2021 The Year of the Hybrid
Hybrid events combine both in-person and virtual experiences ensuring that both audiences are catered for and meet their objectives in attending. One event, two unique but comparable experiences. Sounds like it would take more resource I hear you cry! So why exactly should you be embracing the ‘Year of the Hybrid’?
Ever had potential customers, employees or your audience feign travel or availability as their barrier to attending. Well, no more, you can bring the content to them, wherever they choose, and if timings don’t work, or the thrice rescheduled trip to a remote hut in Mongolia comes with zero Wi-Fi, you’ll be ready with ‘EventFlix’ replay so attendees can log in at their leisure (just one more episode, promise!). A potentially new online audience you have not reached before.
With reduced numbers IRL (in real life), you’ll be able to provide enhanced customer service, a more exclusive experience amongst other perks; your attendees that have taken a plane, train or automobile will feel rewarded. Similarly incentivising those online communities with exclusive content ensures these audiences feel valued and included. A healthy dose of FOMO from each of your audiences will help attendees decide which style of attendance serves them better with individual benefits.
Previously, it would seem highly unlikely that you would dream of heckling commentary directly to the esteemed keynote on stage in front of hundreds if not thousands of peers, but when participating online, tagging the speaker in a comment and them deeming you worthy of a reply in real-time is commonplace. As you create synergy with live reaction content beamed to your in-person guests, you’ll probably encourage them to be a little bolder with their engagement right from their seat.
Brenda from accounts also learned how to use emoji’s in lockdown, so she will be able to use ‘clapping’ and the celebratory ‘two raised hands’ in the comments with wild abandon when she logs on from home. She is normally such a shrinking violet!
Larger audiences of course provide opportunity in terms of sponsorship revenues; more seeing eyes for all that digital branding. That, along with the wealth of recorded content post-event, the legacy of the event creates notably higher impact for organisers and sponsors alike. Real, extensive and measurable data available at the touch of a button as the event draws to a close, real-time testimonials from delegates, more cost-effective and quantifiable generation leads for sponsors…Brenda would post the ‘Ka-ching!’ emoji here.
Lower Carbon Footprint
Yes, we have ‘saved’ a lot of airmiles in 2020, and beyond, but we can do MORE. If you choose to beam in via a live link, and you’d have missed the social engagements due to awkward flight times anyway, there are huge benefits to saving up those miles for another trip all whilst still retaining the same learning and networking benefits – without the jetlag. Also, your trusty little pooch won’t be faced with abandonment issues when you leave, although if you have a cat, let’s be clear they need you out of their space and would prefer it if you gave them a break for a couple of days. OK.
Whilst COVID-19 is being committed to the history books (along with the Zoom gaffes), our collective change in behaviours will not. So, make sure your events adapt, become greener hybrid versions that respect the work-life balance of your audience and cater to them both at home and away. Let’s face it, in-person will never go out of style, but hybrid will ensure your event survives the next apocalypse.
Posted on January 28, 2021