A year ago, none of us would have thought we would be able to attend an important office meeting in pajamas or would be able to attend launch events in boxer shorts but COVID- 19 has forced us all to lock ourselves inside our homes. While some services have come to a standstill because of this, there are others that have simply moved online.
The way things are going, we do not think we would be able to attend a traditional, human-packed, person to person launch event any time soon. This is why many brands have taken the online-launch-event route to release new devices and services. Companies like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme have already had virtual events where they launched new products while brands like Microsoft and Apple are going to host their major annual events like Microsoft Build and WWDC online amid the ongoing crisis.
And guess what? We love it like this!
Not because we are lazy and do not like getting dressed up (although that is a part reason) but because virtual events are waaaaaaay better than conventional events. Hear us out!
No “special seats” – Virtual is a level playing field!
Many of us know how most tech events go and for those of you who do not, let us paint a quick picture. Most of these conventional, in-person launches are packed with people, and thanks to a recent trend, some brands have even been inviting fans to launches to make things even more crowded. Even when there is enough space for everyone, to be able to get a good view of what is actually happening on the stage is a different struggle altogether. You have to constantly keep poking your head up or moving it sideways to get a decent peek at the stage. These conventional events often start late because someone important is inevitably running late, pretty much always! And do not even get us started on what a struggle it is to get to the hands-on zone (the area where you get to hold and experience the device) and get a decent, close look at the device that has just been launched.
Hosting a virtual event actually eliminates all these problems. And more. Because it is a virtual event, all of us can sit in front of our screens and get the best view of what the person in front of us wants to show us. You do not have to constantly keep moving in order to get a glance – and even if you miss something, you can always go back and check-up. It also levels the playing field for everyone– companies, journalists, and even fans. Holding digital events means companies have to focus on their content and what they are presenting to the audience because impressing them with over-elaborate, fancy events, lunches or even celeb meetups is out of the question. This means a company with limited resources can host a launch event just as good as a brand with really deep pockets.
Because there are no VIP reserved seats or special arrangements for certain people, virtual events actually help out journalists by giving all them the exact same view of the launch. The same logic is applicable to fans. It also filters out the group that is just around to attend the event and have free food, from those who actually are interested in the product. Everyone gets the same view.
Hosting events virtually also means brands get to choose between having a live launch or a recorded one. And if they go down the recorded route, they can work and edit out mistakes and save themselves from the embarrassment of on-stage errors, a bullet they cannot dodge with a pool of audience sitting in front of them.
Go virtual, literally save money, time and more
But this is not all, virtual events are actually much (much) more economical, time-saving and extremely environment friendly. By launching products (say a smartphone) online, companies can save a lot of money that they spend on booking a venue for the event, setting it up, bringing media persons in and then getting them dropped off, arranging stays, and other hosting and hospitality shebang. It also saves a lot of travel time and fuel. A virtual event means no one has to travel from one country or city to another or even within the city to attend a launch event. They can very easily do it from their living room, saving tons of time. And yes, there is a greater chance of starting on time because even if some prima donna is late, well, they can watch the event online later (most of these can be accessed online for a while even after they are over).
Plus hosting a digital event means you are actually cutting down on resource consumption. Pandemic or no pandemic, a major resource crunch is staring at us, right in our faces, and cutting down on the consumption of resources in any way helps us all. Digital events mean brands exhaust lesser means and money.
All of this happens at a minimal cost without the essential meaning or message of the event getting lost. Some of these events have actually become more accessible to the audience because they are happening online. Microsoft, for instance, has opened up free registration for the Microsoft Build event which otherwise takes a $2,395 entry fee. This means more people will be able to attend the event which they otherwise would not have been able to.
Some might be missing the hustle of conventional launch events and sitting in crowded spaces and a bad view of the center stage, but we are doing just fine without it, thank you.
In fact, we think, even after this pandemic is over, brands should take the digital event route, and save money and other resources. And if they need ideas as to what to do with all that saved money, they could always make their products and services more affordable.