Best Practices

5 tips to crush your event strategy in 2023

Gearing up for the live experience revolution

Whether it’s in person, virtual, or hybrid, your audiences have new expectations and they want more from your event after some topsy-turvy years. Pressure is ON!

But don’t stress. As we’ve navigated the ongoing shifts, our teams have been reimagining approaches, test-driving new ideas and tech, gathering data, and developing best practices to help you slide into this new era calm, cool, and collected. 

Keep these 5 tips in mind as your plan, prepare, and propel your events this year and beyond:

1. Expectations are high, attention spans are short.

We’ve heard about the goldfish attention span theory and whether it’s accurate or not, the point is well taken: 

Everyone is swimming around distracted, so messages need to hit fast to sink in. 

After all this turmoil, your audience feels under water — they’ve got a lot on their minds like the rest of us. So that means you must do more with less to hook attention (see what we did there?). 

Moving forward, successful events and experiential moments will depend heavily on your ability to engage and entertain people in short bursts.

2. Production value isn’t just for movies and large, live events.

No matter the size or medium, production value plays a key role in how your audience will perceive the quality of your event. Picture quality, audio quality, back lighting, accent lighting, and LED walls are just a few ways to make sure your event content stands out.

Tech is crucial, so having the right partner to design, plan, test, troubleshoot, and produce your event flawlessly makes all the difference.

3. Hybrid isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

From award shows and the Super Bowl to global singing competitions, your audience has likely attended more hybrid events than they may realize. That doesn’t mean hybrid is always the right choice. 

Align on your objectives before choosing how you’ll execute your event. Do you have multiple audiences? If yes, what does each group expect and how do their needs differ?

Hybrid is more than just broadcasting a live stream in addition to an in-person experience. It’s about creating the right experience for each medium and audience. 

The most important part of those dual experiences? Relevant and engaging content.

4. Talent matters, both on-stage and off.

Your team: Some of your crew may be out of their comfort zone as you innovate and digitize your strategy and experiences. That’s okay. Lead with empathy by offering support and help as they navigate these new approaches.

Remember that in-person speakers might not be the best choice for virtual presentations and vice-versa. Being dynamic and engaging in person is a given. For virtual, choose someone who is expressive and comfortable with the medium so they can “get out of the [screen] box” to ensure it’s an energetic and interactive exchange. And if your speakers are still uncertain (in either medium), support them with speaker training!

Encourage everyone involved to be flexible — life is still in flux, so plans change all the time. Make sure you’re communicating and checking in with your team often.

Your partners: Nothing can make or break your event faster than the quality and support of agency partners. Experience design, A/V, digital, content creation and production — the list goes on. 

When choosing your partners, be sure to confirm capabilities and experience, testing and QA processes (as well as creative problem solving!), and how they handle on-the-fly change, as there will always be surprises and hiccups. The best way to tackle the unexpected is having the right partners in your corner (and supporting you behind the scenes).

Your host(s): Hosts and emcees literally open your event and set the tone. Virtual or in person, attendees are looking for human connection. Prioritize casting friendly and energetic on-stage talent to complement your content strategy. Often those friendly, energetic types are in your own organization, which gives a human, authentic vibe.

5. Peace of mind (and safety) first.

As you make your way back to in-person events, remember your audience is excited — and probably still a bit apprehensive. 

Design your event through the eyes of your attendees and get multiple perspectives along the way. Let your stakeholders review and poke holes in your plan before it’s finalized, then communicate those details thoroughly ahead of your event. 

No event is perfect, but a thoughtful approach that prioritizes health and the comfort of attendees will go a long way with your audience.

The last two years may have thrown us a bunch of crazy curveballs, but it also gave us an opportunity to step back (as we dodged yet another ball) to rethink and innovate. It’s allowed us space to answer some big questions:

How has your event strategy changed over the last three years? 

How will you evolve moving forward?

How do you plan to introduce or reintroduce your brand to your audience?

Rest assured that you’ve asked the right questions and have the answers you need to meet and exceed those returning attendee expectations. And now you’ll be ready to welcome back audiences with any live in-person, virtual, or hybrid event.

Want more creative ideas (and cool tech) to make memorable moments?

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