Hybrid Events In Action: Product Launches

When real-world events make their comeback, they won’t be as they once were. Moving forward and thinking ahead, we have created a series of blogs to highlight how the hybrid event format can be practically applied to event marketing strategies.

In part one of the series, we focus on the ‘Hybrid Product Launch’ event…

Product Launches

Product launches, done right, are exciting, atmospheric, and work to build up anticipation and intrigue around a new product or service that’s about to hit the market. As the saying goes, ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression’; an ethos that should completely underpin the organisation and delivery of every product launch event.

Let’s break down how a hybrid format can create impact for the ultimate product launch experience:

Real-World Guests

Keep the real-world experience exclusive. Getting strategic with guest selections can help to generate a sense of real exclusivity; hand-pick and invite core clients, partners, employees, and media outlets. Once you know who will be there in person, it’s an exciting opportunity to design an experience that at every touchpoint provides that personalised VIP vibe.

Venue Selection

Going smaller with an event opens up the possibilities when it comes to venue choices. Don’t feel restricted and confined to conventional venues. Choose a location for the big launch that reflects your brand and that will embody the overall event theme and message. Whether it’s a stunning countryside estate or a sky-high space with spectacular city views, this is the time to break away from the norm and change things up. For added suspense, why not keep the location of the launch top-secret; leverage the venue in pre-event comms and drop clues for those attending in person to try and figure out before the grand reveal.

Real World + Virtual = Hybrid

When it comes to a hybrid event, it’s imperative to build out two experience tracks: one for the physical guests and one for the virtual attendees. This dual approach extends to the communication strategy too. In early planning stages, map out the journeys for each audience segment and think respectively about what content you want to deliver and what interactions you want attendees to have within the event. From here, event programmes and comms plans that are tailored for both audience groups, and their needs, can be evolved and constructed to create an event that strategically fuses together seamless real-world and online experiences.

Consider the use of production, staging, and other tactics to spark the senses in the physical venue. Immerse people in the live environment and transport them into your brand universe. One of the advantages of a hybrid event is the ability you have to expand the reach of your launch. Not only do you have people in physical attendance, but at the click of a button you can add a global virtual audience and bring them in on the live experience.

Before the launch, heighten energy and boost anticipation in a welcome session designed to accommodate both audiences. Introduce a speaker who will resonate with your attendees and who can connect them to the story behind your brand’s latest release. Use the time in the lead up to the big event to align your business values with those of your guests and to create buy-in, utilising content delivery to evoke an emotional response.

The Reveal

When the launch takes place remember to make sure your virtual attendees feel like they have the same front-row seat as your live audience. Ensure cameras are positioned to give those online a clear and multi-angle view of the entire launch. To keep a remote audience locked in, care and attention must be paid to capturing the full visual and audio experience and streaming it in real-time. Just like a TV show with a live studio audience, hosts should also address not only those in the room but those watching from across the world, ensuring they feel a part of the moment.

What’s Next?

This is where a hybrid event can come into its own. To maximise the experience each audience group has with your brand, it can be beneficial to get imaginative with the agenda. After the launch takes place, virtual audiences could take part in a dedicated online demonstration session. This could be simulive with a pre-recorded demo and a live host to provide further information and answer audience questions throughout.

Back in the live environment, attendees could have a more hands-on, one-to-one demonstration, where they can physically interact and ask questions. This type of session could also be an opportunity to bring in other speakers who could provide additional insights and commentary surrounding the product or service that’s just been launched. These talks could be delivered as exclusive content to the real-world audience but recorded for online attendees to access later, on-demand. Taking this kind of approach enhances the in-person experience, whilst also creating valuable digital content to extend future engagement opportunities.

As the programme continues a selection of activities, fireside and fishbowl chats, gamification, and networking sessions could be incorporated, each designed sympathetically to complement the online and offline environments. Building out separate experiences in this way will provide two distinct journeys within your event that are purpose-built for the intended audiences. This strategy enables the live event to optimise the elements that foster meaningful connections in the in-person setting, while also clearly acknowledging that the virtual experience can’t simply be a replication of the physical event; instead, it has to be adapted to deliver a virtual-first event that promotes engagement and interaction, while also delivering core messaging and hitting key event objectives.

To create a sense of one unified community, the launch event could wrap with a thought leader, motivational speaker, panel talk, or entertainment segment, that brings both audience groups back together in a concluding shared experience.

Food, Drink and Gift Packs

Just because virtual attendees are remote doesn’t mean they can’t still get in on the food, drink, and giveaways that physical attendees might receive. It’s just a case of recreating these components to complement the virtual offering. Branded gift packs, delivered to peoples’ homes, are a fantastic way to enhance the experience your virtual audience has with your brand. Containing food and drink items, gifts, and customised accessories tied in with your event branding, there’s no shortage of ways to make gift packs work for your product launch.

The Benefits

Adopting a hybrid format for your product launch event offers twofold benefits. In the live environment, you can create super personalised micro-experiences, designed to facilitate meaningful connections and nurture one-to-one connections that focus on specific objectives. By including a virtual component too, you can increase audience reach, allowing your business to share its product launch, communicate the key features and benefits, and present hosted demonstrations with customers, partners, employees, and press and media outlets across the world.

Ultimately, a hybrid product launch should be created with balance, providing an exceptional experience with your new product/service to both audience segments at every touchpoint. Overlooking one to prioritise the other is a big no, no, and will undoubtedly leave one audience feeling undervalued and disengaged, which let’s be honest is definitely not the desired outcome. With well-thought-out, considered programmes and the right technology solutions in place, hybrid product launches are a powerful way to connect your audiences to your business’s latest innovations.