How virtual events can help businesses

In the UK businesses are facing the challenge of moving their offerings online and digitally-adapting so that they can continue to remain front of mind for both media and consumers.

For the five years that we’ve been working with SharkNinja across their two consumer brands Shark and Ninja, we have taken great pride in dreaming up creative events to introduce both media and consumers to new products and to announce new company initiatives. In the past our events have spanned a range of different formats and creative themes including taking a Ninja branded smoothie cart to the streets of London, inviting journalists to the ‘Ninja Dates’ restaurant and building a Shark ‘model home’.

But when lockdown struck and we were tasked with developing a launch strategy for the new Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer, we found ourselves in a unique position where we were unable to conjure up the conventional, in-person event – we had to digitally adapt.

Luckily, we knew how we could leverage the situation to our client’s advantage, and we developed a virtual cook-a-long with Ninja ambassador Nadia Sawalha to introduce media to the new product from the comfort of their own home through an engaging, entertaining and interactive digital event!

Below we have shared our advice on hosting an impactful digital event:

Tip 1: Work out how best to adapt your strategy

The key is to be fluid with your strategy. Initially, we had planned to launch the Health Grill through an in-person, interactive cooking event hosted by Loose Women panelist and Ninja-lover, Nadia Sawalha. When lockdown scuppered this idea, we switched tactics and invited journalists to join Nadia in a virtual cook-along over Zoom.

One of the main benefits of an interactive event, is the opportunity to physically put a product in the hands of media, enabling them to engage with and understand it quickly – after all, journalists are busy people!

To make sure that Ninja didn’t miss out on this element and to build excitement for the event, ahead of the cook-along, we sent attendees the new Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill to try at home, along with a Ninja-branded hamper containing the recipe card and ingredients for the cook-along, and other goodies such as a custom Ninja apron, tea towel and chopping board.

Tip 2: Virtual events must run smoothly – and pack a punch!

 There’s the potential for a lot to go wrong online – in the case of a virtual event, attendees might forget to log on, the speaker’s microphone might play up or the internet connection could cut out. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, it’s essential that you plan for every eventuality.

In the weeks and days leading up to the event, we regularly engaged with the journalists to check that they had received the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill and hamper, and that they were still able to attend. Not only did this help to drum up anticipation, but it gave us time to iron out any hiccups – such as a delay in the new product arriving with recipients – and set us up for a smooth run on the day.

Despite on-screen presenting being Nadia’s ‘bread and butter’, hosting a virtual cook-along for an intimate group was a new experience. To make sure that Nadia felt comfortable demonstrating the cooking steps for the product and its key USPs, we arranged several briefings in advance. Doing so enabled us to answer any questions Nadia had, and allowed us to ensure that Ninja’s key messages would be communicated to the media.

Knowing how tricky it can sometimes be to get to grips with a new cooking appliance, we also set up a ‘WhatsApp helpline’ for the journalists, so that they could easily contact us in case they had a question or needed help during the event. This not only removed the risk of anyone interrupting the cooking demonstration, but made sure that media had a seamless, positive experience of using the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill for the first time.

Tip 3: Plan the event with results in mind 

The steps that you take to make sure your event runs smoothly, will act as insurance for the results that you reap afterwards. Simply put, if journalists have an enjoyable time, they will be more likely to talk about the brand in a positive light.

However, the steps you take after the event has finished are just as – if not more – important than the ones you put in place at the beginning. For example, to make sure that journalists continued to have a hassle-free experience, we emailed everyone a digital press pack immediately after the event ended.

As a result, the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill has seen some great reviews, features and pieces of product placement across the likes of Cosmopolitan, Daily Star, GQ and Woman & Home – reaching hundreds of thousands of potential customers in the process.

Tip 4: Consider how to take the event even further

If an event is successful, why would you stop there? That‘s the thought that was running through our minds following the success of the virtual cook-along. We knew that the concept would be as well received with consumers as it was with media – so we ran with it.

Having secured Nadia Sawalha’s support for a second time, we worked with her to stream a live cooking demonstration on Ninja’s Facebook channel to engage with their online community. Using the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill to demonstrate cooking burgers, the live stream was a huge success, with hundreds of consumers tuning in to watch – resulting in a spike in visitor traffic to Ninja’s website.

By following the above steps, we’ve been able to make sure that the Ninja stands out from the crowd, opening up countless opportunities for the brand to be seen by media and consumers in the process.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you to run a successful virtual event, get in-touch with our award-winning Consumer and Lifestyle team today.

Get in touch with the team