Virtual events; first-hand report

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This pandemic has forced us to do things we never thought we’d do; some good, some not so much.  But for those of us who relied on events to tell our story up-close-and-personal, it’s been a particularly difficult transition.

Virtual events can be amazing, and they can be horrible, and the difference-makers are not always clear (look for follow-up post on nuts & bolts).  I’m writing today with my own personal experience of creating our very own first large-scale virtual event.

Business As UNusual just happened on January 26, 2021, and it’s hard to believe it’s over.  The planning and execution took 4 months.  Was it a ton of work?  Yes!  Was the work rewarding?  Absolutely Yes!  Was it worth the effort?  I think so, but like all events, it will take a bit more time to have all the data.

Our planning & execution was a bit unique in that we are 9 independent businesses with 9 different agendas and perspectives.  But we are all friends, have collaborated many times in the past, all work in the same general industry, and had a shared vision of what we hoped to accomplish.  Click here for some background on The Branding Bunch.

Here are some insights and suggestions I’d like to share in the immediate afterglow;

  • Think big; don’t try to do what everyone else is doing, and don’t be afraid to tackle new territory
  • Start early; even if you’ve done a million in-person events, your first virtual one will be a learning experience.  Give yourself months, not weeks.
  • Have a clear vision of a) what you want the message to be, b) who you want to share that message with, and c) what success looks like.
  • Don’t go solo.  Even though I’m a self-proclaimed fan of collaboration, I learned so much about the power of teams during this project.  Partner with people who share your ideals, but look at things through a different lens.  I know you are a superstar on your own, but this is not the time to strut your cape.
  • Not sure the world needs another Zoom meeting?  That’s not the way to think of this.  We all have Zoom fatigue, but we also are craving inspiration and renewed energy.  Can you help your audience with that?  If so, lean into the opportunity presented by these awful pandemic times. So many marketers are waiting on the sidelines; don’t be that person.  Be a leader in forging onward with your message, even though you have to deliver it in a different, and perhaps unfamiliar, way.

If you’d like to check out the recorded version of Business As UNusual, click here to watch all or part at your leisure.  I promise you’ll enjoy nearly every second!!  And if you’d like to have a personal chat about virtual events, I’d love to hear from you.

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