Brands that had planned influencer events as part of their marketing strategy for 2020 largely had to postpone or cancel these events. As a result, various influencer event models were created that not only ensure 2021 events can go ahead, but will also generate a lot of earned content potential for your brand!
When or if on-site events become possible in 2021, the primary aim will be to make decisions that prioritise hygiene measures and ensure compliance with distance regulations. The welfare of everyone invited will not only be any brand’s natural concern, but fundamental to avoiding a PR nightmare afterwards.
If, despite everything, it is not possible for influencers to participate in the event, then contingency measures kick in and take the activities to the influencers online! With creative planning and preparation, a strong brand experience can still be created without having to accept any losses in the campaign goals!
On-site, remote or mixed events?
All possible scenarios should be prepared right from the beginning. 2020 taught us that the only certainty is uncertainty! It is essential to stay up to date with the ever-evolving situation and plan accordingly, as the COVID-19 requirements can change daily on an international as well as national level.
1. Remote and on-site hybrid
If on-site participation is partially possible, certain precautions must be taken early on to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Arriving on time, presenting negative tests before departure, on arrival, and immediately before the event, and replacing event components that are not strictly necessary all reduce the likelihood of an unwanted outcome.
The influencers who do not want to or cannot participate in the event despite all the precautions attend virtually! To help recreate the feeling of togetherness despite the physical distance, send a goodie box tailored to the event to non-participating influencers in advance. The more individualised the goodie box is, the more likely your brand is to generate earned content and create a feeling of community.
2. On-site pre-production
It is always advisable to pre-produce content with a professional photographer and/or videographer. If the situation permits, selected influencers can also take part in the pre-production process.
Thanks to this pre-produced material, the influencers have an opportunity to personally experience the brand or product and create personalised content by combining that material with their own. This creates authentic storytelling, which is perceived positively by their community and also increases the chances of earned content as the effort is comparatively reduced. Another advantage of pre-production is that the material can be created in an authentic brand environment, strengthening the consistency of the output.
3. Online solution
If on-site participation is simply not possible, a remote concept can be activated. Most offline activities can be translated into digital easily enough: for example, a dinner can be replaced with a live cooking event. This creates bonding experiences for both the influencers and their communities. The intensity of the interaction can actually be increased even further thanks to exciting formats such as Instagram Q&A Live Sessions.
Concerts and product launches can also be entirely broadcast as a livestream, and influencers can appear or activate them as part of this.
Outlook for 2021
Where there is a risk, an opportunity is usually not far away. The months of planning need not have been in vain, as long as your brand remains alert, and ready to adapt or optimise at the last moment if the situation changes suddenly. Good communication is imperative in turbulent times: a detailed briefing and checking in regularly with your chosen influencers is crucial to ensure that complex campaigns run smoothly.
It is important to emphasise again that by using the right tools, your brand’s community can continue to be part of new event models. With appropriate pre-communication and increased use of interactive elements such as Instagram Story polls, the audience can participate directly in the brand experience.
In this way, influencers continue to function as authentic, trustworthy brand ambassadors and events can also be planned in 2021 with the early provision of alternative solutions and in regular, transparent exchange with the customer.