Losing touch:

How to reach audiences through impactful digital brand experiences

The biggest challenge any event producer faces is keeping its audience engaged. Establishing an emotional connection is no easy feat, regardless if it’s at a live event or online. As our industry adapts to these unprecedented times and conferences rapidly go digital, brands want to know how to syndicate those dime-a-dozen IRL emotional experiences when they lack a physical space for attendees to interact. 

At DesignScene, we’ve been engineering live events for years. We’re well-versed in live streaming and the tech tools brands need to create lasting and emotive moments that resonate with global audiences. Brand experiences that leave your community wanting more are entirely possible with some well thought out planning in the pre-production phase.
Here are four things that 15 years in the business working with clients like Amazon, Hulu and Live Nation have taught us about creating emotional connections in the experiential events world. 

Engage, engage, engage

How many times have you attended a keynote speech only to find yourself doing anything but paying attention because you’ve been talked at for an hour? If it’s boring in person, it’s even more boring online. 
No matter what type of digital event you’re producing — a conference, a screening or a festival — you already face an uphill battle. The web is a minefield of unstable internet connections, Slack messages, urgent emails, tweets, LinkedIn updates — the list goes on. 
Thankfully, people are social beings and crave human interaction, meaning the stage is already set, you just need to provide the tools. Your attendees come to be entertained, to learn, to network, and to get to know your brand, so make sure you are delivering on all of these points. Your content should be compelling, enjoyable and informative and include multiple opportunities for your audience to get involved —  live Q&As are great for this. Other options include polls and clickable questions which are dynamic and fluid, and quizzes can gamify the whole experience. You could even go so far as to award prizes to those in your audience who contribute the most. Each of these components will provide you with invaluable feedback in real-time and learnings you can apply to make your next digital event bigger and better than before. 

Nail your production and design

Just because you no longer have a physical space for your attendees to go to, doesn’t mean you should let your design and production suffer. 
Moving your event online opens you up to a global audience meaning you could potentially draw a bigger crowd than if it were in-person. Make sure your set, lighting and camera work is on point and on brand. You should have a solid camera, tech and sound crew that you’ve worked with before and a strong internet connection so that you don’t annoy your attendees with interruptions and dropouts caused by poor WiFi. 
If you’re hosting a conference, bring your brand to life onscreen using banners, flags and designs with thoughtful copywriting, but be careful not to over do it. Keep in mind that people will be tuning in from all sorts of devices including smartphones so it’s important your content looks good across big and small screens —  you can add a few bells and whistles,but not to cram too much in. All of your content should be clearly visible on screen without looking cluttered. The last thing you want is to leave your attendees feeling disengaged simply because your production, branding and design wasn’t up to scratch.

Use user-generated content

Your event will likely also create quite a bit of chatter so make sure you make the most of all that free content by unifying it with a hashtag unique to your online event. Your social handles should also be included in your live stream at all times. Not only will you amplify and inspire healthy discourse around your industry and brand, but you might even find yourself walking away with a few loyal brand advocates after a few Twitter shoutouts. 

Be creative

Forward-thinking ideas that stray from the norm while creating meaning always generate the most interest. Look to use cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence and augmented reality to boost your brand’s digital event experience to really blow your attendees away. However don’t just use tech for the sake of it, it should only ever be employed to add value and meaning. We always look to Snap when we want to be inspired by innovations in AR to create memorable brand experiences like their latest lenses that are relevant to the object. Within is another company pioneering tech in digital storytelling via its Wonderscope platform which immerses kids in interactive AR-fueled stories. 
If this is your first foray into hosting an online event, we know, it can feel pretty daunting. The key thing to remember is that with careful planning and creative thinking, with today’s technology, there are some pretty innovative ways to craft empathetic experiences, even if your audience is sitting on their couch.

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