How can I be more original, smart & relevant with my ‘online’ event?

How can I be more original, smart & relevant with my ‘online’ event?

Since Covid-19 struck, all live events and award shows have been moving online.
As uncertainties about future developments continue to linger on, we can imagine these online live events & award shows to become part of the ‘new normal’. At the same time participants of these events suffer increasingly from screen fatigue & Zoom exhaustion. So an important question for many event and award show organisers bottles down to: how can my organisation really distinguish itself going online?

After having produced some sudden Corona-proof live events ourselves, we are happy to share three tips with you that for us at MAKMENDE were truly inspirational, helpful and empowering when going online with award shows and other events. And of course we give examples of how we translate these tips into concrete assets.

TIP 1: Go ‘online’ with your event, do not copy your event ‘online’!

It may be an open door, but this is a classic mistake many organisations who do ‘live events online’ for the first time still make: they build a storyboard and scenario that is still very much rooted in the original offline event and basically replace the live event with ‘live streaming’ this exact same event online.
It is a true recipe for a slow, boring and uninspiring show. So how to avoid this pitfall: re-shape your event and think digitally with your audience-experience at the center. At Makmende we therefore think of these events as an opportunity in format development, parallel short & long form storytelling, so basically as a chance to create a real ‘tv-shows’ (in a Dragon’s Den inspired way) that have an element of live but are actually carefully directed and edited with local protagonists & crews such as been done in this showreel on a Nutrition Show produced by Unicef & GAIN about children’s eating habits worldwide.

Have a look at an example of such an event during the Sun Pitch Competition, organised by GAIN last summer July 2020

TIP 2: Use this opportunity to transform your ‘event’ into a smart PR campaign

Suddenly your event and your budget looks so different: no participants to fly in and out, no rental costs on exclusive venues, no food catering. You start to discover all the financial benefits of the online versus offline organisation. This financial and creative room also offers many organisations the advantage of more time, space and resources to build on great content with often a much longer shelf life: you can actually build on an entire content strategy & production line. You can kick-off your event with short form impactful video content through your influences and social media channels as Makmende did with a show driven by local Instagram- influencers world wide in Girl Advocacy Alliance, hence building both on your storytelling as on your online reach. You can script and adapt your show successfully during the period, building up to the climax of an award or speech. Afterwards you can re-package and re-use the same content in order to keep in touch with your audience with updates and follow ups through newsletters and other targeted social media.
Thanks to a mix of online and offline storytelling your organisation can reach its goal with relatively cheap, accessible and effective tools.

Have a look at an example of this during the Women’s Initiative Award Show, organised by CARTIER FOUNDATION last summer June 2020.

TIP 3: Go ‘live’ adds to magic & adrenaline

We love to ‘watch live’: it is the magic, the thrill, the excitement of the event unfolding in front of your eyes.
Yet, we also all are well aware that technology, wifi connections and internet services can be quite unstable and unreliable, especially at moments when there is a lot at stake and your organisation operates worldwide in sometimes logistically challenging regions. You do not want to lose face. For this reason depending on the complexity of the show, we sometimes advise organisations to go partially live and not to go ‘fully’ live’ so the event is partially pre-recorded, edited and finalised at the moment that it is live streamed.

Have a look at an example of this during the 10th Anniversary of the Environmental Challenge, organised by RELX.

Yes, I hear you thinking: how do I keep it authentic, timely and relevant at the moment that you go ‘live’ ? Different elements, tips and tricks can provide you – as also happens during a tv-show – with the sense of ‘live’. One of those elements is the importance of directing and coaching the Master of Ceremony, the jurors & participants in such a way that it feels really spontaneous and give a sense of ‘now-ness’, even in those parts that are actually prerecorded.
At Makmende Media we experimented with these tools and discovered useful tips and tricks.
During a livestream there is always a community manager who is managing the buzz and the key people from the events online, available to answer, react or provide necessary feedback to your audience.
This workflow guarantees that the event comes across well (as it is already partially edited and done while it goes ‘live’) but the elements are all there to provide your audience with this sensation of autentique presence, online availability and options for direct dialogue.

You can look at a Showreel with recently produced Virtual Events here and see the services we offer in this deck.

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