Harnessing the Power of the Crowd

May 17, 2017 Jeff Youngs

Harnessing the Power of the Crowd

What would you do with the ability to invite as many people as you want to your event and still be able to accommodate them, regardless of your facility size or capacity?

With the power of live streaming, this fantasy can become reality. According to AdWeek, American adults spent more than an hour and a half streaming video on their digital devices each day in the first quarter of 2016. From concerts to fashion shows to sporting events to even B2B events, people are choosing to tune in from the comfort of their couches rather than drive across state lines.

Live streaming helps accommodate prospects who are interested in your brand, message or offering but who can’t get there in person for one reason or another. And no matter why a viewer opts to watch, live streaming your event can help you build brand awareness; introduce your event, concept or message to a wider audience; and drive better ROI.

However, in the digital age, marketers won’t always have the upper hand when it comes to information output. Live stream social-sharing platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat and even Snapchat have set a new precedent — one in which event attendees transform into event participants.

The Rise of ‘Crowd Streaming’

The future of user-generated content is here, and brands that don’t jump on board will quickly get left behind. While this may seem scary to some, giving your participants more control can provide enormous benefits at little to no cost.

First and foremost, it will expand the potential reach of your event. For example, Snapchat users streamed events such as a preview of the Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2016 clothing line, and Facebook members watched GE’s “Drone Week” launch via Facebook Live. They each attracted huge audiences in the process.

Part of the reason this strategy has been so successful is that crowd streaming makes viewers feel as if they’re getting “insider footage” on the event itself. What’s more, when content comes from their peers, consumers are more likely to trust it over content a brand creates. So not only does crowd streaming expand your reach, but it also enhances your perceived authenticity.

We saw this play out at last year’s New York Fashion Week, a traditionally exclusive affair. While only about 100,000 people actually attended the shows in September 2016, another 7.5 million watched the live-streamed videos. The footage mainly focused on the “making of a runway show” and gave viewers a taste of the NYFW chaos.

“Streaming has become an important part of how consumers understand brands,” says Matt Edelman, IMG’s head of digital operations and marketing solutions. “It gives designers remarkable reach to audiences and helps build trust. It also generates a unique way to excite them beyond in-person experiences.”

This kind of access makes viewers feel like they’re part of the action — which is exactly what an event participant craves.

The authenticity of crowd streaming, coupled with the way it so neatly segues into the ever-growing demand for fresh content, makes it a win-win strategy to consider for any event you have coming up. Want to know how to create an epic event that harnesses the power of live streaming? Check out our newest webinar: How to Develop and EPIC Event.


About the Author

Jeff Youngs

Jeff Youngs is Vice President of Production and Operations for GES’ Corporate Events team. Youngs brings more than 30 years’ experience producing live corporate events including general sessions, sales meetings, product launches, and training seminars. A storyteller at heart, Jeff blends his extensive leadership in effective production process with his focus on delivering strong brand messages in an interactive and engaging environment.

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