With the coronavirus pandemic creating instant changes across the world, individuals in the public relations and communications markets have had to learn to adapt, and quickly. We are now almost a full year into this newly found normal, and the past year has been one of transformation and challenges; however, it has also pushed public relations and communications practitioners into creative overdrive to continuously develop exciting online and technological experiences for clients to connect with their customers.
Over the past year, we have seen firsthand how communications professionals have kept consumers engaged from their homes. A huge portion of this has been organizations continuing to hold events but transforming these events to either partially or fully online. In a short time, communications professionals have developed new and exciting models for events that allow for more variety and levels of entertainment and ways to expand the audience for these events.
Some of these new event models include transforming a former fully in-person event to a fully online experience or generating a hybrid event where smaller portions of the event are in person and individuals also have the option to view the event online. The hybrid event models have been particularly interesting, where organizations have identified different versions that work best for their audiences. This could include individuals hosting viewing parties with a small number of individuals social distancing and being able to see everyone on the screen, having the in-person event completely live streamed so individuals may choose to attend or watch from their homes, and more.
No matter the layout, the online event access has allowed for an expanded pool of potential attendees. For instance, if a supporter lives out of state, they can now support their organization online from afar and still make donations and participate in the event. These hybrid and online events have allowed organizations to foster relationships with an expanded audience across the country. Especially with the help of various social media and video platforms, online and hybrid events make attending and supporting organizations more obtainable while maintaining the personable aspect of events.
As these events continue to develop, it is important to find ways to keep the online event fun and to keep the audience engaged, which includes unique entertainment and online activities for event attendees. As mentioned, in some ways reaching individuals to attend an organization’s event is more straightforward than before. Organizations have been able to acquire celebrity talent, who may have been out of reach when events were in-person. Now, with events online or hybrid, it is simpler to encourage virtual celebrity attendance. No matter their location, using video and other tools allows key entertainment to make appearances.
Another skill organizations have sharpened include online auctions. Not only are the auctions fully digital, but the items themselves have also been chosen to be friendly experiences during the pandemic. Whether that includes isolated beach houses for a family getaway or an at home virtual cooking experience, this continues to show how quickly communications professionals have been able to adapt various portions of the event experience for their clients.
These incredible innovative ideas have opened doors to a new normal for events and, communications professionals will only continue to develop new ideas to make these online events more unique. When the pandemic comes to a close and the world officially reopens its doors, it will be interesting to see which of the needed communications developments stick for the long haul and which will be saved for use during another time. Either way, the communications world as we know it has been changed forever.