MEANINGFUL CONNECTION IN A DIGITAL WORLD
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'
The 'coronacoaster' can sometimes be too much. There is good news one day and more restrictions the next. These frustrations are well known by those businesses looking to connect with customers, employees, networks and friends through events and experiences
The ‘rule of 6’ has already had a major impact on the way we interact with our friends, colleagues and clients. Recent event rulings not to allow events for over 30 people affects us all personally and professionally. We all know people who have had to re-organise fundraisers, re-strategise award ceremonies, re-imagine the work summer party. These events mean something to each individual attendee and organiser.
It is now confirmed that large scale events will not be restarting from 1st October and are unlikely to resume for a further 6 months. However, many businesses retain the same sales targets, and KPIs that hinge on maintaining and driving connection to their customers and marketplace. Businesses with remote teams who have undergone huge changes want their employees to be engaged and connected. Individuals want to celebrate milestones, to be brought together and to feel part of a wider entity.
When we unpack all the feedback, frustrations and rhetoric around our inability to return to the pre-COVID events that we love, what becomes clear is that whilst the playing field has changed, the goal for businesses to achieve meaningful connection remains. With this comes an opportunity to innovate and move forwards, avoiding the risk of doing nothing and being left behind.
Virtual event platforms have come on leaps and bounds in the past 6 months. We have seen conferences, exhibitions, team away days, film premiers and parties brought direct to attendees in their homes. We have seen how creative people can be in bringing groups together when they can’t do so in person.
So many colleagues and clients tell us that they miss the physicality of in-person events and ask us how they can recreate that virtually. They want to share knowledge in a way that has impact, to feel real camaraderie with their colleagues, to entertain their clients and customers.
It is one thing to connect, and another to achieve the meaningful connection that will deliver the best return on investment. Now, more than ever it’s important to develop and forge deeper connections, so how can we do this?
For those looking at planning virtual events, we suggest to start by consider their digital platform options and the capabilities required that will facilitate achieving the event aims. A conference whose success is measured on knowledge sharing will require different capabilities to one focused on networking, or team building. ‘Look and feel’ is also just as applicable to a digital platform as it is to a venue.
Secondly, consider how you can include and drive shared experience within your event through activities and content, to build commonality, togetherness and engagement. With remote working comes more time than ever having online meetings. So, if we are going to run virtual events, we need to make them stand out.
Third, look at ways in which you can bridge the gap between physical and digital. This could be sending a goody box to your attendees – this can drive investment and excitement pre-event and create talking points during. Could you run a virtual activity that stimulates physical activity, for example drawing or mind-mapping, creating that strong visual engagement. Often the mechanisms for building this bridge can be the perfect vehicle for personalisation.
So, whilst we can’t always be together, there are still ways we can connect, learn, collaborate and share experiences in ways that can have true impact. Big or small, live or virtual, we feel passionately about the power of events to bring people together, to inspire and to create change.
Let’s get creative!