Live and Hybrid Event Planning Guide
in-person & Hybrid
Event Planning Guide
the secrets to live brand engagement excellence
For events, re-energising people and coming together in this ‘new’ world requires a refreshed perspective, one that has radically evolved how we approach event agendas and how we construct sessions.
We all know that there’s power in face-to-face. We also know that live events have had to embrace hybrid and online solutions – and with this comes a rethink about what and how you present and engage.
Every moment in your customer’s event journey must resonate and create an experience, for you to achieve the desired outcomes. Thankfully, we plan for that, with e:volve – a fully designed and engaging event solution from the start, which allows brands to create the impact of their desired experience.
Immersing yourself with your audiences in mind from the beginning helps refine and visualise what you want them to experience and why.
To support you to strategically plan your next online or hybrid event, we’ve put together the following high-level event planning steps providing you with a blueprint to make your next event or product engagement one of the most memorable things your brand does this year!
1. outline your plan to kickstart your event planning strategy
First things first – why are you holding this particular event? Much like an elevator pitch, ensure you have clarity early in the strategic planning process, to know:
- The event’s purpose and objectives
- The desired business outcomes of the event
- What you want your audience and guests to feel during the event, and then walk away with, action or commit to.
Here are a few examples of events, each with a clear and different purpose and possibilities for engagement:
- Your national business conference
- Team building
- Product launch event
- Team development and training
- Awards celebrations
- Professional education – CPD | CME
Starting your planning by the type of event, duration audience and the outcomes you seek, it’s also an opportunity to consider how you might broaden your audience for maximum impact.
2. design your event program for impact
So, now that you’re clear on your event’s purpose, objectives and style of event lets consider how you can approach it for the best results.
Audience reach: Hybrid or online events provide a great opportunity to involve those who usually get overlooked at the company’s traditional face-to-face events because it’s too costly to bring them in. With solutions that enable you to reach your customers or staff anyplace, anytime, you can confidently plan for a wider audience reach at very little cost. Planning for a mix of in-person, hybrid or fully online, bring scalable options that provide you with assurance your event will take place, despite border challenges.
Programs that hit the mark: What does your ideal program look like? What brand activations or audience participation will help cement your message and create an enriching experience for your guests?
Timeframe – how long? A product launch event will often range from a short 30 minute online presentation with live Q&A with your presenters, to a 6 hour fully immersive and interactive event with multiple presenters, activations, and networking activities, designed for all participants – whether they are in person or online. There is huge scope for length of programs and inclusions. How long is your piece of string?
Creating the right experience: Strategies are designed to match your objectives, purpose and audience to create your unique offering and experience.
3. who’s in the spotlight?
Next, consider what style of presentation content and mix of presentation media will help convey your message and maintain audience attention. You’re creating an event with impact. Audiences are much more interested in two-way communications and engagement than they were 12 months ago.
Will your message receive more credibility if you involve other specialists or team members to participate in your session?
The good news is that it’s achievable to incorporate speakers from anyplace around the world into your program. Depending on your program, timezones, presentation content and speaker experience, some sessions are best pre recorded sessions so you reach a more polished presentation, other times, speakers are bought in live, especially if there is two-way communications required. These are some of the strategies considered in program planning.
Speaking to your audience: In a hybrid or online environment, your speakers need to express warmth, utilising dynamic content to break down the perceived borders and build connection. The good thing, is that today many options exist for meaningful connection, whilst having fun and connecting on a deeper level to build trust.
4. Session style and creating a stage for your brand!
At this point in your planning, we can start to talk about what type of brand presence that will resonate with your brand, and session topics. The emphasis is on the quality that best represents your brand and message. Let’s create your stage.
You now have more opportunity to be on one of many virtual stage sets. Our record for a conference so far is 22 different sets that showed their facilities.
Some background to the approach: How we record your speakers, the images we use and the sound that accompanies each speaker is what we call ‘capture’. It can be done in four ways:
- Recorded by speakers at a manufacturing plant, or place that aligns with your brand or topic, against a green screen putting your speaker into a virtual stage set, designed for your topic – static or moving
- Recorded by a professional camera-person at your home or office
- Recorded in our studios, embedded into your virtual stage set
- Live in front of the guests.
5. engagement ‘we are one’ approach
This is one of the bonuses with e:volve and the broadcast quality event space. Where there are hybrid and multiple sites, each will be given the same visual and viewing experience no matter where they’re located. We’ll treat each with the same importance adopting a ‘we are one’ approach. When you spread out the presenters across multiple sites it sends the message that all offices are of equal importance and that it’s a truly national and inclusive event. We create solutions to provide consistency and the best impact.
With a national audience or multi-site event, this is a fantastic opportunity to ensure your event and brand messages are carried with impact – pump up the quality of your graphics. This simple step radically transforms the guest experience. Don’t worry, it’s our job to design your audience interactions, presentation graphics and images to support each of your key points and each message. It’s also our job to apply storytelling techniques to keep the surprises coming. And before you ask, yes, that includes music and fun engagement too!
