TIPS ON EVENT PRODUCTION FROM THE EXPERTS AT STAGEDGE
In 2022, Stagedge partnered with global biotechnology company bioMérieux to bring their annual international sales meeting from dream to reality. On the day of the event, more than 700 attendees tuned in virtually from Paris, Montreal, North Carolina, and beyond. Despite a quick pivot only weeks before the conference from in-person to hybrid, it was a summit to remember, with a live band and emcee on-site in Miami and cutting-edge broadcasting technology led by film crews on two continents. In this two-part blog series, we're taking a new approach and bringing you behind the scenes to reveal the people, processes, and technologies that make large-scale global events possible.
When we tell event stories, the focus is often on the final product—what it looked, felt, and sounded like on the big day. But the reality is that events like bioMéreiux’s annual sales meeting take months to prepare, and require creativity, ingenuity, technical expertise, and a team that can operate like a well-oiled machine. In this blog series, we’re focusing our attention on the action that takes place behind-the-scenes and sharing tips from our experts on how to stage an event that your audience will remember. In Part I, we’ll focus on how bioMérieux went virtual, with tips about livestreaming, audience engagement, and how to utilize show leads for a seamless experience.
1. Consider True Live Elements For Your Hybrid Event
Many hybrid and virtual event coordinators opt to share pre-recorded content with attendees. But pre-recorded content often comes across as flat—which didn’t align with bioMerieux’s vision for an inspiring event. When bioMérieux decided just a few weeks before their annual sales meeting to shift from in-person to virtual, they wanted to maintain the energy and connection of a live event—even if their audience was spread across the globe. To achieve that balance, Stagedge recommended they retain true live elements with live broadcast feeds from Miami, Paris, and Leon, and incorporate other playful live components, including an emcee and a band.
"It's crucial for brands to reach their global stakeholders," explains Mike Basteri, senior director of solutions at Stagedge, "and we want those stakeholders to feel like a part of the event—which is why our teams have global resources to connect the production dots. For bioMéreiux's summit, our team connected French stakeholders with the team in the U.S."
Although many organizations with global teams are afraid to go live for logistical and technical reasons, Basteri notes that live components can make an event sing. "We're not afraid to go live, and you shouldn't be either," Basteri says. "It adds an exciting and authentic component to your event."
2. Keep Audiences Engaged Across Modalities
When bioMérieux took its event virtual, they also had to develop a new engagement strategy to keep audience members interested for the entire three-day conference. "I think people get bored at home much easier than they do in-person," explains Leigh Cook, executive producer at Stagedge. "You have to keep the content interesting, which means investing in great production value and keeping the camera shots lively." To boost engagement, Stagedge's events production team added a jib camera to get fun, overhead shots. And the emcee and live band in Miami helped to keep things lively.
But boosting engagement wasn't just about camera angles and music. bioMérieux's featured speakers were also expected to adapt their live content for a virtual audience in only a few weeks—and many didn't know where to start. "Speakers don't necessarily walk in knowing how to engage people at home, or what kind of tools they should use," explains Christopher Streat, senior producer at Stagedge. "Our creative team took the lead and said, 'Let's look through each presentation deck by deck and see how we can help you pivot.' It was fun and exciting to work with clients to identify what they wanted participants to get out of each session, and then adapt the content and technology to make it happen."
3. Invest in Skillful Show Leads
With six concurrent sessions, a band, an emcee, both live and virtual speakers, and more than 700 attendees at home, there were many balls to juggle during the bioMérieux event. Stagedge brought in a team of talented show leads, the often-unsung heroes of any event, to keep those balls in the air.
"My show leads are all just so on point," notes Bob Penola, creative director at Stagedge. "They know exactly how to put their gear together to make the tech function seamlessly. They coordinate all the video streams, both from people tuning in and people streaming out." Stagedge's show leads ensured that bioMérieux's sales meeting felt like a physical event—not just another Zoom call. "The end goal of this event was to make sure that participants felt like they were getting a real show, even if they couldn't attend in-person because of Covid," says Penola. "We wanted to give them the best virtual-hybrid event possible—and thankfully, because of our show leads and technical expertise, the best we can do is great."
Staging Seamless Events
As event producers, we know we've done our jobs well when the work we do is unnoticed—because that means the event went off without a hitch. But putting together a large-scale event is a complex endeavor that requires a blend of creativity, collaboration, technical know-how, and perseverance—skills that we are proud to cultivate at Stagedge.
Want to learn more about what it takes to host a memorable, large-scale virtual event? Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes spotlights from the Stagedge team.
With experience hosting in-person, virtual, and hybrid events, Stagedge guides customers through the entire planning process, from idea to execution. Plus, our state-of-the-art studio provides clients with access to the latest AV technology and staging to enhance production value and engage their audiences. Learn more at www.stagedge.com/stage.