Staying connected, by Oppo’s Lucy Aziz

Oppo’s hybrid launch event reflected the new normal of technology communications, writes Lucy Aziz, Senior PR & communication manager for Oppo in the GCC.

While Covid-19 regulations remain in place to protect the public and ensure that safety and hygiene protocols are being followed, the UAE government has been regularly rehauling precautions to allow for more freedom. Globally praised for its battle against the pandemic and thorough vaccination drive, the country’s wise leadership was able to achieve rapid recovery rates across many industries; technology was no exception.

At the start of 2021, as the rules were gradually being eased, the Oppo GCC team was busy planning an exciting new launch. Not only was it our first for the year, but the brand-new 5G Reno5 Series, comprising Reno5 Pro 5G, Reno5 5G and Reno5 Z smartphones’ market entry was key for our messaging and positioning. Our aim was to find the right way to introduce the range to the region.

Although they were a new concept, hybrid events had taken the world by storm. Hailed as best practice in times of pandemic and beyond, hybrid happenings combine an in-person event with virtual access to some or all components in a new way of conducting business and networking.

According to Forbes, virtual event technology had significantly improved in 2020, allowing for a more seamless experience for attendees and improving engagement. In 2021, marketing firm Markletic released survey results revealing that 34 per cent of event organisers were expected to invest more in hybrid events over the next few years; 57 per cent of respondents said they would rather attend an in-person version of a hybrid event than the virtual format.

As an innovative technology brand, we have a promise to keep – and it includes informative, ground-breaking events that bring our latest to stakeholders. Oppo’s brand DNA is all about unique user experiences. Fortune favours the bold, and since no smartphone brand out there is bolder than Oppo, we decided to think out of the box and give back to the media community and influencers – our Oppo Army as we like to call them – to whom we owe a huge part of our success.

Given the ongoing situation, we had to rethink hosting a full-on physical event and instead focus on delivering an experience that would allow us to get closer to our audience across the GCC, while taking advantage of the slightly more relaxed regulations in the UAE. The answer was a hybrid event, featuring a video stream for our attendees in the UAE to enjoy physically while the rest of the GCC joined virtually.

With the theme ‘Featuring You’, a nod to how the Reno5 Series puts users centre-stage, we created a video that saw five of the region’s leading Arab technology experts and YouTubers, and long-standing Oppo partners – Faisal Alsaif, Omardizer, Mr Q from Raqami TV, Android Basha and Ahmad Boarki (Slorks) – talk through some of their favourite features of the new device. They expressed their thoughts and opinions, giving customers hands-on reviews in real-time.

For our physical event, we invited UAE-based media, influencers, and VIPs to enjoy an engaging evening comprising a gala dinner and video viewing at W Dubai – The Palm, while following all government guidelines. An interactive programme entertained guests, including a photo booth area, Reno5 product display pop-up, and a special Oppo-branded area to mingle. At both events, a robust press office and media reviews programme were in place.

On the night, more than 105,000 people tuned in to watch the live stream, with more than 75 attendees joining the physical event. Since the launch, more than 35,000 people have viewed the video on Oppo’s YouTube channel. We received
great feedback from all attendees, especially those who could join in person and were excited to be a part of the revolutionary concept. 

While circumstances were once again different to what we were expecting, our goal remained the same: to bring the best of Oppo’s technology to the region. Guided by our theme, ‘Technology for Mankind, Kindness for the World’, we put our heart and soul into innovating for the benefit of all.