Transitioning Your Event from Virtual to Hybrid - KM&A

Transitioning Your Event from Virtual to Hybrid

As the world slowly returns to a semi-normal state, you can expect to see the events world start its transition back to normal as well … can we get a hell yeah?! After spending the past two years planning, designing and executing multiple small and large-scale virtual events, our team is gearing up for the transition into hybrid and live experiences, one step at a time. 

Over the past two years, KM&A has leaned into technology and skillfully adapted to a change that we never thought would happen. We’ve watched the events industry take on a completely new challenge and we know that it will continue to evolve, whether that means events are online, in-person or hybrid. So now the question is, how do we continue developing events that are not only on-trend and up to date, but also do it in a way that is bold, innovative and ahead of the game? Let’s look at what the event-savvy KM&A team has to say.

We enlisted the help of our executive director of accounts & services and events industry veteran, Jerry Kauth, for some stellar events insight. 

“Just like any event or project, be solution-focused. Don’t focus on the reasons why you can’t do something because it’s a hybrid or a virtual event and instead, put your energy into finding a way to conquer the obstacle. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that we can overcome circumstances we never thought possible before,” said Kauth.

Hybrid and live events require extra planning and a larger budget than virtual events. After spending two years on screen, hosting a face-to-face or hybrid experience can seem daunting, but with an experienced team and a solution-focused perspective, any company or business can put on the event of their dreams. However, we must ask ourselves, how do we even begin the transition? Our event marketing manager, Madelyn Murgas, gave us some insight on how businesses can successfully hurdle this awkward transition stage.

“People are ready to be back in person and it’s important that businesses adapt to ensure that they are taking the necessary steps to make their attendees feel safe at live events. Surveys are a way to gauge what attendees want to see before returning to an in-person event—whether that’s masks, a COVID test option, vaccine requirements or maybe they only want to be back when none of those things are a factor,” said Murgas.

In the end, COVID-19 has influenced the way the events industry functions from here on out, which is why establishing options for event attendees is important. According to a Forbes article, hybrid events are going to become an approach that’s widely used, even past the pandemic’s reign. Not only are they more convenient, as people have the choice to stay home and tune in virtually, but they also allow host companies to reap the benefits of both in-person and virtual events.

However, it’s important to strike a balance—you don’t want virtual attendees to feel like an afterthought, but you also don’t want to sacrifice event quality for the attendees who paid to be there in-person. Put yourself in each audience’s shoes. What type of content keeps you engaged? Kauth leans towards a mix of live presentations, pre-recorded videos, panel discussions and audience interaction.

“Making those who are attending virtually feel connected to the physical audience requires more resources, better tech and a level of detailed planning that ultimately impacts the financial investment of the production. We already know the benefit of in-person events based on the long history of return on investment (ROI) that connects increases in sales, revenue and membership growth. Therefore, the largest struggle in this transition will be production costs and weighing the ROI based on projections and not reality,” said Kauth. 

Overall, the time is coming. As the world begins to creep towards a sense of normalcy, the events industry will continue to accelerate towards a combination of different experience types. All we can say is that we’re prepared to excel and use our capabilities in the virtual and live markets to provide our clients with the greatest amount of support and expertise.

 “KM&A looks at things differently. We always start with identifying the goals of the event and, early on, begin building a production plan that ensures that those goals are met … and in most cases, exceeded,” said Kauth. “We see the big picture and understand how events impact a business’s sales and marketing goals—our process is proven and successful!”

Speaking from our experience in the virtual event world, we’ve put our heads together to execute multiple immersive and engaging experiences. In fact, our iconic Delta Faucet Company Showroom Series events were the first large-scale virtual events we produced that included all three of our agency pillars—creative, communications and events. Using prerecorded content, innovative themes and a lot of teamwork, we ended up executing three widely successful Showroom Series events—so successful that our agency has produced over 50 virtual event productions in the last 16 months for a variety of notable brands. It’s safe to say we’re ready to get our hands dirty.

For a bit of insight on our virtual event successes, check out our recent case study on our Delta Faucet Company Showroom Series experiences here

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