• How to hold an online awards ceremony. Key points and best practices for planning and stage design

How to hold an online awards ceremony. Key points and best practices for planning and stage design


Hello! This is Yano from GP.

One of the most indispensable internal events held by companies is the “Award Ceremony”. In the past, most of them were held live, but nowadays, online award ceremonies are becoming the mainstream due to the influence of the Covid crisis.

As the name suggests, an online awards ceremony is an awards ceremony held online. Instead of gathering in real life, participants use smartphones and computers and connect through the Internet.

Please also see our other article on “Awards ceremony, how to organize it and the key to success” for basics on Awards Ceremonies.

Backstory of Online Awards Ceremonies

In 2020, after the new coronavirus outbreak, online award ceremonies grew its’ popularity rapidly. Among the various corporate events, each company sought and pursued a better way to hold online awards ceremonies.

This is because awards ceremonies are one of the ‘must-hold’ events among the many in-house events.

For companies that hold awards ceremonies, they are an important opportunity to motivate the people who work there and nurture the spirit of company loyalty. Many people make it their goal to achieve good results and receive awards, some may be inspired by seeing their colleague receiving awards, and others may be proud to have supported those who have received awards.

Cancelation of an award ceremony will deprive employees of such emotional support. Also, if there is no award ceremony for employees who have worked hard and performed well enough to receive an award, there will be a sense of unfairness and dissatisfaction.

That is why companies hold award ceremonies under any circumstances. And if they do, they want a more motivating, emotional, and memorable awards ceremony.

As a result, online award ceremonies have quickly become popular.

Types of Online Award Ceremonies

So, what types of “online award ceremonies” are currently available?

There are two types of streaming methods: “real-time ” and “on-demand”.

Real-Time (hybrid format)

The “live stream format (hybrid format)” refers to a format in which all participants gather on the Internet at a specific time.

While there is a style in which a pre-made video is broadcast at a specific time, the “hybrid style,” which is currently the mainstream, combines a live broadcast with online performances.

Viewers can send congratulatory comments while watching the live broadcast, take quizzes in the entertainment corner, and make various other contributions only possible in real time events.

In the case of real-time broadcasting, although the physical location may be different, “everyone can gather at the same event at the same time,” which is ideal for creating excitement and a sense of unity.

On-Demand Streaming

On-demand format refers to a format in which videos are created in advance and made available for viewing for a fixed period of time.

Since this format allows the video to be created in advance, it is possible to use emotional backgrounds and effects that make full use of 3DCG. The great advantage of this format is that it allows for a very wide range of production possibilities, making the awards ceremony, the occasion of excitement, more impactful through the 3DCG production. In addition, because participants can view the video at their preferred time, it is easy to accommodate situations where work schedules vary or where there is a large time difference with overseas offices.

Advantages of Online Awards Ceremony

The advantage of online award ceremonies in the Covid situation has been “infection control,” but of course, that is not the only advantage. As technology has evolved, and as more and more online award ceremonies have been held and refined, the benefits of online award ceremonies beyond infection control have come to the forefront of attention. Here are some of those benefits.

Visible reaction of participants

It was a long time ago when participants’ reactions were more directly visible at live events. Now, with the development of various tools, it is possible to react online and in real time. Chat tools allow you to receive congratulatory comments from hundreds or thousands of people, and videoconferencing tools allow you to “see the participants’ faces on the screen and receive congratulatory messages while their faces shown.

Viewers can also actively participate in the event

The star of an awards ceremony is, of course, the person being honored. However, in the case of online award ceremonies, viewers can also be actively involved in the event.

The advantage of an online awards ceremony is that it can reflect the reactions of each and every viewer. Viewers can make congratulatory comments at the time of awarding certificates, ask questions to the winners, and participate in quizzes with the winners in the game section. Viewers can easily feel that they are participating in the event, which can lead to increased motivation. 

How to hold an online awards ceremony

What exactly is the process of planning an online awards ceremony?

As the Online Awards Ceremony is held online, as the name suggests, the planning design and preparations should be similar to those for “Online Events Planning”.

Specifically, the following planning flow will make the event go smoothly.

1: Determine objectives, analysis of participants, and team structure

When we think of “planning,” we tend to think first of the concept and program content, but the first thing we should do is to establish the outline of the project, such as the purpose, scale, and team structure. If this part is not finalized, the number of things you want to do will grow inexhaustibly, and you may be forced to change difficult-to-change items such as the venue and schedule, which can lead to confusion. In a sense, this is the most important part.


