Since early this year when live events around the world were starting to be cancelled, Spinifex has been working with our clients on strategies for holding those events on digital platforms instead. Without the inherent engagement of physical presence, we’ve had to create unique digital experiences to keep their audiences engaged. We wanted to share some insights into that process, which might be useful for your brand as well.

Remember the Objectives: The reasons your customers and partners had for wanting to attend your event (and the reasons your brand had for wanting them there) likely haven’t changed much even though the event environment has turned on its head. It’s incumbent upon brands and their agencies to invent new avenues by which those business outcomes can still be achieved.

Maintain the Engagement: The interactive experiences our clients hired us to build pre-pandemic were often in physical spaces. We were asked to build them because those physical experiences are highly engaging. But moving the fulcrum of an event to a digital-first approach doesn’t excuse a brand from offering participants the same level of engagement, so we’ve had to find new ways of allowing participants to engage deeply with the brand’s message.

Reimagine the Experience: If you’re building a digital experience to replace a physical one then do a thorough evaluation of that experience first. We look for opportunities to reinvent elements of the physical experience from a different point of view. How can people navigate virtually as opposed to in real space? How can attendee journeys be recreated on digital platforms? Different types of journeys can often result in similar destinations.

Engage with Personalization: Digital platforms do offer some advantages over physical environments and one is the opportunity to customize the experience based on individual preferences. We look aggressively for ways to take advantage of the newly available opportunities for targeting and other benefits inherent in digital engagement models.

Connect with Social: Connecting people together is one of the most fundamental purposes of any event. Peer-to-peer and community interactions are critical to your attendees, so build in opportunities for them to happen, and rewards to encourage them. Facilitating communities helps drive engagement and directly leads to more qualified leads for your brand.

Amplify with Data: With proper tracking and analytics across your digital experience ecosystem, you will be able to understand virtually every touchpoint along your audience’s journey. This level of insight into the experience can give you unique insights into how and when to best follow up with prospects, customers and partners alike, deepening your relationships across your entire value chain.

Although cities around the world are starting to open back up, it will likely be quite a while still before we can gather together at corporate and industry events like we used to. Following these guidelines can help to keep your marketing on track in the meantime.

Image: IBM’s Think event last year. Photo courtesy of our sister agency George P Johnson