It might surprise you when we say that events which integrate AR, VR and live elements aren’t necessarily a new thing. However, the covid-19 pandemic has brought the challenge of running hybrid events to the forefront of many people’s minds. Although the theoretical framework is available, event planners have a lot to consider before diving in…
Hybrid events are already here…
Infrastructure and wifi
It definitely won’t surprise you when we say, a strong connection is vital to operating hybrid events. Unfortunately many UK venues are not prepared for the upcoming demand. For example, to stream in 720p quality you need a minimum of 15-35 mbps of bandwidth. However, in recent surveys many UK hotels and conference halls came up short; only offering speeds of 1-10 mbps on average.
The solution? Take matters into your own hands. In fact, every good event planner should have at least one external specialist wifi service to call upon. Otherwise, have access to portable routers with strong connection speeds for smaller scale events. Ask our team about navigating this challenge.
Unsurprisingly, in order to deliver an effective hybrid event or conference, event managers will need a high quality audio and video source or third-party video team. So, before you go ahead and decide to deliver your event over zoom, teams or meets. Consider what your physical events say about your business to your customers and what you’d like your virtual or hybrid event to say.
Remember, it’s important to maintain your brand values, particularly during turbulent times. With that in mind, see hybrid events as an opportunity to differentiate yourself and adopt technology to outmanoeuvre your competition. So, to ensure your event stands out as an immersive experience for your audience, we’d recommend consulting a specialist.
Pre-recorded live streams
Newsflash! Some of the best live streams AREN’T actually live… Much like many of your favourite television programmes or panel shows. In fact, the vast majority of ‘live broadcasts’ feature pre-recorded content and there’s a few very good reasons why…
Quality within budget.
In short, to get multiple camera angles, clear audio and high production value as a truly live broadcast takes a large team of camera operations and production crew. In other words, it gets incredibly expensive, very quickly. However, operating under a pre-recorded situation allows for a leaner production team, with production quality taken care of in post production.
How many of us have been annoyed or even complained when a Live stream has buffered or experienced technical issues? It’s the #1 reason for the audience to switch off and therefore something which is vital to avoid. The solution? Pre-record your content as if it was live and deliver it as a broadcast to give the appearance of a live event. The ‘look and feel’ can also be helped by services such as YouTube or Facebook Premiere.
If you’re considering a virtual or hybrid event, feel free to ask our team for advice.
You probably won’t get it right first time
But experimentation is a crucial path to new opportunities and business growth. Particularly when there’s an uncertain road ahead.
Being experimental isn’t natural for most of us. Generally, when something unnatural happens, we deflect it. Then try to understand it in order to get back to normality. Why? Because normality feels safe. Particularly in business, no news is often good news and marketing trundles along doing the same thing it’s always done until something comes along and forces it to change.
“I don’t have time to experiment with strategy”
Well luckily, one thing we all have right now is time. The simple fact is, if experimentation isn’t part of your strategy, you’re missing out. Now, you’re probably thinking; of course you’re going to tell me to try new things with my marketing, you’re a digital marketing agency – and you’d be absolutely right.
Day in, day out, we see the impact trying new things has on all kinds of businesses. Now more than ever is the time to prioritise this to impact your business and steer it in a new direction, away from negative uncertainty.
The great marketing irony
One thing most marketing and creative agencies are terrible at, is marketing themselves. It’s not because they can’t, but because they often use the same excuse: “we don’t have time”. The reason I say this, is because we raised the same question within the Momentum team earlier this year and the results have never been more relevant. Here’s what we learnt…
A change in environment requires a change in strategy. Sound familiar? The quickest way to change your strategy is to consider a new perspective and the best way to hear a new perspective is to listen to someone else’s. For us, that meant realising it was time to take a more empathetic approach and help other people during a time of need. So, we teamed up with our friends at Purple Tasche to create 12 weeks of content, which could be donated to the general public. Completely free. In fact, you can download yourself right here. For you, it could simply mean reading this perspective and taking a step back to look at your own business. In fact, there’s never been a better time to try it.
The key to good creation is finding something which is efficient to create and easy to consume. So, with 500 million blogs, 30 million YouTube accounts and 800K podcasts, there was an obvious choice. Yes, we started a podcast.
OK. It was mainly because we already utilise both blogs and YouTube, but you should definitely take note of the huge surge in popularity the humble podcast is experiencing. Helped on by new consumer tech and a massive need for long-form content within consumers, 2020 is set to be the year of the podcast. Why? Because there’s no need for a huge production (you can podcast in your pants – if so inclined) so it’s efficient to create. Plus, with the eyes of the multi-screening audience already engaged, there’s a wide open opportunity to target their ears.