The purpose of an awards ceremony is to give awards, but that is only a superficial reason. The most important aspect is what do we want the participants and viewers to feel and how do we want them to improve through the awards ceremony? It is important to determine what you are looking for beyond and after the awards ceremony. To improve the overall skills of the award winners by sharing their sales knowledge, to provide an opportunity for various departments to communicate with each other, or to motivate people by celebrating on a large scale. This is all essential.

Participant Analysis

The next important step is to analyze the participants. The analysis here refers mainly to the “number of participants” and “how they will participate”. Online award ceremonies are characterized by a greater variety of participants than real award ceremonies.

For example, some online award ceremonies are held in a studio and only the winners participate, while other awards may set up a studio in a hotel and invite more participants not just the winners. It is also important to consider what those who do not go to the venue will use to participate in the event. Whether they are viewing the awards on a computer, a smartphone, or from wherever they are during the event, a successful online awards ceremony is also about “ease access and participation”.

Team Structure

It is also important to decide on a project team. An award ceremony is basically a big event that the entire company works on. It is necessary to coordinate the schedules of each branch and department, and to ensure that the award winners are honored for their hard work. The award ceremony is an event that affects the entire company, so it’s essential to build a project team. 

2: Create a concrete plan

Once you have a clear idea of the venue and number of participants, it is time to start planning. Here, it is essential to create a plan that takes into account the features of the Online Awards Ceremony.

Concept/Program Design

We decide on a concept to achieve the objective, and design the tone and manner, direction, program, and design based on this concept. The absolute requirement for an online awards ceremony is to “motivate participants” through praising those who performed well. It is important to design with emphasis on how to make participants feel motivated and encourage them to do even better in the future.

Venue Selection/Distribution Environment

Based on the number of on-site and online participants (viewers) confirmed at the very beginning, we will decide on the venue along with the concept. In the case of an online awards ceremony, there are many more possible methods than in real life, such as using a green backdrop in a filming studio, setting up a set in a hotel, or crashing at the office of the award winners. There is also a range of choices in what the online participants (viewers) will use to watch the event. It is important to decide based on the characteristics of each and how it fits with the event.

Content Creation

Once the concept and venue are finalized, it is time to create the content. Since this is an online awards ceremony, the main focus is, of course, the awards. We will focus on how to make this part of the event more exciting. It is also essential to include speeches by the winners (or seminar content if you want to share their skills, etc.) and to thank those who supported the winners.

In addition, it is important not to bore the viewers at the online awards ceremony. It is important to create a satisfying experience for the viewers by actively including viewer-participation type content.

Key Success Points for Online Awards Ceremony

There is one thing that must not be forgotten when it comes to the online awards ceremony. 

That is, online award ceremonies are not just a live broadcast. To make an online awards ceremony successful, it is essential to have “tricks and games” that only an online awards ceremony can provide.

Let us share with you some keys to success of online award ceremonies!

Chat function for real-time congratulatory comments

The chat function (a function that allows users to freely write text in the comments section while watching the event) is often used in online events. It creates a sense of togetherness in a different way from the excitement of an offline venue, and many people very often say that they were able to enjoy the event together by applauding and celebrating in the comments section.

Another attraction of this event is that it is based on audience-participation, so the viewers can enjoy the award ceremony without losing focus or interest.

Versatile camera work like the Academy Show

Versatile camerawork is important in staging a production to highlight the award winners.

Unlike a real event, viewers are in the same environment as if they were watching TV, so you can capture a variety of facial expressions by making full use of camera work. Camera work can also increase the tempo of the event to spark viewer interest and increase the spotlight on the award winners.

Emotional surprises made possible by online

Surprises are a great way to create an emotional atmosphere in an awards ceremony!

While offline awards ceremonies have traditionally required guests to come to the venue to be surprised, online awards ceremonies allow guests to connect to the event with a PC or smart phone.

Even if it is difficult for family members or guests to attend a real event, they can still participate online as a secret guest. Surprises connected in real time will impress not only the award winners but also the viewers.

Actual examples of online awards ceremony production

So, we have introduced various types of staging. We combine all types of staging to create online award ceremony events that meet the needs of our clients.

