Beyond new technologies that now support and elevate them, 2021 events are vastly different from what they were just a year ago. However, one thing remains the same: the need to unite people. Here are five ways to rethink your event in 2021, including tips on how to meet your current business goals.
Why even bother planning events? That’s the question all event agencies have been asking themselves over the past few months, as they have been forced to shelve everything they’ve learned and make room for new ways of doing things. While event experts everywhere scrambled to develop new skills in digital event organization, the seismic shift in the industry allowed them to redefine events concepts in order to better meet brand objectives and the needs of attendees.
1. Create Customizable Events That Are Easily Transposed
The best events are those that adapt to situations that cannot be controlled and allow a laser-focused connection with the target audience. Customizable events don’t require big investments up front, as long as they are engaging, focused and well-thought-out so that they can hold up despite external factors.
In 2021, we can no longer establish our objectives according to the purpose of our event, we must strive for objectives that encompass the entire process. In the short term, the uncertain situation is pushing the event industry to think about its virtual offering. With a natural evolution, it would have been much easier to think about adding physical components to your event rather than having to quickly go from face-to-face to digital, as was the case in March 2020.
2. Organize a Hybrid Event for Better Audience Segmentation
While the digital event has demonstrated certain limits, it has also enabled a good number of companies to better segment their event offering. Everything suggests that as 2021 progresses, the hybrid event will be the next big thing.
The hybrid event is not a traditional event transposed or a Plan B, it’s a completely new standalone event format. It makes it possible to multiply the touchpoints with your audiences. An event could for example have an in-person experience-driven portion, a pop-up piece that addresses specific targets, a virtual component highlighting the educational-oriented portion of the event, as well as a section on social media, accessible to everyone¹.
Because these events are more expensive and require more resources, it’s important that companies aiming to execute them have the means to carry them out, in addition to thinking of alternatives for each part of their event should in-person gatherings be restricted at the scheduled time.
This approach can be more inclusive and more accessible as it allows greater and easier access to your event to minorities, people with physical or financial limitations, or those living in remote areas. With well-thought-out plans, this kind of multifaceted event usually lasts longer than an all-in-person physical event where many participants are required to commute. As participants are no longer required to show up on-site, this can also help reduce carbon footprints². But the opposite is also true: holding events online while using different streaming platforms requires a lot of energy resources and therefore generates greenhouse gas emissions. For a hybrid event to be sustainable, you have to consider all of these components, even when it comes to online activities.
3. Collect Data to Better Connect With Your Target
Data is collected from the first invitation, a key moment in the planning process when you can ask your audience questions in order to customize your event design. But before analyzing this data, it is first necessary to set measurable objectives and performance indicators to better assess the results achieved. To do this, you have to use the right tools that can easily integrate with streaming platforms and measure relevant data such as audience engagement³.
Today, it is much easier to learn more about our audiences and to interact directly with them, thanks to integrated interactions and gamification. Due to better knowledge regarding the audience, it’s also much easier to seek out more relevant sponsors for each of our events, whether they are organized physically, virtually, or in a hybrid fashion⁴.
4. Focus on New Content That Stands Out
Among people participating in virtual events, 80% do it for educational purposes⁵. Content is key for any event and will continue to be key even once face-to-face activities return. The best way to stand out from the endless event offering is to provide content that stands out from the competition, crafted in a format that works for the target audience while sharing it at the right time.
Not all content is made to be shared with everyone. You have to find a way to engage the target around a subject matter by sharing content before, during, and after the event through a well-developed and – above all – well-segmented content strategy. When physical events resume, the content will continue to be the primary reason why attendees are interested in an event.
5. Invite Your Community Behind the Scenes of Your Company for a Strong Employer Brand
The people who work for a brand are its best ambassadors. If an employee is unhappy at work, their performance drops, as does their interest in promoting a positive image of their employer⁶. How do we continue to keep the culture of our company alive in these times of working remotely? By creating dedicated spaces to do so, in particular through a well-established event communications strategy that will target key moments in the year to connect and engage with employees.
Why wouldn’t companies allow consumers to attend some of these gatherings? In 2021, brands that want to keep looking great to their consumers will need to continue to find ways to bring their employees together beyond scheduled meetings.
“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that brands need to review their events to make them more in line with the realities faced by attendees. In 2021, we will have to continue to find the best ways to bring people together, regardless of the tools at our disposal to do so.”
– Andréanne Mathieu, President
Events have taken a giant leap forward – they are more relevant, more customized, and more connected than ever. The past year has allowed us to move away from strategies that prevent us from seeing the event as an extension of a brand. In 2021, the place, time frame, content, and moment are no longer obstacles, but rather springboards to creativity.
Take a look at our service offering and find out how we can help you plan and organize your next event.