Are brands ready to sponsor virtual events?

Experts say that event organisers need to think like TV producers to monetise virtual events.


In the wake of the current pandemic, the events and experiential industry is beset with challenging times. The ‘touch and feel factor’, which experiential evangelists used to talk about, has become a BIG NO for brands now.

While event and experiential agencies are trying the virtual route to stay relevant, however, it cannot be called a reliable business model till the sponsors also endorse it. 

So the moot point is: Will the brands look at virtual events as an effective sponsorship opportunity? We asked some brand experts about it and here is what they had to say:

Rasheed Sait, VP and MD, George P Johnson

Yes brands are looking to keep the brand building and marketing engine alive through virtual events - both proprietary and sponsorship. With physical events taking a backseat, virtual events are the current normal. An association with a virtual event is made hoping to drive similar results as a sponsorship at a physical event. But we have to wait to see what ROI this will achieve for brands. With every brand rushing to stay relevant, there may be a dilution of branding at virtual events with too many sponsorships being sold.

Atul Todi, Co-Founder,

As the world goes virtual, events have no option to but to test the waters. But, without the sponsors, virtual move is not possible. Sponsors want visibility in-front of a premium audience, to build their brand and get enterprise deals. 

Besides the fact that physical is not possible for next few months, virtual events have a few tricks available to impress the sponsors. From a sponsor ticker below the live streaming’s, to one-2-one sessions with the sponsors and even virtual stage time. 

The trick is in the way the data is presented. Instead of footfall at physical events as the yardstick, organisers need to think like TV producers to monetise virtual events.

Roma Balwani, Director, Communications and Brand, Vedanta Group

The events Industry is looking at innovative ways to create a new business model.

While the economy will limp back at some point in time. Business as usual will take a long time and to accept the virtual events as a sponsorship opportunity is in for a long haul. However with the new normal of physical distancing virtual events may become a reality in some form  or the other in future. And digital sponsorship will take it’s new avatar.

Neale Murray, Co - Founder & Group COO, Fountainhead

I would say if the events can be customized to reach specifically the audience or the sponsors or brands want to talk to, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to put money behind it. 

Harish Bijoor, Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Yes the sponsors are already giving their bet to the events. The world is going through a lot due to covid-19, the industries are already approaching for virtual events. As I am also a speaker I do keynote speaking, there are people who are coming one after another and saying that we would like you to do a webinar and people are ready to pay for it. Of course the webinar rates differ from physical rates. This simply means that the world of business is ready to merge into it. Events that are being virtual are actually giving experiences to the world.

Sharad Mathur, Managing Director, EMG Entertainment 

It's a very tricky situation for all, whether digital or experiential marketing industry. So a right collaborative solution will give advantage to both. While we don’t see live events during lockdown, we have observed so many webinars, online sessions and online entertainment coming up. 

Definitely sponsors during lockdown are looking at innovative ways to catch the eyeballs and the live event industry is tuning their events into digital. 

Sponsors ask for ROI and number of attendees and attention on their brands. A virtual event provides them with all. Virtual events are the future, recent example of successful sponsor partnership with Virtual event was Mansi Scott live on weekend being sponsored by none other Armani Exchange. During quarantine and Post quarantine we will give birth to a new generation of entrepreneurs, master of virtual events. It's time that the world is ready to learn new things and covid-19 may work as a catalyst.

(With inputs from Namah Chawla, Neha Jogimohanty and Vandana Bansal)

Tags assigned to this article:
Virtual events sponsorship COVID-19 live industry

Around The World

Our Publications