While most event producers would say without pause that they prefer live events to virtual, there are some of us who have embraced this pandemic as a period of learning and honing creativity within a format that is likely a staple of our industry from here on out. It’s not just about going through the motions, it’s about making virtual something unique and special in its own right. Famously said, "necessity is the mother of invention."
One of our silver linings this year has been meeting and working with clients we might not have met otherwise. We were thrilled to meet the team at the Design Leadership Network last year, a high-end association of design professionals with a smart, collaborative and visionary team.
During our discovery phase with DLN, we got to know a bit about their past event experiences. The thought of meeting or even exceeding the expectations in virtual of this crowd who have walked the halls of Buckingham Palace and enjoyed a private dinner at the Met Breuer’s iconic Flora Bar felt a bit daunting. However the more we discussed, brainstormed, and whittled it down, their 2020 Forum and Summit events became something truly unique to virtual in both impact and intimacy.
So, as always, we embraced the challenge as an opportunity to be awesome.
For their Forum in September, we focused on remotely captured but intimate discussions regarding the industry with a live breakout immediately following. For the Summit in December, we were hopeful to mix in a few more artfully shot on-location shoots featuring more of the bigger picture topics and locations such as Malta, San Francisco and Coppenhagen. However, as Covid restrictions began to change around the world, we were left with just one on-location shoot in LA with Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener, whose outdoor location allowed for our strict safety standards with a paired down crew.
What we were able to create in both cases was a unique, intimate, and extremely VIP front row experience for every single guest centered around the choice of locations and the breaking of the proverbial fourth wall. It was unexpectedly magical, and something we never would have been able to do in the same way at a centralized live event away from these most inspiring locations. Wow, we did something in VIRTUAL that we couldn’t do in LIVE by humanizing talent and showcasing them in the intimacy of their homes. We will pause to let that sink in…
Of course, our incredible client said it best:
“While we are all about creating a high touch experience, this changed the way I think about our entire model.
We have never truly been celebrated for our content. It’s been rare that our content has been tossed around the internet as much as it was this week. I felt that the quality of the content experiences and the chance to chat with the speakers afterwards made it a much better experience.
To have world class talent sit on their floor in front of their sofa or from their famous London flat and speak to us worked out much better than having them on a stage. It actually never would have happened.
Think about that… to put highly talented people who aren’t always the best speakers on a stage where they're not comfortable instead of their most intimate environments seems crazy to me now. Being able to manipulate all of the content in a way to improve it and still keep it natural was remarkable. I now see the value of virtual and understand ways to make it feel whole.
Life is a strange and wondrous thing... this was definitely a silver lining.”
For this group of high-end design professionals, the stage in a ballroom (no matter how well-designed or opulent) is not always the natural setting. Instead, being in their homes, on-site at their design projects, or in their own creative spaces is where the magic happens for them.
Virtual events may not have been anyone’s first choice a year ago, but we’ve learned invaluable lessons first hand over the last year and have begun to truly appreciate some of the unique, incredible experiences that only virtual can offer. We are confident that long after the pandemic is through, virtual will be here to stay.
Planning your next or first-ever virtual event? Considering a hybrid or live event in the future? Sequence is here to help guide you to the best solution for your needs. Sign up for our 30-minute free consultation to learn more.