5 Tips and Tricks for Planning your Next Virtual Awards or Year-End Recognition Event

December 4, 2020
Madeleine Bart

See How Two Associations Successfully Incorporated Virtual Elements Into Their 2020 Virtual Award Programs

 

As we get close to the end of another year – and one certainly filled with unique challenges – celebrating your team’s achievements or your memberships’ successes are more important now than ever! When it comes to recognition and awards in a virtual world, there are still many ways to create memorable experiences to remind people that they’re valued.

Celebrating Top Canadian Marketers and Event Professionals

 

This past November, the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) and the Professional Convention Management Association’s Canada East Chapter (PCMA CEC) planned and successfully hosted their first virtual awards, events that historically took place in the live event environment. The CMA Awards brought together over 1,500 virtual attendees to present over 100 awards in an hour and a half program to recognize the marketing industry’s top marketers and compelling campaigns. While the PCMA Canada East Chapter hosted an hour-long program for over 200 attendees and presented 5 awards that recognized outstanding contributions by individual members in the meetings and business events industry.

Inspired by these events, here are 5 tips and tricks for planning your virtual awards or year-end recognition events. Examples from both the Canadian Marketing Awards and PCMA Canada East Chapter Awards follow each tip.

 

1. Messaging Matters

 

Whether you’re recognizing 1, 10, or 100 individuals, it’s important to thoughtfully plan and deliver your messaging. Once your plans for content and delivery are confirmed, work with an emcee, whether internal staff or an outside professional, to ensure the message is delivered on time and with impact.

Here’s how they did it:

Both the Canadian Marketing Association and PCMA Canada East Chapter’s Awards thoughtfully crafted their messaging and developed a strong script. They both hired professional emcees to host their programs to elevate the importance of their events. This also enabled them to ensure their key messages were carried out, and the right folks were recognized in the right moments. 

 

2. Give your winners their Oscars Moment

 

Inviting your award winners to acknowledge what they’ve just received by saying a few words, whether live or pre-recorded, is a great way to give additional recognition to these individuals. It’s also an excellent opportunity for your guests to connect more with the winners on a personal level, enhancing the emotional connection your attendees will feel at your event.

Here’s how they did it:

The Canadian Marketing Association had an emcee entertainingly announce a silver, bronze, and gold winner in each category at their event. All winning campaigns were notified in advance and encouraged to submit an acceptance video that would be played for all, to see if they were the gold winner.

The PCMA Canada East Chapter’s Awards announced all nominees before revealing the three finalists. At the time to announce the winner, an unsung industry hero was sent an envelope in advance that they opened live on the stream in front of the 3 finalists to reveal the winner! When the winner was announced, the stream focused in on them to say a few words and bask in their glory. 

 

3. Bring on the cheers!

 

Providing opportunities for attendees or employees to congratulate award winners and finalists in real-time is a great way to build engagement. Doing so helps foster a sense of community for those in

attendance and provides even more emphasis on recognition for those individuals being celebrated at your virtual awards or year-end recognition event. For instance, many platforms allow for chat integrations so attendees can send “congratulatory” messages in real-time.

Here’s how they did it:

Both the Canadian Marketing Association and the PCMA Canada East Chapter’s Awards leveraged chat platforms that allowed attendees to cheer on their peers and reply to one another live throughout the event. 

 

4. Encourage Watch Parties

 

Orchestrating live watch parties is another way to strengthen community at your virtual awards show or recognition event. This can be done outside of your virtual event platform and streamed in for a special appearance or shout-out. Alternatively, if you’re using a form of networking lounge or breakout rooms within our platform. In that case, Chime’s stream overlay function allows attendees gathered in designated rooms to watch the stream together.

Here’s how they did it:

The Canadian Marketing Awards brought live hits from winning teams gathered in the same zoom room to share their excitement and make a few short remarks in response to their award. 

The PCMA Canada East Chapter’s Awards invited attendees to gather in a video networking lounge integrated in Chime so that attendees could watch the event together as if they were sitting at the live event. 

 

5. Add celebratory flair with live or pre-recorded entertainment

 

Breaking up your virtual awards event with live or pre-recorded entertainment is a great way to add some fun to your event. Whether you plan for live entertainment or a pre-recorded segment, providing entertainment is a great way to engage guests and enhance the mood! Depending on your entertainment, you may also consider taking advantage of a Presentation Stage™ to ensure flawless production.

Here’s how they did it:

The Canadian Marketing Awards featured musical entertainment with a live DJ performing from a Presentation Stage™. They also had a magician and Cocktail Enthusiast as pre-recorded entertainment.

The PCMA Canada East Chapter encouraged their sponsors to come up with creative entertaining segments between awards.

 

More on Virtual and Hybrid Awards Shows and Celebrations

 

So, whether you’re looking to recognize stellar performance from team members, or celebrate specific individuals within your industry, there are still many creative ways to achieve this with a virtual or hybrid event. For more tips on event strategy, design or planning impactful virtual or hybrid events, click here. Have questions specific to virtual awards or recognition events? Fill out the form below.

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Madeleine Bart