How do you engage audiences beyond a live event? Crown's Senior Video Producer Bruce Todd provides an insight on cascading event messages on video.

Live events are a great platform for enabling organisations to engage directly with stakeholder audiences. Chief Executives can speak face to face to their people. Teams can explore ideas in seminars and workshops. Sales people can deepen relationships with agents and customers. Delegates can network across disciplines, markets and borders.

But what about the audiences beyond the live event environment? If the opportunities for direct communication that conferences and leadership events offer are so valuable, why limit their reach to invited delegates only? The event itself may reach hundreds, but the key messages are likely to be relevant to many thousands.

Careful consideration of whether and how to capture and cascade the content of an event should always be part of the event brief. The challenge is how best to do this when the special mood, the shared experience and the personal contact integral to the effectiveness of the live event have dissipated.

At Crown we argue that it’s not good enough to put a camera at the back of the venue, video record the event and distribute edited extracts on the intranet. This route may transmit the headline messages but can’t deliver the emotional and intellectual context – the mood music – that ensures those messages are fully absorbed and understood.

The ingredients of a successful video are different from those of a successful event. The viewing experience is likely to be a solitary one rather than communal or collaborative; the video canvas is smaller and compressed; the pace needs to be faster; the messaging sharp and focussed; the eye must be continually seduced into attention. Visuals, props and action that work in the event environment may well not work on the small screen.

So here are our top tips for successfully cascading event messages on video:

  • Plan ahead – cascading shouldn’t be an afterthought but integral to the event planning
  • Identify the key messages – there may be many and of different kinds
  • Identify the audiences for those messages – again they may differ and they may require different video styles, durations and moods for successful engagement
  • Think about distilling messages through interviews with key speakers, graphics and animation to complement the live event footage
  • Focus too on capturing the full delegate experience – think about showing the workshops, the networking, and record delegate feedback on the day
  • Consider telling some of the ‘backstories’ to the messaging through case studies and interviews with other key players in the narratives
  • During the event itself, use social media to reach out live to the wider audiences – so generating interest and priming an expectation for the delivery of the subsequent cascade
  • (for more on this click here see our atomisation blog on using social media to reach out to wider audiences)
  • Include a short, specially shot endorsement from the CEO or a senior manager – to be part of the invitation to watch and at the top of the video(s) emphasising: ‘this is why this is important …’

One of our main clients, a global corporation, holds an annual leadership event. Following the event, we produce a whole range of videos for them to cascade throughout the organisation, targeting different audiences with different levels of messaging and content focus.

Yes, there’ll be a cost to taking this comprehensive approach to cascading on video, but the incremental cost and effort against the overall event budget will be small, and the cost per head of engaging with thousands of people even smaller. In our experience the benefits, by contrast, can be huge.