Top tips for a hybrid awards ceremony

Whilst a key objective of any event is to bring people together, the Coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way in which this is now done. Event planners are now relying on various factors including budget, locations, resource, timeline and ultimately, ROI, in order to decide what’s best for their audience, goals and objectives.

The decision to host a face-to-face, virtual or hybrid event might be one of the most important choices you’ll make for your awards ceremony.

To help you decide if a hybrid awards ceremony is right for you, we’ve answered some of the most common questions around hybrid experiences, sharing some of the unique benefits and considerations when it comes to enhancing the experience for both in-person and virtual attendees.

1. How is hybrid different to virtual or face-to-face live events?

A hybrid event combines an in-person component with an online or digital experience. They key thing to remember is that a hybrid event is one event, offering two experiences.

laughter / singing workshop

2. What are the key benefits of a hybrid awards ceremony?

As we continue to navigate through the ongoing changes to both government legislation around large gatherings, event planners must also consider the willingness of both attendees and sponsors when it comes to attending said large gathering. However, when opting for a hybrid awards ceremony, you’ll most certainly be providing many more options for all involved. 

The hybrid event can provide a ‘best of both worlds’ outcome for event planners in most cases, as we’ve listed below:

  • You’re offering attendees the opportunity to attend your event in person, online, or elements of both – missing out is not an option – therefore, you’re creating a positive attendee conversion rate
  • The potential of more attendees becomes a reality, as you scale up your audience reach to a much larger pool of attendees
  • By offering a hybrid experience, you’re reducing carbon-emissions and waste, which can be weaved into your promotional campaign to attendees, partners and sponsors
  • The impact and reach of your content are maximised. Because your event is also a recorded live stream, you’ll be able to repurpose all content for months to come
  • You’re increasing the opportunities to gain valuable data across engagement, networking and ROI, to name a few, that will feed into your future event and communication plans

3. How can I increase engagement at a hybrid awards ceremony?

The key ingredient to engaging attendees both online and face-to-face is creating those personal and relevant connections across your content and with other attendees. There are many factors to consider across hybrid event engagement, some of which we’ve detailed below:

 

  • Invest in your live and virtual production, online platforms, content, host and entertainment – all of these can make or break your event
  • Your content is even more important than before, so be sure it translates effectively through video
  • Work with your event agency to produce a live stream that provides a much more vision mixed experience for attendees, instead of just a one angle approach
  • Provide any nominees, sponsors and guest speakers with one of our ‘virtual speakers briefing packs’ to ensure they have everything they need, including technically
  • Where possible, merge content with conversation across your event via live polls and Q&A – consider featuring these in between awards or sections to maximise engagement
  • Always avoid activities that might restrict a group of attendees from getting involved
  • Encourage expression through creative tasters such as digital scribblers, QR codes for mobile devices that direct attendees to an illustrative web page, or even a virtual branded photo booth for digital take-aways
  • Create ‘human connection’ moments through emotive video to really bring your audience together. This could be anything from a montage of home-made videos, through to a pre-recorded edit of clips from a selection of audience members, departments or businesses
  • Incorporate a ‘live voting’ opportunity for a certain award
  • Always include a feedback survey with an incentive, post-event
  • Ensure your content is offered on-demand post-event, so that attendees can access it any time
  • Always plan post-event communications in order to keep your business and event front of mind, for weeks and months to come
  • Remember, your hybrid event content will be in the form of videos, PDFs, slide decks and more – harness the power of this across your own marketing collateral and channels going forward
Conferences food

4. How can you engage sponsors across a hybrid award ceremony?

Sponsorship has always been a challenge for event planners. A key benefit to any hybrid awards ceremony is that you’ll be offering sponsors double the exposure across your physical and virtual audience, as well as the increase in attendee numbers due to scaling up your event.

Offering a mixture of packages at different levels for both the physical and virtual audience will be key, and so we’ve listed just some ideas for your hybrid sponsors:

 

  • Event website sponsors page
  • Digital and physical swag bags, drinks reception tipples and give-aways
  • Sponsored host and entertainment
  • Category sponsor
  • Branding across all marketing channels including MPU’s and banner ads
  • Sponsored commercials before accessing the online event
  • Content marketing – video, download and key contacts via the website
  • Live awards presentation to announce and congratulate the winner
  • Sponsor breakout rooms
  • Twitter feeds and social media competitions
  • Audience poll on the category page during the event
  • Live and on-demand networking with attendees
  • Analytics report from your sponsor page, poll, ads and data capture for lead generation

5. What are the key considerations when planning a hybrid awards ceremony?

As with any event format the benefits are clear, but some event planners are struggling with the hybrid strategy.

So, should hybrid be part of your future event and communications strategy? What are some of the key considerations you need to think about before taking that step? Let’s cover off some of key concerns:

 

  • Hybrid events can be complex to deliver depending on your objectives and audience needs, which is why you should discuss these with your event agency before making any decisions and work with them to deliver a well-rounded experience for all attendees
  • Again – a hybrid event is one event, offering two experiences – make sure you have both the resource and budget required to make your awards ceremony a success
  • You need to consider your price points for attendees and sponsors, and equally exceed the expectations of both your virtual and face-to-face audience to ensure they feel they are getting the best experience for their investment
  • Speakers and hosts may find the hybrid approach overwhelming because the attention span of remote attendees is shorter and so rehearsals are vital for a hybrid event
  • Tech talk – there are many elements to consider when planning a live stream, from cybersecurity to internet connectivity – make sure your event agency can provide you with stringent risk planning and contingencies throughout the whole process

The bottom line…

Overall, event planners need to take the time to identify the objectives and goals of their hybrid awards ceremony, as well as ensuring resource, tools and budget are in place to deliver on those objectives and goals.

Our National Account Managers, along with Project Managers, Creative Studio and Production Team will work in collaboration with your Event and Comms Teams to develop the content and branded virtual, hybrid or face-to-face environment in order to deliver effective, memorable and above all, measurable experiences.

If you’re looking to explore the capabilities and benefits of a hybrid awards ceremony – let’s talk!  

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