Here we would like to introduce some examples of actual productions that we have handled. We have also included information on the size of the company, the schedule, and the effects of the event, so please take a look!

Projecting all participants on a screen to create a sense of unity: Case of Human Resource Company 

Company Size

2,500 employees


The entire day before the event is used as a preparation day, and the day of the event is the actual day of the event.

In many cases, the day before the event is spent in rehearsal due to the increased number of items to be checked (e.g., connection checks for online speakers, connection speed conditions, etc.) for events that are streamed.


For the online awards ceremony for this Company, we used a studio used for TV recording. In this studio, a U-shaped full screen was used and participants were listed on the screen. This created a sense of participation by having them appear on the streaming screen.

In addition, the TOP OF TOP winners were invited to the recording studio, and the award ceremony was held in the studio. In addition, the faces of people from the branch offices to which the winners belonged were projected on the background screen, creating a sense of “celebrating together”.

Outcome of the event

The client was in a state of uncertainty as it was the first time to hold an online event, but we solved the issues one by one. As a result, many participants commented in the post-event survey that they felt as if they were close to the event even though they were far away.

The latest technology: being in the same space even if you are far away: Case of a Cosmetics Company

Company Size

3500 people 


Preparation on the day before the event, and then the actual event. Since the relay base for streaming was not in Tokyo, emphasis was placed on pre-streaming tests. In particular, since a “teleportation” effect was used (where people in separate studios are displayed as if they exist in the same space), we carefully checked in advance whether the green background synthesis at the relay base could be successfully synthesized at the main studio in Tokyo.


For this Company’s online event, we used a 3DCG-compatible studio, one of only a few in Japan, to create a virtual space. Of course, the CG background was created with an original design for this award ceremony.

In addition, a chromakey studio (a special studio for background synthesis) was temporarily set up at the base of the top winners. Even though shot in separate studios, we designed as if all awardees and attendees were all in one space.

The winners who were not in the chromakey studio also took the stage remotely via zoom screen, allowing the main studio and winners to communicate with each other in real time.

Outcome of the event

The awards ceremony had been held every year. While the real ceremony could not be held due to Covid, many employees commented that “the sense of belonging to the company has increased” because the company created this kind of opportunity online.

Creating a documentary like movie: Franchise Company 

Company Size 

300 (full-time employees) 


Because it was an on-demand delivery system, the program was filmed two months in advance, edited and broadcasted.


This company used an on-demand delivery method for the event instead of live delivery. With on-demand delivery, participants do not watch the event at the same time, so the video needs to be more elaborate.

After much consideration, this company created a video in the style of a documentary program.

The president of the company went to the winners himself with the trophies and filmed him presenting the awards. This footage was combined with video interviews with each of the award winners to create a documentary program familiar to TV viewers. The video was made to be a VTR that participants could not help but be absorbed in, taking full advantage of the “video production” that is the merit of on-demand delivery.

Outcome of the event

While taking sufficient measures to prevent Covid infections, the president himself visited the stores and directly expressed his gratitude to the franchisee owners, which enabled him to interact with them. We received many comments from the owners that they were encouraged by the event.

Surprise Broadcast of Award Winning Branch Office: Educational company

Company Size 

250 full-time employees and 5,000 part-time staff 


This is a style in which the day before the event is used for preparation, and the actual event is held on the day of the event.


This company incorporated an “on-site broadcast” into the live online event.

A live broadcast team stood by in front of the branch office that won the top prize, and a reporter from the live broadcast team was connected to the MC at the venue for a surprise visit to the branch office. The winning branch offices were not notified in advance of the event, and the surprise was intended to give the audience a realistic view of the joy of the winners.

Each branch office was also provided with an iPad. The award ceremony was held on the spot, with the branch managers handing out commemorative gifts that had been sent in advance directly to the award winners.

This was a unique feature of the online event, and was used to create a sense of unity and excitement.

Outcome of the event

Participants were able to learn from the efforts of others at the presentation competition through a synergistic effect. One of the challenges was that the lecturers switched to an online platform after the Covid Pandemic, which reduced interaction with the students, but the event allowed them to discuss solutions to overcome the situation.

In this Journal, we tried to introduce some of our online award ceremony productions.

We at GLOBAL PRODUCE will continue to propose online productions that can be even better than live events through our planning capabilities.

We will continue to deliver better content to the organizers by combining the best aspects of both offline and online, and by providing best and freshest content out there!