Less work emails = more inbox space.
There’s millions of people across the world with spare inbox space right now. Many traditional office workflows have slowed, yet we bet you still check your inbox every 15 minutes, just out of pure habit.
So, why not take advantage of this attention while it lasts? Email marketing is nothing new, maybe you’ve even tried it before… But that was in the ‘old normal’. This is the new normal, and business as unusual has created a new field of play. People are using social media more, yes. But mainly for news or entertainment. If you truly want to engage with your customer, hit them where their attention has space. We did, check it out.
Contact us for support.
An unlikely hero?
The current global pandemic has turned the majority of people’s lives upside down. Unable to go to work, unable to have social interactions and unable to lead their everyday lives.
But in every seemingly dark situation, there is always glimmers of light with new industries thriving. This time, it’s the turn of the gaming industry, one that has been widely slated for decades.
Often pinned as a factor in causing childhood obesity and tenuously linked to mental health, parents have tried to limit the amount of time their children spend in front of their game’s consoles for years. But with current lockdown measures in place, children have flocked to gaming platforms to keep in touch with friends and engage in social interactions with people outside of their own four walls, much to the encouragement of their parents.
But it’s not just children that have picked up controllers and looked towards gaming to provide entertainment during this crisis. It appears to be people of all ages. In March, Steam reached a new record of 20.3 million concurrent players using its platform. While one of the biggest games of 2020 so far, Call of Duty Warzone; saw 15 million players in the first three days after launch. With people unable to leave their homes, these games now provide their main source of entertainment and interaction with friends, leading many through the crisis.
The rise of eSports
Similarly, the amount of people watching eSports has risen dramatically since the start of the year. Already a booming industry, experts had predicted a 15.7% growth in the esports industry before Covid-19 took hold, with the current crisis only looking to bolster this growth further.
There are several factors that have helped eSports thrive in recent months, most notably the influx of real-world sports stars now taking part in regular online leagues. Providing eSports with a new level of prestige, it has shaken the stigma that eSports was purely for teenagers and thrust the industry into the mainstream. With sports unable to take place, these eSports championships offer stars the chance to remain relevant, uphold agreements with sponsors and provide entertainment to thousands of fans all in one go.
With fans starved of real-world sporting activities, many who previously slated these championships and stated they would never “watch someone else play a video game” have been pleasantly surprised by the realism and competitiveness of these virtual alternatives.
Motorsport, in particular, has thrived off this idea. With drivers able to race in professional-grade simulators against their real-world rivals on a variety of racing platforms, at circuits around the world to offer fans a realistic replacement to tide us over. And it’s working.
ESports viewership jumped up 17% between January and March this year, with 1.75 billion minutes of content watched. Formula 1’s virtual Grand Prix average 350,000 live views per race. While across the Atlantic, Indycar and NASCAR have each broken viewership records, with the latter achieving 1.3 million views on a single race.
Is it more than just a game?
Aside from providing fans with a few hours of entertainment each week, is there any longevity in online gaming and streaming?
The answer seems to be a resounding yes. However, the industry appears to be at a crossroads. With the current unique situation, many new series and leagues have formed. Each vying for consumer attention, desperate to carve a corner of the market for themselves. But the danger lies in oversaturating the market. Since their introduction, and despite the previously stated records. Both Indycar and NASCAR have seen a fall in viewership week-on-week for their individual series.
The pros and cons
While some experts claim this is due to fatigue from watching too many series. It can be said that there are now too many to choose from. Time is always a limiting factor, and it could quite simply be due to their being too many conflicting sessions that people are unable to commit to watching everyone. The industry is in danger of cannibalising itself before it really becomes mainstream. That’s before you even begin to think about external issues such as internet connections…
But on the other hand, this lockdown period has opened the eyes of many. Not just individuals, but also major brands. If a year ago, you had approached many and suggested that they become a title sponsor of an online gaming league. In most cases, they would not have even considered this as a viable marketing opportunity to reach mass audiences.
Fast forward to now, and with the ability brand these sporting leagues as professionally as the TV broadcasts from which they originate, and with viewing figures that rival some TV channels. Brands have been awakening to a new form of advertising that will help them connect with many of the key audiences that they have been trying to reach.
You only have to look as far as how the Supercars Championship has positioned itself alongside BP and other major sponsors to realise that this is no longer teenagers in their bedrooms streaming their favourite game. This is an industry on the brink of exploding. With many sports stars having regular downtime in-between their commitments, the ability to give their sponsors additional coverage. Whilst simultaneously building their personal brand during this time presents a significant new opportunity for all involved.
