How Collaborate Global created the ‘go-to’ hybrid event with Anna Valley
When we launched the online event studio in June 2020 we hosted a live stream event to demonstrate the technical capabilities of the solution. Over 200 event professionals virtually attended the live demonstration – including the team from Collaborate Global. Recognising the creative potential that the studio offered for online and hybrid events, Collaborate decided to host their own event, recreating a previous in-person experience as a hybrid event. What follows is a guest blog Q&A with the Collaborate team about their experience.
The team at Collaborate were inspired by the impressive show of technology that the Anna Valley team used in the launch of the online event studio. We knew that the foundations were in place to create something special but to speak directly to our audience we had to add some creative flair to the impressive technology already in place.
Tell us a bit about Collaborate
Collaborate Global was set up to bring brand activations and events to life, through a high level of strategy and measurability. We work with the likes of Aston Martin and Goodwood to create memorable moments for brands, bridging the gap between a brand and their audience.
Had you ever done a hybrid or online event before lockdown?
We were lucky to have some experience working with the hybrid format. We produced Rita Ora’s latest music video and for the launch we launched it as a hybrid event. We invited some lucky VIP fans down to the set to watch it unfold.
We were captivated by the concept at this point. A handful of people, who really cared, saw the nuts and bolts of the video and got to feel it. The online viewers got to watch the video and enjoy the content. That’s why the hybrid format is so interesting from a brand’s perspective. It allows the brand to connect on an incredibly close level with a select amount of individuals (this could be 5 or 5,000) and then for those who are interested but are not as keen on being as physically engaged can view online and absorb the content.
How did you come up with the idea to repurpose your previous shows as hybrid events? What were you trying to achieve / demonstrate?
The hybrid event that we did in partnership with Anna Valley was based around an event we produced for Aston Martin recently.
The idea behind this was to act as a showcase for those brands who want to tell their story – we weren’t actually trying to sell an Aston Martin car, but we wanted to show other companies how we could in lockdown.
The audience for our event was direct brands and agencies. Their biggest obstacle at the moment is the ability to tell their story effectively. Not only do you have the sheer amount of noise around Covid but you also have limitations physically for events and activations.
We demonstrated that, with an engaged audience, you can still communicate effectively. You can still be in control of the story and you can still hold tension and release that at a desired time.
What are the lead times needed for content and production of a hybrid event?
In terms of lead times, from a production point of view, I would suggest that these types of events need to be taken with the same planning and the same mindset as a traditional, physical live event.
In terms of lead times for creating, it really depends on what you, as the client or stakeholder is wanting to produce. If we are starting from scratch it is like building a house. If you have the bricks (design) already done, the lead time is going to be a lot quicker than starting from the very beginning. We can of course build up from level 1 but it takes more time.
How does a hybrid event compare to a physical event in terms of costs?
To boil that question down as simply as possible, it really depends on how much content needs to be produced for the event. We are not working with physical bricks and mortar, but we do still have to build digitally with pixels, if you have this prepped already then that is time saved.
We are working on a 3 part package (small, medium and large) to give an overview, but it has to be bespoke really. The best bet is to get in touch with the team, allow them to take a brief and come back to you with a quote.
What was the most surprising / exciting element of this project?
The most exciting thing to work on was definitely the XR (Extended Reality) stage that Anna Valley had to offer. This is an incredibly unique piece of kit that puts the presenter in the world that they are talking about. It doesn’t rely on green screen and aftereffects. This allowed us to create a digital stage for our host and the Aston Martin speaker to speak from. It makes interesting viewing for the physical people in attendance, and it can be used with pre-shot clips to allow the seamless transition between sets for the online viewers.
It also allows for an incredibly dynamic use of set design, as we can turn up with multiple sets pre-designed and then change these out with the click of a button. Meaning, we could shoot upwards of 5 locations with different backdrops, but not actually leave 1 room.
Pandemic aside, do you feel as though this change in approach to events was coming regardless?
Our job is to help brands tell their stories in a really engaging way. This event is a way of proactively tackling issues that face us, today. We have already used this technology for events (pre-COVID.) I would say that change is always going to happen, technology is going to improve and people will want new things, we just moulded that change in technology with the change in lifestyle we have all been forced into. Once this is all over, the XR stage will be used in more dynamic ways I am sure.
I think there are also lots of benefits that this kind of technology can bring from a sustainability and an ecological point of view. Not having thousands of people all fly into 1 place for an event.
What’s the response to this campaign been like?
We were hoping to initially have 100 people in attendance (plus around 10 physically) and we were completely blown away to have around 400 attend for the live viewing on the day.
The beauty of the virtual / hybrid event is that it can live on past the physical day. We built a microsite for the event to sit on, alongside a Q&A video and short cut-outs of different elements (digital design, digital technology, XR stage and behind the scenes). This has allowed the event to take a life of its own, it was picked up by Mash Media, the biggest publisher in the events industry, as the go-to hybrid event of the year. It was also picked up by the guys over at Marketing Over Coffee to be the talking point on their ‘hybrid event’ episode.
To date, we have currently had over 800 people view the event and hundreds more view the microsite.
Watch the event highlights below or view the full event video and microsite here