There are several industries, events in particular, that are feeling the immediate economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. While public health and safety has to be number one, we need to keep our economic engines running as best as we can.
And let’s face it. We need each other now more than ever. With some of the industry’s most important events being either postponed or canceled (as well as many of us choosing to practice social distancing), staying connected is a priority.
At Elevate, at our core, we connect people with brands. Fostering and nurturing that connection is paramount to our “why” and our passion as a business. Since coronavirus entered our lives, we have been discussing ways that brands can continue to connect with and engage consumers that doesn’t involve needing to use an alternative handshake.
Does your CPG brand have a ton of samples sitting around, now that public sampling events have been nixed? Consider an at home virtual sampling event or sample delivery. Brands can partner with non-competitive brands that share target audiences and send samples directly to them. Create an easy form where consumers can share feedback in exchange for an entry into a drawing. Or, hold a virtual event where participating consumers can access exclusive content, discounts, and offers.
Last February, Epic Games pulled off one of the most successful virtual events to date, proving that face-to-face isn’t always required when it comes to human “gatherings.” Wildly popular music producer and DJ Marshmello graced the screens of millions of Fortnite fans when he held an in-game concert. And yes, you read correctly. Millions. As in 10.7 million virtual attendees. Hailed as “the biggest moment in Fortnite history,” the event can serve as inspiration for brand marketers who want to use the ever-growing world of esports to create a brand experience that is social distancing friendly.
You know technology is moving at light speed when a virtual event seems old school. But the reality is, not a lot of brands have given these types of virtual event ideas a go, so now might be the time to try. Virtual events are great in terms of scalability, but also accessibility. Even in times without a public health issue, virtual events allow all-abled people to enjoy content, interact, network and connect. One great example of a fun virtual event was video marketing platform Wistia’s appropriately named CouchCon. Attendees got to learn about all things video marketing from 13 different influencers. And to make sure they kept human-connection and interaction at the forefront, the company utilized Slack channels to keep attendees talking and networking.
Another alternative to live events is taking this time to up your future experiential game. Some brands might want to invest in event staff recruitment and in-depth brand training, so that once coronavirus has resolved, experiential teams are ready to hit the ground running. For future large-scale, multi-market programs, brands might want to build out virtual training programs now, using platforms like learning management systems, as they often take weeks to develop and implement.
We will get through this crisis. But, while we are in its midst, innovation can continue to be our guide. Our hope is that brands can use alternative strategies to lessen its blow, and that these virtual event ideas can serve as inspiration for your team.