Taking Lessons from Celebrities About New Ways to Engage with Virtual or In-person Event Attendees


Mark RobertsCMO, TPx  

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’d probably say I’m the last person they’d expect to look to a celebrity for inspiration. But the business world can learn a thing or two from this group when it comes to increasing our engagement with audiences in the new-look virtual world. 

Take online and virtual events, for example, something I do know a bit about. 

Almost everyone is using them or has tried one, so the novelty has faded. Plus, we’ve all attended one by this point and know some are better than others. 

To keep audiences engaged, organizers are looking for new ways to make the mundane exciting. Engaging with virtual audiences is powerful and possible for companies of any size, but it requires some advanced planning, a captivating story, and someone to properly tell it. 

In-person events are likely to return in the months ahead, albeit slowly, but employing virtual or hybrid events alongside traditional in-person events offers considerable upside. 

It’s all about personality 

Companies will often turn to celebrities to draw people to their particular show or conference. However, one doesn’t need to have blockbuster films on their resume to be considered a “celebrity.” 

Entrepreneurs and noteworthy industry figures can draw attendees. Consider talent sources waiting for their moment in the spotlight – a team member, a partner or a customer. 

Finding the right talent requires finding someone who aligns with the company’s image to deliver the message. 

Inspiration for the moment 

While all want to know when the world will return to “normal,” we’ll likely move into a “Next Normal” and take with us the lessons we learned during the pandemic and apply them to the challenges ahead. 

Good movies have a story arc; there may be moments of drama before the happy ending. People want to know the drama the world now faces will result in a satisfactory conclusion. 

Months into the pandemic, people need some motivation and inspiration, and they want to know the circumstances will improve. Even amid COVID and a trying year, companies pulled off exciting initiatives and found success. 

What lessons can audiences learn? Compelling stories provide attendees with the inspiration they need to try new things within their companies. 

More than “one and done” 

Audiences interact with companies differently because of the pandemic, and the opportunity is to build a relationship that remains ongoing as the world transitions into the “Next Normal.” People have grown much more comfortable joining online meetings and are expecting to do so regularly for some time to come. 

If you look at an in-person event that happens annually, attendees may not expect to hear from the organizers until the next event is approaching. But that is a missed opportunity.  

Consider how celebrities interact with fans on their social media channels. Many companies use social media to broadcast their message to as large an audience as possible, but if they’re not using the platform outside of events to grow relationships with their followers, they should amend their approach and deliver inspirational content that keeps audiences returning. 

A conference should never be “one and done.” It should be the first step into a much larger world. Build and execute a plan or ongoing outreach and marketing and identify everything you need to run it.

About the Author: Mark Roberts serves as TPx’s CMO responsible for all marketing operations worldwide, driving growth opportunities and building brand recognition for the company within the communications market.