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How virtual events help brands stay connected to consumers

In these unprecedented times of social distancing and venue closures, the landscape of the Australian events industry is rapidly changing. Despite being unable to run tangible events or activations, creative industries and brands are continuing to connect, engage and create special moments that inspire us, and they are doing so digitally.

Brands recognise that, in this time, trying to sell to consumers as they did previously is simply not going to work. Although digital alternatives cannot always replace an in-person sensory event or experience, the rapid rise of virtual events is bridging the online and physical worlds. 

There is an immense opportunity for brands, businesses and organisations to add new benefits, demonstrate even more value, and achieve business objectives through online platforms. While your consumer may not be in the same room as you, you can still achieve increased awareness, establish your community and personality, increase geographic reach, and grow brand love. 

In fact, According to Market Research Media, virtual events will grow from $14 billion in 2018 to $18 billion in 2023, with a steady increase of five per cent annually.

With this in mind we have shortlisted some of the most successful virtual events that have been set up over the past two months and have inspired new thinking around the possibility of converting physical engagement at an event to take place online.

Take a virtual tour through the zoo

Without the face-to-face aspect, organisations are getting creative with social platforms and video conferencing tools, finding new ways to market and integrate their brand or product to their audiences’. A great example of this is seen with the temporary closure of Taronga Zoos. With families being forced to spend more time at home, Taronga Zoo launched 24/7 live streaming cameras that allowed parents to tune in to Taronga TV for a virtual trip to the zoo.

Not only are kids able to enjoy their favourite animals at two of Australia’s well-loved zoos directly from their living room, but Taronga TV also streams daily talks and shows with the  zookeepers, 24/7 live animal streams, amusing animal antics and a behind-the-scene sneak peek at what the animals do while the zoo has temporarily closed its doors.

Cooking and coping

It comes as no surprise that lately, many of us are in the kitchen more and we have turned to social media and online channels to learn or improve how we cook. This is why food brands are engaging with some of Australia’s most loved celebrity chefs to turn Australian kitchens into virtual classrooms, offering food lovers free virtual cooking classes. 

Brands are using virtual webinars and demonstrations to achieve emotional buy-in from audiences, encouraging them to engage and get involved in their campaigns by delivering practical, relatable, and relevant content, that adds value to people’s life in isolation. 

Culinary icon, Maggie Beer got in on the action whipping up her famous eggplant and eggs, with the launch of a social media series and online cooking tutorials, Cooking with Maggie, whilst former Masterchef contestant Adam Liaw hosted a three-part Zoom masterclass series, Quarantine Cuisine, using common supplies and Australia’s favourite ingredient, Vegemite. Even 84-year old, Nonna Nerina live-streamed her home-made generation-only recipes in her pasta-cooking classes from Italy!

Let’s get physical, courtesy of Aussie fitspos 

I’m sure you’ll agree, with the explosion of the cooking demonstrations, comes an equal blast of fitspo and health content available on our socials, and it’s with good reason as fitness and health are one of the most affected industries of the pandemic. In light of all of the studio closures, brands, fitness expert and fitspo influencers are ‘paying it forward,’ offering free online at-home workouts to ensure that Aussies stay fit and healthy. 

Some examples include, Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw’s Keep It Cleaner (KIC) health app is offering free online workouts to ensure Aussies maintain their health over the upcoming weeks and months, while Chris Hemsworth is offering a free six-week trial, alongside free live streamed workouts, including flow yoga and meditations on his Instagram fitness app, Centr Fit. Get your high-cut leotards and lycra ready as Aerobics Oz Style makes a comeback with classic episodes now streaming on 10 Play.

Get a lunchtime pe-digree from these paw-fect pooches

Many of us have transitioned to virtual working conditions and with this, staying connected and maintaining a sense of normality is high on the priority list. A recent Guide Dogs Australia (GDA) campaign successfully leveraged the fact that Aussies are working at home from their makeshift offices and staying connected via video conferencing. To celebrate International Guide Dog Day, GDA hosted a fun lunchtime learning ‘Zoom Puppy Meeting,’ for 1,700 Australians to boost morale and educate us on the importance of guide dogs in the lives of people living with blindness or low vision.

Alongside digital technology’s crucial role in facing the pandemic, Australian brands and smaller local businesses have done exceedingly well to innovate and adapt in order to survive in this unsettling period – with some thriving by expanding their offering and embracing new service formats via virtual event channels and formats. 

FORWARD has extensive experience in well rounded and cleverly executed virtual campaigns. Why not get in touch today to find out how we can assist you in driving your brand further.