Content MarketingEvent Marketing

Virtual Events Don’t Have to Suck: Marketing Departments Can Make Them Dazzle

We all participated in a lot of virtual events during the pandemic — every human interaction became a Zoom or Meets meeting. After two years of staring at screens, it’s hard to get people to tune into another boring virtual event or webinar. So, why are the best marketing teams investing in virtual events and webinars?

When well executed, virtual events tell the brand’s story in a visual format and are able to capture a global audience.

Top marketers have realized that they can create captivating experiences for audiences that were never intended to be in person. These include events that are too big to hold in person, events that are logistically impossible to hold in person, or events that speak to a niche audience. Such events will continue to grow and the best marketers will learn how to build virtual strategies that complement their other marketing activities.

Here are some tips from the best marketers in the world who, in our experience, have made virtual events inform, entertain and dazzle.

Great Content and Engaging, Compelling Experiences

The rule of thumb is that people remember 10% of what they hear; 20% of what they read; but 80% of what they see. Research has also shown that people tune out of a presentation within 10 minutes, but most companies still relay information in that format.

Plus, over the last decade, the way we consume content has changed. People are watching (and binging) Netflix, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram in their personal lives — the content is shorter, louder, and styled to stand out. The formats are designed to inform and entertain.

Taking a page from that playbook, marketers need to think about creating content that’s visual, tells a story, and is more like the content their audience consumes in their personal lives.

To Make Sure Your Audience Tunes In (and Stays Tuned In):

  • Start with a great theme – At the earliest stages of planning for the event, develop a theme. The theme helps to tell the story you’re presenting in a more engaging way and gives your presenters good direction. For example, a company could model an event after major televised events like the Oscars with your presenters acting as celebrity hosts. Everything from the graphics to the music to the way your hosts dress should support your theme.
  • Visuals and music matter – Compelling visuals and music are important. Music enhances the storytelling process by reinforcing themes and motifs, introducing new concepts (especially subconsciously) enhancing a particular theme. TV producers use music to set the mood and marketers should too, whether it’s a composition produced exclusively for your brand, a popular new rap song, or an old classic like Eye of the Tiger.

    Of course, keep in mind the audience —as tempting as it may be, you probably wouldn’t want to play the Bee Gees during your annual investor meeting.

    The right visuals can be used to tell a story better than information-dense PowerPoint slides. To tell a story visually means to convey the idea or emotion aesthetically and without words. For example, a ballet enacts a story visually through the actions of the dancers and the music helps to support the mood. Similarly, your event aesthetics help to communicate the theme whether you’re celebrating, launching a new product, or updating your shareholders. The combination of music and visuals heightens the experience for the audience.
  • Consider the format – To connect with audiences, marketers are creating shorter form content. Think about a TV program —most are broken into shorter segments, about 10 minutes in length. There’s a reason for this duration— people like to absorb content in short clips and tend to zone out without visual breaks. In a longer format event, the key is to use attention-grabbing segues from topic to topic to keep the audience engaged.

    Pre-recorded segments are another way to add interest to a longer-format event. By adding a well-produced pre-recorded video to a live event, the shift in production creates visual interest, keeping the audience’s attention focused.
  • Allow for asynchronous viewing – While the live audience experience is important, remember that a lot of people may watch on demand. Be sure to offer on-demand content in one central place — and watch your viewership metrics climb!

How BrandLive Can Help

BrandLive is a virtual events platform used by the world’s best brands to create branded events, webinars, and live streaming experiences for their most important moments and audiences. BrandLive’s solution combines a technical platform with an emphasis on high-production value content and creative. This one-two punch is our competitive advantage — our technology is world-class and we have an in-house production studio and a team brimming with creativity.

BrandLive has produced 50,000 events, with 30,000,000 viewers counting for 75,000 hours streamed for top brands including Nike, Adidas, Levis, Kohler, Sony, Amazon, and more.

Many other virtual events/meeting platforms focus on the event administration features, and while we think those are important too, without a focus on the quality of the content events are often uninspiring, leading to poor engagement and burnout. Our own event attendance rate is 90% (v. the industry average of 30-40), or 95% if you factor in the on-demand. There’s a reason why our attendance rate is so high: we produce content that people want to watch.

We can help your company produce your best-ever:

  • Webinars and Informational Events
  • Investor/Shareholder Relations meeting
  • Annual Product Releases
  • Internal Training
  • Brand/Thought Leadership Events
  • Creative Live Video Experiences
  • Internal All Hands or town hall meetings
  • And more…

Here’s a quick case study: we recently worked with Amazon when it hosted Amazon Conflux, in which they brought together their community of 1,500 designers from around the world to engage with innovative design experts. What is so great about what Amazon is doing is that they are thinking about how to engage these micro-communities in ways that are really interesting and relevant to those attendees. Sometimes hosting an event in person isn’t possible, a virtual format allows companies to connect with communities by delivering highly-relevant, in-depth content in an interactive format.

Where do virtual events, webinars, and live video fit into your marketing strategy? We can tell you more — reach out to us for a demo here. We can’t wait to make magic happen for you.

Schedule A BrandLive Demo

Sam Kolbert-Hyle

Sam Kolbert-Hyle is the President & CEO of Brandlive. Brandlive helps the world’s best brands create experiences that move people - from town hall-style internal meetings with soul to major marketing events that drive revenue. Under Sam’s leadership, Brandlive has grown from a handful of employees to over 150 and hosted marquee events for companies like Nike, Nintendo, Ark Invest, The Wall Street Journal, Square, Google, GoPro, and Adidas, and was ranked #1 in Live Events on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list in 2021 and in the emerging video category in 2022.

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