6. Achieving event flow with multiple sites.
Collaborate to build event integrity.
Planning for hybrid/multi-site events is very different to planning for traditional on-stage delivery. It’s important to work closely with your event producers to fine tune all interactions so integrity is maintained across all sessions, interactions, Q&A’s, social engagement etc.
Heighten engagement with snackable content.
Instead of one person standing on stage for an hour, consider how the session can deliver a more dynamic and impactful message by incorporating shorter bursts that add impact and variation. Examples are panels, interviews, product showcases, audience interaction and feedback.
Create event flow across multiple channels.
Designing a flow that works across multiple channels is essential to creating a seamless guest/delegate experience. For MC’s or key presenters who choose to be on stage there will be a different type of flow compared to those whose focus may be product innovation or to those who present from the factory floor or a street setting.
For hybrid, or blended, events, ie those with multiple sites hosting in-person guests, do all you can to avoid one or more sites being more prominent than the rest. Spread your speakers around so each site has a bit of the ‘live on stage’ element so they all are contributing. And again, build delegate engagement into to the core of the event rather than a last minute add-on. Guests want to be a part of the session experience, so design your topic to include them from the beginning.
The value of a good MC.
In an online space, you need to build more personality and interaction into your communications to keep your audience engaged and to inject energy into the program flow. This is why in a live event the MC role has merit, but when you’re considering a hybrid or online delivery, the experienced MC is essential to hold your content/sessions together.
Having an MC is a great way to segue into the next topic, tie topical information together throughout the session and generally assist with flow. An MC can set the tone for the event by introducing speakers and host welcomes, manage Q&A’s and session engagement, plus deliver overarching messages that keep your content tightly held together. Your MC will need to bring experience delivering in a TV/online event environment to create flow across live and pre-recorded content, plus drive live interactions.
7. The Rules of engagement and tricks of the trade
The raft of dynamic audience interactions available will guarantee that your online events become a fixture in your corporate calendar.
Presentations are not intended to be static. This is where an e:volve event can help as it offers a high level of flexibility when it comes to designing your delivery. Storytelling is critical and dynamic content, strong visuals, animation and a sense of humour all apply, no matter your audience. If you have in-person attendees, be sure to consider how the event experience will extend to in-room activities and drive in-person engagement.
We understand there’s a lot to take in, but don’t let it daunt you. Instead, be methodical in your approach to your event planning and design and make sure your chosen event producer is there to help every step of the way.
8. Arm your speakers with information
Knowledge is power.
At this point in your planning, your event should be coming to life in your mind and conversations with your event partner may have covered any technical details that were concerning you. However, don’t forget your presenters. Information is key. Talk through your strategy, your event style, the style of message you want to convey. They may have great suggestions and speaker alliances that will bring your message to life. They’ll also explain the recording options, audience engagement and any other questions they may have to connect your brand with your audience.
Remember this is a whole new world for many, so your event producer will work closely with you to set both parties up for success and provide your audience with the best experience possible.
Reviewing session plans, content requirements and how to explore speaker delivery definitely has merits as well as pros and cons of presenting in front of a camera versus a live audience, and of course the rationale for both.
Pre-recorded content – appearing as ‘live’ – offers speakers a way to confidently deliver dynamic messaging without the pressure of a live-record on the day.
Understanding and explaining the branded set broadcast experience.
The beauty of producing an event with broadcast quality content and one that mirrors the world of television is that it comes with the creative freedoms not available to traditional event styles. When online we get to choose the ‘venue and branded stage’ setting that is consistent with your brand personality, profile and budget. It’s actually the opposite of a Zoom-type meeting. It’s essentially a dynamic TV set ready to host your live event, in any space – utilising the online/virtual, hybrid/multi-site models.
The broadcast experience means we have the use of virtual 3D sets, infinite choice of locations, multiple camera angles, brand and graphic media placement that come together to keep your message dynamic and to reach all delegate levels across your company.
Flexibility and certainty made possible with hybrid events.
Planning with certainty has never been so flexible. And let’s face it, a good dose of certainty is what we all want and need these days! With people and whole organisations craving connection (an involuntary human need), companies are reuniting their teams.
Events – be this online, live online or hybrid – serve as critical touch points for companies to deliver their strategies, communicate business goals and deliver their marketing messages. Revisit the first part of this event planning blueprint to understand how much you’ve learned already!
Remember, your event doesn’t have to be one or the other. The entire experience can be online however incorporating in-person sessions to the event can be an effective way to enhance engagement and communicate highly curated messages to select audiences. It’s a continuum that event producers are always considering when planning event and audience attendance strategies in these changing times.
We love that our industry is offering flexible, broadcast quality event solutions that brands can leverage for their brand marketing needs. If you have any more questions relating to how your corporate or brand event can be realised, we’re always happy to talk things through. We hope this article has helped you on your journey to event success. Be in touch if you’re tempted!