The micebook V Awards 2021 winners were recognised for their excellence in delivering virtual and hybrid events. Yet many of them had barely delivered any virtual events prior to the global pandemic, so were forced to adapt quickly to transform their businesses, learn new skills and deliver new solutions for clients.
At our micebook EXPO last month, we invited three of our V Awards-winning agencies to speak on a panel session titled ‘Hybrid, Live or Virtual? A masterclass in designing and delivering impactful events.’
XSEM commercial director Michael Gwilliam, Marble LDN CTO/founder Robbie Parry, and Natalie Allen, key account director at Brands at Work, shared their insights on how client demands are changing as we shift back to live and what 2022 has in store, moderated by The Wentworth Collective founder Lisa James.
The panel discussed how many clients are currently desperate to get back to live events, after not being able to connect in person for so long, but may naturally settle on more virtual and hybrid solutions in time due to cost, sustainability pressures and the ability to engage audiences over a longer period of time.
“A lot of my clients have gone back to big live exhibitions right now, but I cannot believe that in 10 years’ time, big brands like Coca Cola and Diageo will be building massive exhibition stands that they store and drag around the country. I just cannot see that happening,” said Gwilliam.
“We might be all rushing back to live now and reaping the benefits of that, but I think that brands will be looking at technology to engage with their customers and partners in future, and it might be that big event, but it might not be. We work for some really big brands, and we see their sustainability policies, and you can’t help but think why they would be carting something around the country on a roadshow then they can interact digitally?”
Allen said: “As an agency, when we get a brief, we should be sitting down with clients and having an open honest conversation about what they are trying to achieve, and why they are even having the event and then matching the solution to that. The other question we ask is – does it have to be an event or are you just ticking a box? Can it be another form of comms?
“What we’re seeing a lot now is clients saying they want to engage people for a prolonged amount of time. They don’t want to just have these moments in time where they attend an event and then go off and do the day job, so we’re seeing more demand for long-term communication campaigns.”
Parry believes that the demand for virtual, hybrid and live events will be cyclical as most marketing trends are. “If you look at any form of brand marketing, certain channels go through the roof, for example media did for a while, then in 2019 it was all about experiential and live events as a form of marketing. Now that is changing again as people are used to doing it virtually,” he explained.
“I feel that will go full circle again – it’s another great string to the bow to have virtual and hybrid, and there is not one size fits all for every campaign or activation and there never will be. That’s what’s exciting about this industry and you always have to dissect what is best for each client’s brief. Is it a campaign across multiple disciplines, or just one in-person or virtual event? At some point more live will come back, and then it will taper off to more hybrid or virtual again.”
Watch the full session here
If you have delivered excellent virtual or hybrid events over the past year, why not enter it into the V Awards 2022? The deadline is 30 April.
Check out the categories and enter here
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathan JT Taylor @ Aniseed Photo