“Digital, remote, hybrid, and other kinds of virtual events are all on the rise. Whether you’re hosting a product demonstration, social occasion, networking function, webinar, or even an international conference, the benchmark for success is no longer simply a matter of attendance, but rather how engaged and involved attendees were with the event you virtually shared together. Considering the investment of time, resources, and technology that goes into coordinating a virtual event – making certain you’re getting the best-possible return-on-response is crucial in today’s marketing landscape.”*
*Valerie Bihet, Director of The Vibe Agency, in her blog of August 19, 2020.
Miami-based Vibe has reinvented the virtual event experience, finding new solutions to be able to create a more engaging and successful virtual experience, agency founder and director Valerie Bihet tells TMI.
To enable brand owners/leaders to become one with their audience, many companies are using virtual to communicate with their customers and their employees, but Bihet cautions that people tend to “zoom out” after spending hours in virtual meetings.
“So we try to create a different experience,” she explains. “Brands need to communicate with all of their stakeholders, both Internal and external. If you do not do this, you lose market share, you lose your motivated team. Companies really do not have a choice right now. Virtual is not just the trend, it is the reality, for maybe the next six months at least.”
To help its clients hold the most engaging virtual events possible, Vibe is holding an exclusive communication symposium on September 23 – called Good Vibe USA– and is inviting members of the travel retail industry to attend. The 2-hour, high-energy presentation will present a blueprint of how to plan and conduct a successful virtual event. There is no cost to attend, but participants must register in advance.
According to Bihet, the attention span of persons attending a virtual meeting drops every 10 minutes. “You must be aware of this when you design your program. So content is very important and each topic should last no more 30 minutes — and you
need to use very specific speaker/engagement techniques to keep your audience captivated,” she says.
Think like a broadcaster
Meeting planners must think like a television broadcaster, because these experts know how to keep you watching for hours, Bihet advises.
“I have talked to many Masters of Ceremonies. Using an MC / moderator in a virtual meeting is mandatory, it is crucial. And this person must know all of the techniques to keep people engaged. Then you can use different ‘assortments’ – one person speaking, a panel presenting, an interactive segment with your audience –you must mix up different techniques.
“You also need to transmit the emotion that one would find during an in-person event to the virtual meeting,” she says. “We reinvented the virtual event experience to enable brand leaders to become one with their audience. It is the next stage of virtual. We even engage our five senses.”
One way Vibe transmits emotion during a virtual event is through a ‘goodie box,’ which is an excellent tool to encourage engagement. It is sent to participants prior to the event, filled with a variety of objects. A candle, for example, can evoke an emotion. Emojis allow participants to express a wish to speak or to respond to a discussion. This engages them. They also have a champagne cocktail or a Bloody Mary kit that can go in the box.
So everyone listening in can have a drink together at the same time. And of course the brand can link in specific products that it wishes to highlight or introduce.
“With this technique, you can have people all over the world, at the same time, experiencing the same emotion. Connecting people to the emotion is when they connect with the brand,” says Bihet.
The agency’s Good Vibe USA event is a unique virtual symposium featuring subjects and industry experts from travel, hospitality, media production, finance, motivational speaking, with idea exchange and teambuilding activities. Ironically, the first Good Vibe USA webinar was held in France in June!
“I don’t think the U.S. was quite ready to pivot to virtual that early,” says Bihet. “But the situation in France and in Europe at that time was bad, and I wanted to do something to motivate my colleagues there and give them some tools to help them operate in the new reality.
“But now America is completely ready to pivot. A lot of our clients realize that virtual meetings are not a trend, but rather the new reality, and they know that they have to be ready. So the time is right.”
“It is all about the story telling. And we can create an experience with how we translate this virtually. We are connecting with our audience. We have to create the experience. This can be done even using zoom. Zoom is just another tool. It is all about how we engage and create an emotion.”
For more information or to register for the Good Vibe USA event, please click here.
To see a video invitation from Valerie Bihet, please click here.