Business as Unusual: Shifting Live Events to Digital and Hybrid Experiences

It’s no secret that as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began, everything changed. Unlike crises of the past, there’s no clear sense of when we all get back to normal. And, indeed, what that “normal” even looks like.

But while marketers are rapidly adapting and evolving their approach to address the impact of the pandemic, what is clear is that the fundamentals and intentions of breakthrough experience design remain the same: It needs to engage. It needs to be powerful. It needs to inspire action.

Like the world-class brands that create them, the best experiences—live, digital, or hybrid—are designed and executed with a clear purpose. Maintaining laser focus on that purpose is key to a successful experience and influencing customer behavior.

A Core Framework

Of course, creating rich, on-brand and purposeful experiences that move people to action is no easy task. Applying a core framework allows for the most important elements to be addressed:

  • Agenda and content structure. Collaborate on a multitouch content strategy focused on agility, flexibility, and a capacity for growth—one that considers the long tail of the content lifecycle and has the capability to provide sessions on-demand for a more customized experience.
  • Quality production. In the fight for attention, production value is a critical consideration as we design and develop assorted content types, including “broadcast quality” livestreaming, fluid and vibrant motion graphics, and thoughtful and engaging interstitials.
  • Inclusive of interactive. Designing and delivering interactive elements is crucial to establishing a value exchange between the brand and audience: A robust feature set is necessary to allow for one-to-one expert meetings, peer learning, interactive demos, digital engagements, and moments of fun.

Once that framework is established, focus can shift to the content narrative for the experience.

A Content Narrative & Digital Design Principles

Much like traditional storytelling, the content approach can be broken into three parts:

  • Phase I includes big brand and “wow” entry moments with landing spaces that ensure personalized journeys are easily crafted.
  • Phase II is where the primary content is delivered. Brand-led messages from executive goal-setting to product-focused presentations mixed with conversations between external speakers and sponsors both live and simu-live. This content is serialized to drive engagement and relevance.
  • Phase III is a personalized call to action, sponsor and sales integration through serialized content tracks, qualified leads, data capture and CRM integration.


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