We’re seeing it all over the events industry, sponsors gave you their money to have a booth, they logo all over printed materials and other in-person returns that they expected for their support and now they want to know what they are getting since your event is moving online. 

When it comes to virtualizing your event using live streaming and other event technologies, every organization that has event sponsors needs to respond quickly to their sponsors and offer them value or risk needing to return funds or lose valuable industry relationships. 

The great news is, there is even more, yes more opportunity for you to give sponsor ROI (return on investment) for your virtual event then there was at your physical event! This is because some events are seeing a 3X increase in attendance online so your sponsors can reach a greater audience. Plus metrics are much more trackable, making it easy to measure ROI. We will cover 9 great ideas to get you started. 

What is ROI and Why Does it Matter?

ROI stands for Return On Investment and means what your sponsor is getting in return for giving you money or as is the case for “in kind” sponsorships, services or products that you need for your event. In kind sponsorships might include providing all of the graphic design and logo creation for your event and are less common, but can be even more valuable to you if you’re on a tight budget to produce your event. 

Some examples of sponsor ROI for an in person event might include:

  • Logos on printed materials like programs, banners and signage
  • A booth space where to sell products or advertise services
  • Names read during announcements
  • Branded swag (pencils, sunglasses, magnets, etc) distributed in event bags
  • Logos on event t shirt

It’s important to think critically about how to give real value to your sponsors and how to measure that value and treat them like your organization’s partners. These valuable relationships make events happen and losing sponsors can cost your organization a lot of money and may make holding your event subsequent years impossible. 

How to Create Virtual ROI For Sponsors 

Pre-Event

Sponsorship returns start as soon as your website is up and can be included on all of your digital materials. The key things to make sure you do here is have careful planning around sponsorship levels and clearing define where logos and mentions will show up for various levels. Some of these perks are things you’re likely already doing like putting sponsor logos on your landing pages and emails. Here are a few others:

  • An opportunity to wow your speakers or a list of targeted attendees your sponsor might really want to impress with a VIP experience. You send those targeted attendees a meal box, a case of wine or a service like a code for a food delivery or a car wash.
  • Speaking of sending your attendees something in the mail, send your swag bags and boxes to your attendees and include all of your sponsors’ branded swag!

During the Event

Sponsorship opportunities during the event are endless. Be thoughtful and don’t be afraid to include your long time sponsors in the planning of these activations. These relationships are so important and your sponsors want to know you’re working creatively to give them value as your partner. 

  • Sponsored posts: some event apps have the ability to give you sponsored posts which appear in your events feed throughout and are more than just pinned posts, they repost offers and content on a timed basis. These can include app downloads, special offer codes and links to products or services. Attendify is one app doing this really well, you can read more about how they handle these posts here.
  • Sponsored entertainment: Just because your event moved virtual doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have fun built into the schedule. In the virtual world some entertainment that wouldn’t be as popular in a live event might be really well received online. Keep in mind, virtual attendees might be working at home with kids. Magic acts, a cartoonist, folk duos or yoga sessions have all had great online responses in virtual environments. 
  • Instead of traditional commercials, have your MC interview sponsor representatives. Work with your MC to pull out the value the attendees want to hear.
  • And on that note, run sponsors ads during breaks or on each end of key sessions. Ask that your sponsors create their ads for your event to tailor the content and keep your audience more engaged. 
  • Have sponsors host networking events in virtual rooms. Some fun ones that people are loving are virtual cocktail hours. We’ve seen some events hire a mixologist that teaches everyone how to make their own cocktails.
  • Have sponsors give away virtual backgrounds to attendees and then host raffles in sessions for a door prize for those who used the background.
  • If your event includes gamification, give attendees points on a leaderboard for visiting sponsors’ virtual “booth” or scheduling product demos or meetings with your sponsors. 
  • Other ways that you should definitely use to provide sponsor ROI (and track it) are sending out push notifications about your sponsors deals and sessions if you’re using an event app. If you are not, utilize email notifications instead. 
  • Use banner ads in your event app or on your event webpage or social media event accounts. 
  • Make sure you give your sponsors a way to have a profile, preferable in your app, but if you aren’t using one, then on your event website. 
  • Display sponsors’ logos on your live stream on opening and closing slates and even as a rolling ticker at the top of popular sessions. 

Post Event Sponsorship ROI

The biggest thing you need to post-event is thank your sponsors and include your sponsors information on wrap up emails to your attendees. These are the people that made your event happen. Have a dedicated person on your team gather screen shots of memorable interactions online, meeting selfies and video clips from live streams. Post these to your social accounts and tag the sponsors in them. Remember to deliver all metrics to your sponsors that you may have collected about the number of links and appointments they scheduled and other data that shows they gained value. 

