Hosted by the agency’s CEO Dale Parmenter, the evening was about sharing insights and inspiration around the return to live, with Head of Insight Callum Gill and members of the DRPG team leading round table discussions over a delicious dinner.
After talking through some of the biggest challenges faced over the past 18 months, including lack of engagement, loss of suppliers, re-skilling of teams and the challenge of change, the conversation moved to how the format of live events and experiences needs to evolve.
The evolution of events was already happening, but Covid enhanced the speed of that evolution through technology and engagement. Here’s some of the key takeaways from the discussions…
People are now hyper aware of how they are using their own time and want a hyper personal experience. There are heightened expectations from attendees, and they are challenging whether they need to be there.
They want to know that by attending an in-person event they are getting more than if it were virtual. They want to know the tangible benefits and the reason for attending. Audiences should receive personalised content. Choice is also a big development, with Netflix-style content. Attendees want to feel they can select what they take in at an event and tailor it to their needs.
The evolution of hybrid could be the mechanism we need to get back to the live, in-person experience. We need to be asking, ‘What is the why behind this event?’. Previously, it might have been because it was done year after year.
Now, we need to consider what we are trying to achieve and evolve it into a meaningful campaign that helps your audience get back to the feeling of excitement and inspiration that comes from in-person experiences.
The challenge we now face is with events teams and re-teaching how to organise an event. That’s something we’ve not done for a while.
What is part of Health & Safety now? Does making an event feel Covid-safe now fall into our H&S checks? How do we navigate this with no real guidance or clarity from governing bodies? How do we communicate this to those attending?
Consider the cost, as that has been driving up with shortages in materials. Now we must consider, what will the budget allow for?
International barriers have been removed. This is an element that should be maintained as it has made events even more accessible.
We now have two audiences – those attending virtually and those in the room. How do you tailor the experience for both? What do those at home gain vs. those in the room? For the DRPG Summer Conference, 95% attended live in Hartlebury and got the pleasure of networking alongside their colleagues. Those who attended virtually were at the agency’s other offices in Windsor and Cologne or at home, getting exclusive, behind the scenes content.
Town Hall meetings and small gatherings such as breakfast briefings may not return in person as there isn’t really a need. Now, more than ever, we need to really understand the why of what we are doing. We must give this information to the audience too. Tell audiences why they need to attend. Show them we value their time.
People can now travel, but they might be thinking, ‘should I travel?’. We need to consider what sustainability means and how this impacts venue choices.
Think back to the strategy and really consider the core messages of your business – how does that tie to the overall experience?