For Your Consideration: The Audience
By Jimmy Verrett, Sr. Creative Director, InVision Communications
How quickly things have changed.
Last month we were zooming from meeting to meeting. Now we’re Zooming meeting to meeting (see what I did there?).
If your experience resembles mine, and I suspect in many ways it does, videoconferencing has become a big part of your day both professionally and personally. Whether it be the kids participating in a virtual school activity, your husband collaborating with colleagues to solve an urgent problem or you leading your finance department from a makeshift home office, your cat knows just when to walk across the keyboard. And, with everyone home at once—each with their own important needs and schedules—blocks of available time to do any one thing are becoming shorter and more fragmented.
It’s messy, chaotic and crazy. It’s also authentic. It’s TRUTH.
In the corporate meeting/event space, our world has quickly moved from 90% live to 100% virtual. This pivot from live to digital brings with it demands for a new way of thinking—one that is in line with the present “work from home” context, particularly that regarding the immediate, continuing demands being placed on your virtual audience members’ time. Here are a few considerations:
Time to Value
Shorten duration of content sessions—attention spans are shorter online and blocks of significant uninterrupted time from the audience are becoming virtually extinct in a work-from-home context.
“75-90 Minutes of Magic”
Pack the best-of-the-best content into tight, short segments and push the rest to video on demand.
Mix it Up
In addition to “keynote” sessions, consider formats that feature multiple people engaged in conversation. Diversifying content formats will help avoid the feeling of repetition and deliver an experience that’s unique, valuable and “sticky.”
Frames, Loops, Bumpers, Lower Thirds
Bring visual continuity and flow via branded transitional media, motion graphics, lower thirds and a branded “frame” for the digital experience.
Utilize branded interstitials throughout the program to keep viewers engaged, point them to on-demand content and promote upcoming content segments.
Consider featuring a musical artist to anchor the close of a session. This will advance “stickiness” and perhaps create brand value if the artist and the presenting organization are aligned around a specific cause or cause-based initiative. For public-facing events, musical performances are a powerful way to create conversation and media buzz.
For most every organization, the present context is not one in which “marketing” may be particularly welcomed by potential customers/consumers. This sort of communication will likely be seen as uncomfortable and “tone deaf.” What is welcome, however, is truth. Facts. Simply-stated appeals. Respect. Consideration. In times of challenge the thirst for kindness and humanity is acute.
In my role as a Creative Director I, at times, wrestle with how best to convince an executive who’s very excited about their the new widget or widget as a service (WaaS?), that an audience member will struggle to sit in front of a computer for a four-hour virtual keynote/demo even though they may have been happy to do so at a live event.
While I always preach “consider the audience,” it is now, more than ever, essential to do so. Individual audience members are willing to invest time and engage in your event experience virtually from home and will happily do so if they believe value to be present. But only to a point.
So, during these challenging times let’s not wear out our welcome. Let’s be brief, be bold and be gone. Your customers will love you all the more for it.