Remember that COVID-19 has changed the events industry forever and you’re not experiencing this alone. Face your sponsors with humble optimism and a strong sense of value for their support. Look at your attendee demographics and the demographics of your sponsors. Be specific about how many attendees your event will have in person and online and what percentage of your expected attendance you are promising sponsors in order to keep their money (70% of last year’s attendance virtually and on sight if you have one) is a good starting point. With clear information and creative ideas you’ll master getting all the sponsor revenue you need and hosting an event people will be engaged in. 
If you would like more information on having a hybrid or virtual event, get in touch to schedule a time to talk.

During the rapidly evolving crisis with COVID-19 we were contacted by Kim Jones, Executive Director of the Optometric Physicians of Washington

Her organization had been planning their 55th Post Graduate Seminar scheduled to take place 8 days from the time she reached out to us. We were able to collaborate with Kim and her organization to quickly find a new venue, figure out safe and sanitary practices for crew and presenters (including one immunocompromised individual), and get a custom viewing page set up with tabbed videos, embedded chat function, email capture for each session and linked quizzes for participants to earn their continuing education credits.

Thanks to this joint effort between our teams, the conference took place on time and around 600 doctors were able to get their continuing education credit from the safety of their home. 

Participants delighted at having free parking, no crowded hallways and other such light-hearted benefits from their devices. Many shared photos of them practicing social distancing at home while holding their babies, sharing a desk with their school-aged kids who are all home from schools, and enjoying the company of their furry family members.  

Some of the safety measures we took during the production and streaming were frequent hand washing, minimal crew, who did morning temperature checks for fever before coming into the closed-off hotel conference room that had only production crew (3 people) the OPW Executive producer, 1 moderator and 1-3 speakers safely spaced throughout the room. 

Our techs kept a minimum of 6 feet apart at their work stations and microphones, the presentation computer and clicker were all disinfected between each person’s use. In addition, we changed foam covers on lavalier mics after each presenter. 

Finally, we had our audio person, who would switch mics and disinfecting gloved and masked when coming into contact with speakers. 

Right now we serve many areas who are being affected by “shelter in place” orders or similar precautions.

As media professionals, our crews are small and carry press passes. We have also applied to have Varvid listed as an essential business in Washington state. 

Our hope is to continue to help create ways to keep people in corporate, education and community organizations connected through bringing meetings, classes and conferences together safely online. 

We also are offering consultations for individuals, groups and businesses who are sheltering in place and in need of a live streaming solution to meet their individual needs using existing gear they have on hand, and or by assisting them in making buying decisions.

Please reach out to us for your streaming and consulting needs. 

Frontgate is a leading home luxury multichannel retailer who does recurring live streamed events with us from their storefront locations. Because Facebook is really prioritizing live content, we find that for many of our clients, it is a great fit for getting the most viewers on your streamed event.

Nathan Turner talks food and entertainment at Dallas retail location for Frontgate

Frontgate’s last event was streamed from their Dallas/Plano, Texas location and featured a prominent designer, author and gourmet guru, Nathan Turner, who shared recipes and favorite products for holiday gatherings to a small local audience and reached thousands more via their Facebook Live stream.

Frontgate interacts with their audience in real time on their Facebook Live stream

We love the big brand’s use of live streaming to bring in promoters of their brand that share content that both in the room and remote audiences want and can engage with. Frontgate, stepped it up by holding a prize drawing that featured people in the room and anyone who left a comment of the live stream. We also think that our clients gain the most, by having someone on your team interacting with the live audience on Facebook live stream, via comments. You can view the recorded live stream here.

The political world has no doubt grasped onto the power of livestreaming. Earlier in the 2016 presidential race, for example, Hillary Clinton used Periscope to stream a campaign speech; further, the congressional gun control sit-in streamed over Periscope last June. Similarly, on September 26th, the Trump v. Clinton debate went live on various platforms and included real-time fact checking.

Beyond these mainstream broadcasts, political practitioners, educators, and observers have been streaming discussions about the current presidential race. Nevin Zais, Varvid’s Boston Team Lead, operated a Connected Event for The Boston Election Panel discussion.

Political analysts on stage for the Boston Election Panel

Nevin’s task was to execute a smooth livestream (and recording) by live switching between presenters and making the event look outstanding to remote viewers.

“We’re using three Sony EX1’s, a Roland VR-50HD video switcher, and a Blackmagic 4K recorder,” he said.

