Why all the hype around Hybrid events and how this new model can benefit your brand or business.
Before 2020 and the acceleration in digital transformation, having a virtual element included in a live event was generally an afterthought or an add on. B2B events such as conferences and employee engagement events have traditionally mostly been live – until 2020 that is. But now, it’s the first thought in the events strategy (or at least it should be in our opinion!).
It’s no secret that as a result of Covid, audiences needs and requirements have changed, as have those of companies (big and small), so events have had to evolve with them. Now, a day out of the office or workplace to attend a live event is a luxury some can no longer afford, as they scramble to make up lost time and revenue on the back of a challenging year.
Also, and this may be stating the very obvious here, Climate Change needs to be taken seriously, and brands which choose to develop hybrid events have the potential to reduce their carbon footprint within their stakeholders, their organisation and their supply chain! This was a big driving factor for us when we partnered with the prestigious Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) to launch their innovative AFA VISION 2020 Conference.
So, what the heck does Hybrid actually mean?
Well, as opposed to virtual events of old, this is not just watching a video on-demand, or a live stream of a live event, Hybrid is pure multidimensional marketing – the perfect blend of two engagement methods (usually virtual and live). The purpose of hybrid events is to put both the virtual AND the live audience’s needs at an equal level. It fuses them seamlessly, creating meaningfully integrated experiences. The audience journey is the same whether you are watching in your pj’s from your couch, or you’re there in person.
During a hybrid event, live attendee guests network, explore the venue, and listen to speakers. Meanwhile, online guests are doing the same thing, but virtually. Hybrid event platforms create opportunities for the virtual attendee to also participate in all the same touchpoints that the in-person guest would, including mingling, Q&As, breakout rooms, gamification and more.
They are a combination of that irreplaceable connection you get at an in-person event, with the amazing reach and insights of virtual, creating one unified audience – where guests communicate, interact, and share the same experience.
Personalization can also be a large feature, meaning attendees can create a bespoke experience to best suit their level and requirements.
And the list of benefits goes on:
- Data Insights – you receive increased quality of data from respondents – you can see who was watching what, and when, and for how long!
- Increased reach – your invite list can be infinite!
- Easy access for all – with businesses being more global than ever, anyone can join, where-ever they are.
- Cost savings/ROI – hybrid events increase ticket revenues, and if an internal event, can help keep attendee costs lower with reduced travel and accommodation etc. These can all help create more sustainable events.
- Better sponsor opportunities, with greater reach – virtual exhibitors booths, with great analytics help sell these packages in.
- Health and Safety plus COVID security – with less live attendees, social distancing becomes easier, plus the guests can attend virtually if travel plans are disrupted due to the pandemic.
Hybrid events allow companies and brands to engage with audiences in their own time and in their own way. It’s a model that creates flexibility, and, most importantly, engagement, and it’s a model that is definitely here to stay. The future certainly is Hybrid, something we know more than a thing of two about, so, we’re totally happy with that!