Pivoting To Virtual Events: Insights from Natasha Miller | Allseated

A celebrated jazz artist who released seven records on her label who also trained as a classical violinist for the role of concertmaster in various orchestras, Natasha Miller, Founder and Chief Experience Officer of the San Francisco-based Entire Productions, admits she always envisioned her career would be as a performance artist. “It never occurred to me that I would own what is now today a profitable multi-million dollar company. It wasn’t in my destiny.”

Since founding the company in 2000, Entire Productions has become the go-to experience design and entertainment booking company in San Francisco, expanding to Los Angeles and London. Clients including Apple, Google, Gap, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Salesforce, and others rely on Natasha and her team to produce high-end social and corporate special events. The company has been on the Inc 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America for the last three years and designated by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top 360 companies in the country. Adding to the accolades, in 2020, Natasha was named to the BizBash 500.

But like everyone else, Natasha was gearing up for a big year in 2020. When COVID started making headlines last March and she made the difficult decision to cancel Entire Production’s large annual marketing event due to COVID, Natasha set about pivoting her event production company into something entirely new.

She recently shared her insights and explained how leaning into the fight or flight mode kept her business afloat over the last twelve months.

 

Recognizing the Need for Entertainment

“Within a few weeks of the shutdown last March, I knew that sitting in front of a Zoom or GoToWebinar, or any of the 500 different virtual formats was going to be a challenge to keep attendees motivated, energized, and engaged,” said Natasha. “I quickly came up with the solution of creating engaging, faster-paced, and short segmented events that could deliver the content that our clients needed, but sandwiched with entertainment, and fun and interactivity — and that’s when our virtual variety show was born.”

Each month Natasha and her team host these live shows to entertain and educate clients while showcasing what creative possibilities are available within a virtual event. Each show is comprised of short, modular segments featuring different artists – like musicians, magician mentalists, aerial acts – as well as interviews, games, and giveaways. Most importantly, guests can see and interact with each other creating a sense of community and excitement. “For us, the show has become an experiential way of showing our clients what they could have for their own events in a high-impact, non-selling format.”

Natasha explained that there was quite a learning curve for her team regarding the technology needed to produce these shows. But it’s been worth it. “Our team has acquired a whole new set of skills, which has led to a whole new division that will take us into the future since everyone will be planning hybrid event components for the foreseeable future.”


Leaning into Fight or Flight

“I’ve been told that I thrive on obstacles – if I’m told it can’t be done, I’ll try harder,” said Natasha. “For me, being in a challenging state is where I’m my absolute best. So after my fight and flight adrenaline dissipated, I went into full throttle ideation mode where creativity and energy were at their peak.”

Natasha continued, “We had to do virtual events, or we wouldn’t have had a business – that was our survival mode. But there were also a few other business ideas that I knew our clients could benefit from.”

Besides the virtual events division, Entire Productions also launched a premium branded promo item division during the pandemic, EntireProductionsMarketing.com. “We received our license on May 1, and within the first one and a half months, we had achieved $120,000 in business, which allowed us to keep and redeploy one of our full-time employees into a new role.”

Natasha also explains that despite the early successes, continuing the pace and continually adapting over the last year has been exhausting. “We ended the year with almost 200 events that we produced or participated in, which was down sharply from the 700 plus events we’ve averaged in each of the previous two years.”

Using Technology to Fight “Zoom Gloom”

Natasha shared that like many, she expected the original shut down to last six to eight weeks, maybe three months at the outset. “But as the severity of COVID came into focus, it became clear that it would be much longer, and we needed a way to create events that were ‘wow’ instead of ‘Zoom gloom.'”

“When we do a virtual event at Entire Productions, our goal is to have people say, ‘I can’t believe that was so amazing or an event like this could be so cool,'” shared Natasha. “Technology plays a significant role in creating that feeling.”

Natasha explained that’s why she was excited to see the response to the virtual variety events because people were coming together and connecting. Using technology in innovative ways to make those connections also drove her to be a part of Allseated’s recent Forward Together launch event for the virtual event platform, exVo. “It was great to have people come into our virtual venue, which was the St. Regis in Los Angeles, and talk to each other – video to video, voice to voice  – and be able to walk around in a highly stylized and realistic virtual event environment.”

 

Beyond the exVo virtual event platform launch, Natasha explained how over the last year clients have embraced low-tech to high-tech and high-touch virtual events that have resulted in “wow” experiences for her clients. See and hear more about these by watching the full on-demand interview.

INTRODUCING THE FUTURE OF EVENTS

exVo is a virtual event platform that allows you to create immersive, fully branded experiences with features that keep your audience completely engaged. exVo brings the live event experience to virtual events.

Allseated’s virtual event platform, exVo, delivers a “real” virtual experience in a virtual venue twin.

  • Create memorable experiences
  • Provide networking opportunities
  • Initiate business opportunities and leads
  • Provide community learning and valuable content

exVo provides unparalleled engagement across use cases:

  • Corporate parties
  • Sales kick offs
  • Tradeshows
  • Alumni events
  • Holiday Parties
  • Company Meetings

exVo provides a one-click virtual extension to any physical event. Venues can add a revenue stream by offering clients the option of having a virtual extension of a physical event or a virtual event in a virtual venue twin.

exVo is built on the same platform of Allseated. It’s very different from any other virtual events platform in the way that it immerses attendees in real-life 3D venue environment. Its fun, its cool and most importantly not zoom-like.

Because we use a digital twin of the venue and the layout, exVo is a fantastic way for venues to offer a virtual extension to a physical event. It’s a major differentiator to offer clients since they don’t know the mix between physical/virtual and it provides a new revenue stream for venues without needing to being involved in the virtual production side of the event.

Attendees love virtual events in exVo. The feedback can be summed as this:  Bringing the experience, engagement, and networking back to virtual!

The product is versatile and is used for conferences, holiday parties, sales kick-offs, product launches, marketing/branding events, investor meetings, and more. It includes spatial video networking, keynote and breakout sessions, booths (including content), branding, video streaming, and live entertainment and much more all in 3D environment in a browser.

To learn more about Allseated’s immersive exVo platform tailor-made for both in-person and virtual attendance, schedule a one-on-one tour.

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