According to statistics provided by Bizzabo, 96% of event professionals do not believe that virtual events will completely replace in-person events. However, the global Covid-19 pandemic is setting its own rules. Apart from the fact that offline events start playing second fiddle, one-day virtual corporate events are also losing ground. They are replaced by long-term corporate events consisting of a chain of exciting activities. How to organize them professionally and retain the audience?
An event preceded by long planning — what is the secret?
It is very difficult to organize a high-quality online event, especially one with multiple stages. According to Bizzabo, 52,9% of event marketers find it harder to organize and host a unique and memorable virtual event in comparison to an in-person event. For 68,8% of companies, the challenge is in the use of network resources. One thing is clear — it is much more difficult to gather a team in front of computer screens than in an office or outdoors.
For an online corporate event to be successful, it is necessary to bet not only on the day when it is held but also on high-quality preparation.
Why are long-term events successful?
- According to analytics from Markletic, 56% of marketers are convinced that planning a small virtual event takes 2 to 4 weeks. That is why preparation for such an event can start a month before. For example, you can send to the employees the link to the web platform where the corporate event is going to be held. If the format of the event requires it, you should also send a link to install the required application. It allows people to understand what is happening and get ready for the event.
- Due to the long preparatory period, participants manage to register on time, join the teams, and get acquainted with the rules of upcoming contests.
Participants will have ample time to familiarize themselves with engaging content, which is usually available in the app a week before the event. Its purpose is to spark people’s interest in the upcoming event. These can be quizzes, quests, master classes, challenges, and games.
- On the appointed day, employees gather in person or virtually for a corporate event. According to Bizzabo statistics, 80% of respondents believe that the success of a virtual event depends on the engagement of its participants. The format of a long-term event allows adhering to the principle of interactivity.
- Summing up is something that is often neglected after the event. But how can you assess the effectiveness of the event without it? When organizing such events, they are deliberately made long-term in order to allocate enough time for all necessary activities. They include questioning participants, creating a gallery of photos and videos from the event, and a catalog of competition works.
A well-organized long-term corporate event will help to unite the team, prevent staff turnover, identify team leaders, determine the personal qualities of employees and increase their satisfaction. And according to research by HBR (Harvard Business Review), the productivity of satisfied employees is 31% higher.
Popular formats of chains of events — trends of 2021-2022
According to PCMA research, 7 out of 10 respondents have moved their face-to-face event partially or fully to a virtual platform. And many of them do not consider this measure to be temporary but believe that even if the pandemic ends, this format of meetings will exist alongside in-person events.
In order to keep employees’ attention on such online events, it is important to make each of them unique, using various types of activities.
Trainings and lectures
Corporate trainings and lectures are not just a tribute to modern fashion but an opportunity to increase the competence of employees and improve communication in the team. For such events not to be boring, you can hold them in a non-standard way, for example, during a walk in the park.
Quests, intellectual games, quizzes
Games in the format of “Brain-Ring” or “What? Where? When?”, team quests and individual quizzes – all these formats of corporate events are designed to teach employees to work in a team, to show erudition, to determine the leader, and to reveal the strengths.
Competitions and tournaments
Competitions and championships are excellent motivation for employees. A competition for the best new logo of the company is a good example of such activities. This way you can attract employees to the global rebranding of the company. And at the same time with the main competitions, it is possible to organize a contest for the best support team. This will increase the percentage of employee engagement.
If you have made a choice in favor of this corporate event format, for a start, it is better to inquire about the hobbies of your employees. You can hold master classes in cooking, art, or scrapbooking.
Are employees tired of passive events where they can only act as spectators? Let them become the real creators of the corporate event. To do this, choose an event in the format of an interactive movie or game. During such an event, the actions of the hosts completely depend on the wishes of the majority. This is possible thanks to online voting. According to Markletic statistics, 61% of marketers use an interactive element in virtual events to keep the audience engaged.
Flash mobs and challenges
Employees receive tasks that involve teamwork, which is another opportunity for team building. After completing the tasks, the participants go to Zoom to discuss the results of the challenge.
Advantages of long-term virtual events
According to Markletic, the average no-show percentage of virtual events is 35%. The average participant of an online event, according to Bizzabo, will listen to only 68% of the information. Holding a corporate event in the format of a chain of engaging events allows you to retain your audience thanks to:
- The use of gamification — participants are awarded points for participating in contests, posting on social networks, and passing challenges. Individual participants and teams are ranked. In a word, all the process is full of excitement. In a corporate event that lasts for 2-3 hours, there is simply not enough time for all this.
- Constant reminders about the planned event in the form of push notifications and messages on social networks. A great idea is to have a mascot of the event which will be constantly communicating with the participants in the application or messengers.
- Rewarding participation and victories. According to Markletic, only 30% of event organizers send their attendees giveaways. Whereas even small souvenirs or merchandise with event symbols can increase the loyalty and interest of the participants.
One-day online corporate events are gradually giving way to chains of corporate events that line up into one long event. Such events form the corporate culture of the company and create a team of engaged employees. This is a real trend of our time, which will not lose popularity even if the pandemic ends and everybody returns to normal life. In fact, according to Flexjobs statistics, only 3% of respondents prefer office work to remote work.
This means that the future belongs to virtual corporate events.
Author: Alexey Akimov, CEO of event agency Idealsecrets, Partner & CCO of marketing company Superheroes.ua