Will eSports win over the masses?
With its significant growth and new global audiences, combined with a newfound legitimacy from real-world sports stars competing against their fans. It appears esports, and gaming as a whole has surged in popularity.
It is no longer seen as just a ‘game’, in most cases. Many now see it as a sport like any other. In fact, there has been a 20% weekly rise in gaming betting since lockdown. In March, Fifa 2020 had more total bets than Overwatch, StarCraft 2 and Call of Duty combined. With the Nevada Gaming Control Board also rushing through approval for betting on League of Legends, Call of Duty and Overwatch leagues. As soon as gambling is involved, it creates a new dynamic for the industry. While some may not welcome it, it will bring much-needed benefits.
In order for gambling to be allowed, the games that are utilised will have to face rigorous checks to ensure no cheating, or rigging can take place. With hackers so prevalent in many of these games. New measures will have to be put in place to ensure that this is eradicated. Although the developers will be doing these with pro leagues in mind, this will also benefit the end consumer. With patches and updates that should improve the overall quality of gameplay.
So, what’s your thought on the gaming and eSports industry? At Momentum Social we see this as a great opportunity for brands and consumers alike to benefit through many avenues. Whether it’s creating new opportunities through sponsorship, or simply curing boredom.
One thing we’re
uncertain certain of…
This isn’t another coronavirus blog. Because the time has now come for solutions, not statements… Let’s be honest, currently people feel like sh*t and nobody really knows what the f*ck is going on, or what to do next. So, setting coronavirus aside, the Momentum team decided it was time to become a voice of reason; sharing knowledge that we know will help people during uncertainty, now and in the future.
Pivot away from uncertainty
Ever heard the expression, one door closes, another door opens? During and after every major or global event, good or bad. There are always economic winners and losers. Whether you’re a short-seller that’s now sitting on a Caribbean Island, or a pub landlord that’s completely out of work. Just because the external factors were out of your control, doesn’t mean the solution is. In fact, if you can pivot fast enough. You may even find yourself thriving and we’re here to help you do it.
Sell with integrity
Uncertainty causes panic, especially when cash flow is involved. But blatantly profiteering from a crisis or employing crass sales tactics will completely demolish brand credibility. When approaching cash flow look within, and determine what internal changes or cut backs you can temporarily make to either free up cash or make your reserves last longer. Then with the short term problem under control; develop a long term narrative, that’s empathetic to the external situation and your customers – who are likely also struggling. This will build a positive reputation and increase brand credibility long term, which will be far more valuable to your business than a few short term cash wins.
Yes, cash is king during uncertain times, we’d never dispute that. However, it’s also vital to look past the short term problem and focus on what your business, and most importantly your brand; will look like in 12 weeks and 12 months time.
Build brand resilience
Let’s face it, a crisis is often an excellent kick up the a*se for many of us, both personally and in business. But crisis or no crisis, brand resilience should always be a focus point in your business plan. The best way to know if you’ve built resilience is to ask yourself; how fast can my business pivot? For example; the bars and cafes that survive uncertainty are those with the nouse to become temporary-boutique supermarkets or delivery services…
With that in mind, ask yourself… If my business was forced to close tomorrow, what could I do to keep operating?
Hindsight is bad for longevity, building brand resilience is how you win long term.
Marketing while your business is closed actually makes perfect sense; even if you weren’t an online business before. Why? Because once the crisis period passes, your products or services will be needed again and business owners who are vocal online during this time will be the businesses consumers buy from first when it’s all over. But don’t worry about doing it alone, we are here to help.
We’ve made a completely free 12-week digital action plan:
Facebook announces $100m Grant
This Tuesday Facebook announced that it was to launch a cash grant program that provides $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits. Helping small businesses trying to cope with the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced on her Facebook page that it will be “investing $100 million to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries”.
Whilst the site hasn’t directly stated when this will be put into practice; it is a significant step to help support small businesses all around the world. Covering operational costs like employee wages, rent and bills is sure to help them survive in these turbulent times. Facebook also state that it will use ad credits to boost business services.
Last year, we listed reasons why investing in a social advertising strategy was important for businesses and it is now more important than ever before. As more and more people self-isolate and work from home, digital spaces will become even further crowded. Making getting your business heard critical, not only for survival but thriving as well.
Getting through it together
The company also introduced a ‘Business Resource Hub’ with official information about COVID-19 and how businesses can manage the outbreak. Whilst also providing them with downloadable content with best practices in staying connected to their audience network.
“We want to do more” said Sheryl Sandberg. A simple message showing how companies, big and small, can pull together to help one another get back to normality. It could be a different type of normal, but let’s try and get there together.