics. Crafting a virtual component to an in-person event requires a digital foundation for your brand and easing your audience into adoption with the right promotional marketing. Use the time before your hybrid event to distribute tutorials, user guides and training sessions as a way to reduce obstacles to adoption and will enhance the overall experience for your attendees.

Just as there isn’t a one size fits all approach to live events, your hybrid event strategy is an opportunity to build your brand’s digital presence and future-proof your business.