By supporting The Colby Club of Boston and the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, the “Pulling Back the Curtain on The 2016 Election” discussion was accessible to the public on September 27th. 

Livestreaming behind the scenes image.

“Events like this one really help connect and educate the community,” said Nevin, “especially if people can’t make it to the venue.”

This panel dissected the strategies behind endorsements, campaign finance, and voter behavior throughout 2016. Certainly, this year’s election has a one-word description: unconventional.

Nevin on switcher

This panel discussion was presented by the Alumni of Colby College. To learn more about Colby College events, you can find a calendar here.

On August 22nd, the Varvid team joined Faithlife for their Logos 7 Bible Software debut. Although Faithlife has a product launch about every two years, this year marked their first livestream experience!

“The live event increased the anticipation leading up to the re-opening of the product website,” said Brian Russell, Faithlife’s Video Producer.

Product launches are one-time events that generate a sense of urgency, and live streaming promises direct involvement with the product’s brand and creators.

This is why Faithlife’s webcast was able to attract 879 simultaneous viewers at the peak of a four-hour broadcast. They offered their motivated viewers the opporunity to access new tools, watch demos, and ask questions about Logos 7.

Anyone with an internet connection is able to access a live broadcast, which gives brands and opportunity to expand their reach. For example, Faithlife’s livestream captured the interests of people living anywhere from Arizona to Ukraine.

Live content gives an individual, no matter their location, the ability to go “behind the scenes”. Certainly, viewers value the chance to see the ins-and-outs of a product and its’s business. 

 

 “Comments [made] during the broadcast suggested that our audience was eager to hear about the software product we were announcing. Within the livestream, we announced the new features and premiered the accompanying videos along with interviews and live demonstrations of the product.” Said Brian Russel, the Video Producer at Faithlife that oversaw this project.

Curiosity attracts viewers to a livestream, but viewers stay engaged when a human connection makes them feel valued. Engaging an audience is accomplished through interactive content creation.

Faithlife offered their viewers an interactive experience by using two studio spaces that produced different content for the broadcast.

 

Faithlife Interview Section

One studio served as an interview station where creators and developers discussed the benefits and answered questions about Logos 7.

In the second studio, a single camera and computer source streamed a demo of the software. Utilizing these two studio spaces connected the remote viewers with Logos 7, and to those working “behind the scenes”.

 

Faithlife's Studio

Working with Varvid went smoothly, and sharing the technical responsibility with them meant I could turn my attention to the content,” Russell said. 

Livestreams connect businesses to an international, remote audience. What makes them successful is offering viewers a one-time event with human interaction and engaging content.

To see how Faithlife managed, you can see a recording of their Logos 7 Software broadcast here.

 

Now that August has begun, our X-mas in July celebration has come to a halt. Our Varvid tree is back to being a plastic office plant, the Hallmark Christmas marathons have stopped (thank goodness), and Mother Nature freed herself of X-mas in July by dumping ice across Colorado on the 31st. Yet, three particular memories of our 12 Days of X-mas in July will continue to bring cheer throughout the year.

On the second day of X-mas in July, Roland’s Rob Read brought good tidings to the Varvid workshop. Rob performed a demo of the Roland VR-50, an all-in-one four channel video and twelve channel audio mixer that has improved our Connected Events significantly. Connected Event streaming varies in expectations and goals, but the VR-50 is a pretty effective Swiss army knife. Impressed with the capabilities of this tool, Varvid has chosen to become a certified Roland reseller!
Rob Read & The VR-50 DemoIt’s impossible to celebrate X-mas without sipping on a few drinks with friends and family. On the 8th day of X-mas in July, we joined some cronies at The Shakedown for Brad Lockhart’s debut of the Bellingham Flag. The flag binds what was and what will be in a whole, greater, symbol of Bellingham. To say the least, it was a fantastic event that reminded the Varvid team the importance of getting back to our roots, and of our role in the Bellingham community. 

The Bellingham Flag Debut Varvid combined these previous days to plan our own party. On the 9th day of X-mas in July. we invited Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College to eat, drink, and nerd-out on the VR-50. Together, Varvid and the Higher-Ed gang discussed the possible solutions for any school’s event needs (i.e. what gear is appropriate to live stream a graduation ceremony). Connecting with the community under the Varvid roof was definitely the highlight of our July festivities.
Varvid's Higher-Ed Demo Day

Curious to see what else went on during our 12 Days of X-mas in July? Check out our Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram (@VarvidVideo)!

Varvid recently produced a series of videos highlighting Samsung KNOX – a new Android-based security platform specifically designed to separate and manage personal and professional data. Samsung KNOX offers comprehensive protection against malware attacks and hacking with multi-layered security and industry-leading device management capabilities.

