During these times of uncertainty it’s hard to predict what the future of events and experiences will resemble. Will brands focus on complete virtual engagement, return to live as soon as possible or somewhere in the middle? Yellow Fish MD and brand experience expert Laura Pace talks us through her theory on the future of live events…
The question that has been circling in my head and I’ve been asked countless times over the last few weeks is what does the current state of affairs mean for the future of live events and experiences? Will digital become the new home for events once clients realise they can create an impactful and engaging experience online? Or will we see a hungry desire for live events once this turbulent period is over?
I’ve spent the last few weeks reflecting on this and discussing with colleagues and industry players and I think the answer is actually somewhere in between.
The live event industry will never be the same as people become more conscious, travel less, and are cautious of being in large groups. However, I think the demand for live will be unprecedented as we move out of lockdown and into the future. Here’s why….
The power of human connection
Until this crisis, we were living in the experience economy. A world in which people increasingly cared more about the things they do than the possessions they once strived to accumulate and where we shape ourselves by the people, places, and activities we engage with.
We can talk all we like about transforming live events into digital experiences but as humans the need to share an experience in the flesh is something we are all pining for right now. I for one can’t wait to brainstorm in a shared space, to feel the exhilaration of watching a live gig, or people watch whilst eating a delicious meal in my local pub.
Event agencies across the globe are busy exploring how we turn physical experiences into digital ones and arming ourselves with tools to create innovative virtual events; however this cannot replace the sensorial triggers we can create within a live space.
From the smell of fresh doughnuts as you walk in a supermarket, to the visual feast of the colours at Holi, sensorial experiences trigger powerful, memorable moments for brands.
Digital will never be able to replace the journey of discovery that experiential can provide.
There has never been so much digital noise as there is now. Brands are relying on in-home digital experiences more than they ever have.
Our day to day lives are saturated with technology and that means that live experiences and events will be more important than ever to cut through digital and establish human touch points.
So, what does this mean for the future of live? Will we see a complete reliance on Zoom, Insta and live streams? I think not…
There will be a hunger for live. But not live as we knew it. Events and experiences are likely to be more intimate and restricted as part of phase one of exiting lockdown.
Here is the approach Yellow Fish will be taking to live as we move into a new era:
Know your audience
A deep understanding and key insights into your audience will never be more important. Ensuring the brand purpose is at the heart of whatever is communicated will be vital to cut through. Customers, stakeholders and consumers are going to want the right messages in the right context.
Live and digital together like never before
There is a huge opportunity for hybrid events. An intimate event for key consumers, press, influencers, or stakeholders combined with a clever digital content plan to make a broader audience feel like they are truly immersed in the experience.
Personalised experiences (in real and digital spaces)
The demand for personalised experiences will be greater than ever before. Consumers will be taking the ‘less is more’ approach and picking events, experiences, and products that are personalised to their needs or requirements.
Back to basics
The fatigue that consumers and stakeholders alike will be feeling from the saturation of digital experiences means we should be stripping back live experiences to the core messages and embracing storytelling, interactivity and moments of dialogue and theatre.
There is no doubt about it. Live will be back. Just reimagined into something that is right for the new normal. I’m excited to see where we land.