At Sequence, we love the hustle and bustle of in-person events, and that will never change. Our entire team is ready to turn the page on a fully-virtual, fully-remote event calendar and look to hybrid and live coming back safely. That said, the past year has given us an invaluable opportunity to create shared experiences through virtual events, and so much more! There are more takeaways than we can name that we’ll be taking with us back into the world of hybrid and in-person experiences, but here are three at the top of our list:
- Re-Program Your Program. Put simply, the lack of audience attention span within virtual forced us as event creators to re-think programs and elements within our runs of show. We reconsidered content, speakers and formats, and there was no choice but to cut the fluff. Redesigning an experience from a timing and engagement perspective led up to more concise, creative and interactive experiences. And now that we’re bringing many experiences back to a live or hybrid stage, we don’t want to go back to the way things were last time around. Just because it’s more difficult (and noisy!) for a guest to leave a live conference or ballroom doesn’t mean we’re necessarily capturing their attention. Keeping our programs engaging and streamlined will make for happy attendees and more time to network, which they have really missed!
- Don’t Ditch Virtual. Trust us, we get all the many benefits of in-person events — and those benefits are still unparalleled. But just because virtual isn’t the primary format doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a key place within events moving forward. Integrating an engaging and guest-focused virtual element provides benefits like expanding reach and capacity, easing travel budgets, and providing a hedge against unforeseen in-person limitations (especially in the short-term as things change almost daily). A compelling virtual element also creates additional channels for content consumption (live and on-demand) which can generate new revenue streams, new audiences, and unique sponsorship opportunities. We see a lot of room for re-embracing virtual as it becomes less of a necessity and more of another tool in our belts.
Start with ’The Why’. We never miss an opportunity to reference one of our favorite TED Talks, and it especially rings true here. Prior to last year, it was far too easy for companies and organizations to use a ‘rinse and repeat’ approach for their in-person events. Maybe the event was generating the revenue it needed to, drawing the attendees, or providing an easy forum to communicate a message or brand to stakeholders. But 2020, and the advent of virtual, changed all of that. Sequence and our clients started from the ground up to evaluate whether an event that had met expectations in-person could be as effective through a new medium. For some the answer was yes, for some it was no, but just asking the question and having to reconsider why an event matters was a major win in our book from the strategy side. Our team will continue making that a foundational question at every kickoff for all events, every year, regardless of the format or circumstances.
Navigating the ever-changing landscape of events right now is no easy feat. Don’t worry, Team SEQ has got you covered! Sign up for a free consultation with one of our event professionals to help guide you on your next event planning journey. We can’t wait to connect!