This week we hear from Mabel Lam, who has worked in event management, both in Australia and overseas. She gives us her take aways from the SITE Week Ideation session on How to Deliver Meaningful Events in a Digital Realm. This session was hosted by Nicola McGrane, CEO at Conference Partners International and Marie-Claire Andrews, President of the Association for Women in Events and partner to ShowGizmo.
Meet our SITE Week Ideation Session Scribe:
Mabel Lam lives in Sydney and has over 10 years’ event management experience. She thrives on connections with people and is passionate about the event industry, especially the MICE sector. She is open to event opportunities during COVID-19 and was honoured to be a Scribe during SITE Week.
Technology has undoubtedly abounded during COVID-19. Its role has expanded unprecedentedly, and is highly likely to remain part of the way events interact in the future. Based on SITE Week discussions with Nicola McGrane and Marie-Claire Andrews, I have summarised 5 strategies, which will help us to deliver meaningful events in this digital realm.
Content Is King
Content is vital for a successful event. Good event content includes popular topics, attractive speakers, a flexible MC, a capable facilitator, as well as the right audience. It is vital to understand the purpose of the event and identify and create the most relevant content.
- Keep your audience informed about the content, before and after the event.
- Know your target audience and choose the right social media platform to advertise the event
- Follow up after the event, identify what is the best takeaway and learn from it.
- Keep in contact with your audience after the event – follow up and extend the conversation so you can learn from it.
Engage Your Audience
The new era of online communication (Zoom, Google Meet, Social Media, Video apps etc) provides options to connect with people via a social network, rather than face to face. Rather than being feared, technology is a tool we can use to support or even enhance audience engagement.
Nicola’s Virtual Fam Trip project was a great example of how to engage with clients during COVID-19. Gathering many suppliers, they hosted a virtual FAM Trip Experience and proactively showcased their destinations via a digital realm. Around 200 clients signed up, enjoying attractive gifts as well as a personal tour guide for site inspections.
Virtual events mean that resources can be easily stored after the event. According to general statistics, around 53% of the audience watch LIVE and the rest watch on demand. Recorded materials can be forwarded to the audience who cannot attend the event, meaning engagement can continue long after the official event itself.
Creativity is fundamental in adapting to the “new normal” business model. Virtual platforms, hybrid options etc. all give scope for even greater creativity in event planning and production.
The 2020 European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV’20), targeted around 5000 to 6000 attendees. The event was designed to combine a 3D platform and a physical environment that met the audience’s psychological needs. All design elements come together to boost engagement, helping the audience feel physically present at the event. For example, the exhibit hall/exhibition with a 360-degree view and 3D environments!
Don’t forget the Human Aspect
Humanity can never be replaced, so virtual honeymoons are unlikely to be a thing! However, technology helps bridge that gap in the absence of Face to Face. The virtual connection has become a vital alternative at this time. The question is how to create something that replicates a live experience, in a more virtual setting.
Marie’s example of virtual wine tasting combines the virtual with the needs of humanity. Participants register via an online app and wine packages, along with wine tasting notes and guidelines, are shipped to their doors. Attendee interaction involves both a physical and virtual experience, with conversations via video or chat room. Participants can then also vote on which they liked the most via a poll function.
Be Aware of the Environment
We are not only facing a health and financial crisis but also a climate challenge. The effort involved to produce an environmentally friendly event is complex, but it is a great solution to bring light to the current climate.
With clear skies and very low light pollution, stargazing both in New Zealand and Singapore have an inherent advantage. Marie’s case study of Stargazing events demonstrates how organisers can align an incredible experience with the environment. They not only educate participants on basic astronomy, but also encourage conversation and shared ideas on sustainability.
Although we are still facing many challenges in our event industry, we are supporting each other even more than ever before, and this will continue as we all come out the other end.
The 5 strategies discussed are a good starting point to make sure our events continue to deliver. Together, I have no doubt that we can create events in a mature digital realm that will not only suit, but also exceed our clients’ needs.
Written by Mabel Lam
SITE Week Ideation Session Series:
SITE Week saw SITE Global hosting 46 Ideation Sessions over the course of 2 days, 2 times zones, and catering to over 1500 registrations. The idea was simple – facilitated brain-storming to help us all prepare for the road ahead, collaborating through the sharing of thoughts, insights and perspectives from across the globe, while collaborating and celebrating the togetherness of the larger SITE community. A scribe attended each session, with the role of articulating of his/her thoughts into an informative article which would be a summation of their takeaways from the session.