It’s awards season and usually, by now event professionals would have produced hundreds of shows at the UK’s hotels, function rooms, and marquees across the land. We would have inspired, entertained and recognised every imaginable role in every sector - ranging from the utility industry to take-away food to computer programmers.
But Covid-19 has stopped these live events in their tracks.
So what now?
People still need to be recognised as exceptional in their communities. Companies still want the exposure that being a finalist or winner allows. Sponsors and partners still need to engage with their industries and networks. Guests still want to interact, network, be entertained and feel inspired and relevant.
Since lockdown, my team and I at Pytch have been ideating new ways of achieving these essential outcomes and in this article, I will share some of the key points of what we have learnt. To keep this snappy, I have done a FAQ format- I like these so I write this way myself!
Can an awards show go virtual?
Yes. Awards shows can, have and do go virtual. My team has produced many since lockdown and I have taken a keen interest in what others are doing. There is a range of approaches to doing this and the results have varied from exciting and engaging to jarring and cringe-worthy.
How do we get awards online?
My first piece of advice is to not try and simply do a normal show and film it. This doesn't work. A traditional in-person event relies heavily on audience interaction, atmosphere and a wide range of distractions - take all that away and the filmed show looks and feels distant, cold and even creepy. Instead, we all need to reflect deeply on the “why” of what our show is about. Why do people come? Why do sponsors spend? Why do people get nominated? Why are we really doing an awards show in the first place? This might result in some philosophical thinking that helps us all reflect on our purpose as event professionals.
In one case we realised that an awards show was primarily about providing finalists with an accolade to use on their social media engagement - with this being the case it turned out that a live event probably wasn't the best format in the first place. In another instance, we identified that the awards show itself was borderline irrelevant and the night itself was a chance for old friends to be together in person, share stories and have fun - in this case, a real-life event was essential. Of course, many shows are a mixture of both but asking “why” will help identify this. If you want to learn more about the “What, Why and How of events” I invite you to watch this playlist of four short videos.