There can be little doubt that the working world will be changed in many ways by Covid-19. An immediate necessity to shift to remote working has proven to many businesses, that they can indeed facilitate remote working. What is it they say about necessity and invention after all? Of course there are those businesses that cannot either fully or in part work remotely, ourselves amongst them, with our design and marketing services preserved but manufacturing on pause. However even in this case, many businesses have surprised themselves with their agility in switching to remote working in some way. As a result, it’s highly likely that we will see an increased level of remote working built into business infrastructure, well after Covid-19 and the accompanying lock downs.
Alongside remote working, the rise of virtual events, webinars and digital conferencing has led to several suggesting the demise of live events. Whilst we have no doubt that the face of the events industry will be changed, we see a rebirth not a replacement. In fact, we think that as remote working rises across businesses, events could be just the partner a more digitised workforce needs. So why could remote working and events be the new odd couple?
We Crave Connection
As humans, you may have noticed that we are generally pretty social creatures. That’s not to say there are not some who relish the opportunity to shut off the outside world and lock into that 12th Netflix series...ahem. But when everything becomes distant, even with digital connection, we still feel something is missing. With relationship building becoming more important as part of good business, be this internal or external, we will still need a platform to forge these relationships. Yes, of course relationships can be forged digitally, sometimes with great success. Yet it is the face to face nature of events that often leads to deeper connection with stakeholders, clients, collaborators...dare we say, friends in industry. The term ‘connectional intelligence’ was used by Erica Dhawan, Founder & CEO of Cotential, to describe the capability to consistently deliver breakthrough innovation and results by harnessing the value of relationships and networks. Not only do meaningful and personal connections feed our social needs, they form a crucial component of good business. Using events to seed these relationships that we can then nurture through ongoing digital communication could offer the best of both worlds.
More Focused Events
With less time physically together and more business conducted digitally, events could become a key touch point. Whether a smaller more intimate team, or a larger organisation, bringing together personnel effectively and at scale, helps drive internal business forward. As we place more emphasis on the objective of an event, knowing it’s a rarer commodity, we may see a far more focused approach in how events are used. This fits well into our existing top tips on events and exhibitions, with planning and setting objectives the core of good event planning. We’ve all experienced a meeting that could have been an email or a lackluster team building event that does anything but build a team. By elevating the importance of our face to face interactions, it drives a quality over quantity approach that is increasingly important to the success of events. This extends well beyond internal events to the wider mix of exhibitions, seminars, conferences and experiences. Knowing that everyone involved is looking forward to an opportunity to connect, has clear goals in mind and wants to use this time together in the most effective way, will make our events more focused. This focus leveraged effectively, will increase advocacy, provide a richer experience and deliver better return on objectives and investment.
Make it W.O.W - ‘Worth Our While’
Now this is something we hope everyone is striving to do within their events and exhibitions anyway. As we discussed in our article on what makes enjoyable events, ‘Newness’ is a key feature. This doesn’t mean reinventing yourself or your product range every single event. What it does mean however, is giving your audience a dose of wow factor, tapping into your interesting angle and working hard for your ROI. This is perhaps made even more important by the risk of someone sighing as they say, ‘I could’ve done this online’. As virtual events and digital connection become far more competent and mainstream, savvy marketers should see this as a shot in the arm to up their game at live events. Experience remains a key differentiator of successful brands, with live events a great means to immerse your audience in this experience. That’s not to pit digital and physical connection against one another though, far from it. See them as an interchangeable coach and athlete. Spur on your live events with a renewed and engaged pool of digital connections that you can invite to an immersive experience. Build incentive for a visit with an exclusive digital campaign, you could even bridge the gap by live streaming from the event or recording a webinar to share digitally. Meanwhile, build warm leads at your event and funnel them into a now perfected digital greenhouse of connections, nurtured and grown though a responsive remote working structure.
What do you think of this odd couple of events and remote working?
How do you think your use of events will change in future?
Let us know your thoughts, or if you have some future events in mind, we’d love to hear from you, contact us to discuss your ideas.