The videos were showcased at the 2014 Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain. Notable keynote speakers at the conference included:

  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook
  • Virginia Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM
  • John Chambers, Cisco Chairman & CEO

Varvid’s crew captured footage at Samsung offices in San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Clara, including interviews and B-roll vital to each project.

At Varvid headquarters in Bellingham, Skype calls were captured from Samsung offices in South Korea, Abu Dhabi, India, and Washington DC. Varvid’s editors worked closely with a Samsung Marketing representative to turn the projects around quickly.

International video production for 2014 World Wide Mobile Conference

Colin Dalvit added 2D & 3D animated opens and maps to help add to the overall production value.

International logo Animation for 2014 World Wide Mobile Conference

The videos were a very successful and integral part of the Samsung presentation and as a result, Varvid has been recognized as a Preferred Provider for Samsung Telecommunications America.

Click here to view our video presented at the 2014 Mobile World Congress.

Varvid is excited to showcase two amazing local Bellingham artists at the upcoming art walk, put on by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. On Friday, February 7 at 6:00pm PST Varvid will be hosting mixed medium artist Courtney Starks and live streaming music from the band The Prozac Mtn Boys.

 Courtney StarksWar_by_Courtney_Starks

Courtney Starks is a technical artist and software developer, as well as a fine artist. It is her objective to observe an idea or invention of another, and convey it effectively to an audience through creative and elegant design.

 “Nature is a presence of steadfast beauty, and pondering or adventuring among it holds my interest. Through artistic mediums of charcoal and oil, I endeavor to capture the things that exist among us – to hold them in time as if to preserve them. I have been creating mixed medium artworks for nearly ten years, and it inspires me to share this work with others.”

 To find out more about Courtney Starks and her art work visit her website at www.designbycourtney.com

The Prozac Mtn Boys

The Prozac Mtn Boys, as their name suggests, offer an uplifting, therapeutic mixture of traditional, bluegrass and modern music. Composed of musicians from Washington State’s Singingnorthernmost counties, The Prozac Mtn Boys combine bluegrass instrumentation with rich vocal harmonies to create a surprisingly familiar, intimate blend of yesterday and today. From Bill Monroe to Bob Dylan, from The Beatles to The Grateful Dead, no music is safe from The Prozac Mtn Boys. The Prozac Mtn Boys band members include: Lauren Sult (vocals) Andy Friedlander (guitar), Ted O’Connell (mandolin, harmonica), Larry Sult (banjo), Keith Fredrikson (bass), and Arielle Luckmann (fiddle).

If you want to know more about the Prozac Mtn Boys you can find them on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1fBqaPO or visit their website at http://www.reverbnation.com/prozacmtnboys4

Join us at Varvid Headquarters during the first Friday of every month for the Bellingham Art Walk from 6 – 10pm PST at 1319 Commercial St. #201.

Not able to make it? 

Worried about not being able to attend and miss out on the live performance? Well that’s no problem, Varvid will be live streaming the event starting at 6:30 p.m. PST. Visit this website and watch the event from home!

TAG_webcast-_2013-Slide-700

Webcasting — it’s one of the first services Varvid initially offered and it continues to be a cornerstone to our overall success.  While most of our projects have us traveling to wonderful locations across the globe, we are pleased to be planning, preparing and testing for one right here our own backyard.  On Friday, January 18th, we’ll produce and live stream Technology Alliance Group Northwest’s (TAGNW)  Annual Predictions Luncheon from Syre Hall on the campus of Whatcom Community College.  Living in Bellingham is wonderful and working in Bellingham is even better!  We are honored to be part of what we expect to be a long running tradition.

[pullquote_right] Living in Bellingham is wonderful and working in Bellingham is even better![/pullquote_right]

The event and webcast gets underway around 11:45am with some formal introductions and organizational announcements.  Once the formalities are out of the way, the program moves right into tech-savvy prognosticator Mark Anderson’s predictions and some Q&A until about 1:30 or so.  After a little research, his ability to forecast the IT future is pretty darn good…  he’s been right more than 90% of the time over the last 10 years!

There are a couple things that make this webcast really cool:

  1. You can participate via our live chat feature. So if you have questions, we’ll ask them on your behalf.
  2. This is a great way to save on travel costs and time away from the office.
  3. If you are not in Bellingham but would like to attend, no problem.
  4. We’ll be broadcasting in H.264. So, it’ll work on your mobile device.

If you’d like to be part of the audience, either live or virtually, contact the good folks at TAGNW and they’ll set you up.  We’ll see you there or “there.”