That’s another thing that’s key with events: longevity.
Whether the event itself lasts one day or one minute doesn’t matter, but the extension of that experience after the fact is what keeps the brand story alive.
With virtual events at the moment, there’s very little shareable content that bombards your feed, few connections formed, nothing that says “we went to this thing together” — which feels even stranger at a time when we’re all going through something together. Guests enjoy something to look back on, as they look forward. It’s the same notion behind why #ThrowbackThursday is still a thing or the #ImJustAKid challenge is trending. The extension of an event can be (and should) something other than a photo. As brands continue to settle into the digital event space, there is a need to foster community after the link expires. Share the DJ set from the event, create a chat room for attendees to opt into to discuss the conversation, make an AR filter that evokes the setting — make a world that extends not only the lifeline of the event, but also the story of the brand. If the restrictions are lifted slightly, brands could employ a DTC extension for the most engaged event goers to have a more intimate experience with a specific product or exclusive 1:1 events as a way to bring some IRL back to IVL.
While the full future of the experiential world is uncertain, what is certain is that events are still integral. They help foster community, tell a story, and create a moment of magic, even if you’re trapped inside or have to stay 6 feet apart.
In this difficult time, with an uncertain future, the question of “Why did you stay in events?” is even more significant.
Working in events is not for everyone. As a producer you’re the first one in, the last to leave, typically with a 5 a.m. call time and 2 a.m. wrap. Even when you plan everything perfectly, and have back up plans for your back up plans, you still end up putting out fires — sometimes literally.
But we stay because working in events is incredible. Experiential events are a way to say something unique, because they’re based on hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, feeling something for the first, and often only, time with other people. Witnessing that moment as a producer is what makes it all worth it, and the success of those moments is what encourages brands to keep funding experiential marketing and encourages agencies and individuals to challenge ourselves to take them further.
*There are host platforms like Splash and Eventtia that provide a white-labeled way for brands to host events and integrate ticketing, livestreams, and chats while collecting relevant data, and Event Farm has a virtual campus where guests can experience a webinar and private chats in a few ways.