Stay Ahead: Insights from APCO

“Conventional” Lessons in Virtual Event Programming: Observations from the 2020 Democratic and Republican National Conventions

Steve Salvador, creative director based in APCO Worldwide's Washington, D.C., office, discusses useful lessons emerging from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions about what’s working, and what’s not, in virtual event programming:
Picture of President Trump and Joe Biden
"Brands planning virtual event programs, take note: the medium is still a big part of the message. Rather than overly rely on speakers or panel discussions to carry the full program, think of it as a broadcast event, with the ability to infuse a range of pre-recorded storytelling devices—documentary being just one—to surprise, enlighten, and move your audience.

In the virtual programming world, pre-recorded segments give the broadcast more vitality and momentum. They also provide event organizers with more creative flexibility and control in how content gets presented, removing some the inherent risks with live-streaming. And with that control, along with some advance planning and budgeting, you’re able to be much more ambitious as a persuasive storyteller. Even in the era of social distancing, there are ways to tell endearing, illuminating, and connective stories that transcend what’s expected."

Essential Bytes: Grassroots Advocacy with Phone2Action

Essential byte logo
While person-to-person interaction is at an all-time low as we struggle to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases, grassroots advocacy and social media engagement is at an all-time high. Phone2Action’s Stephanie Stouffer, an APCO alumna, joins our hosts on the latest episode of Essential Bytes to discuss the unique opportunities presented by the unified collectives emerging online in the wake of COVID-19 and renewed calls for social justice. Watch this episode of Essential Bytes here.

Some Positive News

  • Urban farming boom: Lockdown has led to a boom in vegetable gardening across Asia simultaneously improving people’s moods and diets, South China Morning Post
  • Digital dance-off: Unable to perform on stage due to lockdown restrictions, dancers in Argentina and around the world are dancing in an online competition, Reuters
  • Opportunity for the disabled: Working from home enabled people with disabilities to contribute more to their workplaces while avoiding difficult commutes, BBC  

More Tips from Around the Water Cooler


"As societies open up, many are starting to see a resurgence of transmission. Much of this resurgence is occurring in clusters of cases related to gatherings of people, including at stadiums, nightclubs, places of worship and crowds. These types of gatherings can be amplifying events that can be the spark that creates a much larger fire. Every country and community must make its own decisions about how to host these events safely, based on their own level of risk. We humans are social beings. It’s natural and normal that we want to come together for all sorts of reasons. There are many ways we can be physically apart but remain socially connected."

        - Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
The APCO team is working with clients globally to manage this crisis, and we stand ready to support your needs. For more resources from APCO, including our latest research, information on how we can help or to contact us, visit