In the latest episode of The Fast Traack, we spoke with Maria Maddox, Head of PR for the premium division of AmorePacific. Maria was faced with a dilemma at the beginning of quarantine. One of the brands she represents, Laneige, was about to release one of their most anticipated products of the year; a glowy makeup serum with packaging that looks like it was made for Insta. Typically, a party would be in order. Most likely in a beautiful NYC space, fit with incredible flower displays and a guest list of top influencers. The only problem? Parties, at least for the foreseeable future, were cancelled.
Like many brands, they also questioned whether or not to move forward with promotions during COVID-19. Quickly they realized that people were still talking about beauty products.
The team began to dream up alternative product launches and landed on hosting a virtual event–a first for the company. Less than a month later, the AmorePacific team was thrilled to report their virtual launch was a huge success. And they pulled it off for $0.
Since IRL events are, for now, a relic of the past, we interviewed Maria about the virtual launch event planning process, how the event worked and what she would change next time. Take a listen to our newest podcast episode. If you’re short on time, here are Maria’s top tips for hosting a virtual launch event.
Human Connection: Influencers are so used to attending dozens of events per week, and all of a sudden that stopped. So much of the life they knew temporarily ended. Some are mothers desperate to talk to an adult, others live alone and don’t have traditional coworkers to engage with regularly. As humans living in these unpredictable times, many of us are simply eager to talk about a beauty product instead of impending doom.
Lack of Geographical Limitations: In the past, Laneige had only held events in NYC and LA, but they knew they had fans elsewhere. Because this event was online, they were able to invite friends in Miami, Chicago, Texas, Arizona and Seattle. Many of these influencers had never attended their events before, but this event solidified their connection to the brand.
No Venue, No Problem: Venues are expensive and often difficult to work with. Not to mention, they come with capacity limits. In the past, Lanaige only invited influencers with large followings, however, for this event, they were able to invite fans with followings of all sizes. The team was pleasantly shocked when 90 people RSVPd! This turnout may be cause for a panic attack if you were planning an intimate dinner in NYC, but it’s reason for celebration virtually.
Virtual Backgrounds: One of the most exciting parts of attending a press event is the photo opportunities, and the Laneige team wanted to make sure that was still the case. They created three virtual backgrounds that attendees could use on their Zoom. The backgrounds also created a holistic, on brand vibe to the event.
Don’t Forget Refreshments: Some companies doing virtual events have been giving attendees gift cards to delivery services, but Laneige wanted to take a step forward to create uniformity. They created three mocktails (that could easily be turned into cocktails) and snacks inspired by the product. Each mocktail was labeled based on difficulty and most things could be made with common pantry items.
Bring in Interesting Speakers: Access to experts is always one of the best parts of IRL events, so that had to be an element of this particular party. Laneige had a member of their teamshow how the glow serum can be incorporated into a skincare or makeup routine. As someone who now has this product (Maria’s enthusiasm influenced me) I wish I had been at this event to see this for myself!
Know Your Limitations: Due to supply chain issues resulting from COVID-19, the team wasn’t able to get everyone the product before the event. If you’re planning a virtual event and you want to make sure everyone gets the product in time for it, Maria suggests planning much further ahead than you think. There’s also the chance you’ll have to go through ecommerce, as Scarlette Tidy mentioned on an earlier episode of The Fast Traack. If it doesn’t work out, no biggie, just get everyone’s address so you can send samples afterwards.
Our main takeaways? Don’t let your preconceived notions hold you back and give yourself room to experiment. You have an opportunity to share your products with people all over the world. You can build connections with fans in harder to reach cities, invite more of those coveted mid-tier influencers and expose more fans to your experts and founders. Given this new found “normalcy” with online events, what can your brand do?
We can’t wait to see what you do next. Watch the entire episode below!