Transforming to virtual inside a week

Asia Features
Transforming to virtual inside a week

Event management agency MCI China recently entirely redesigned, coordinated and delivered an offline product launch event into a combination of live and virtual attendee experiences within a week of the event date.

MCI China was the mandated agency for the management and design of a global product launch event for a Chinese multinational technology company and faced a situation whereby certain elements of the event were not able to take place as planned, due to governmental regulations and health restrictions pertaining to coronavirus.

The challenge, which jeopardised the participation of key stakeholders, was accepted with just one week to go before the event date.

After collaborating with the client to identify the best alternative and handling cancellation regulations, the MCI China team decided to transform the event into a hybrid one.

The agency re-evaluated the necessary elements, taking into account user experience, design, strategic purpose and technology.

It was important that the online user experience had the same essential elements as the offline original event design.

MCI China developed an offline environment and demo area in which media and channel partner guests were present and participating in the keynote and other live speakers’ presentations while they were being broadcast and recorded.

The result was a hybrid event, where:

  • 500 media and channel partner guests participated safely live at the product launch over half a day
  • Event elements were broadcast via live online stream on client-owned platforms
  • Information was made available in seven languages
  • The live streams had a mobile-centric functionality and were all branded with the client’s logo
  • The product launch content had a significantly enlarged reach.

The client’s creative director admitted not being able to provide enough guidance for the product demo area, and so the agency paid a visit to the company’s own store to learn about the products “and create a uniform and complete showcase”.

Florence Chua, director, Greater China Development, MCI China said: “This project was a true test of the team’s can-do attitude and relationship with the client. Together we overcame all the uncertainties and changes to deliver the best possible hybrid experience for both live and online participants amid the challenging period.”

Challenges included supporting the client in handling the cancellation and issues concerning committed contractual obligations and identifying the best alternatives. Although there were WHO recommendations, there was a lack of guidance documents from the host city and venue.

There was a need to balance the need to be socially responsible for Covid prevention and be sensitive to local culture and norms (Covid had not broken out locally at the time so the community had low level of awareness and organisers were anxious not to cause anxiety and discomfort.)

Organisers redesigned the flow of the onsite attendee experience from registration to security, to consider open, well-ventilated space, and efficient human flow; increasing space per participant but maintaining the level of connectivity with the brand and the content. Physical touchpoints were reduced.

The live broadcast had to be redesigned to be viewed online with maximum screen composition. A pre-streaming experience using introductory video to ‘warm’ the screen was put in place and technicians balanced the colour temperature of pre-recorded video and live stream, as well as the sound capture and quality of the different video sources for a more unified look and feel.

Overall, the team achieved a complete integration of live event + recorded + live broadcast in a week, from design to delivery.

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