Digital Event News January 2022 - Page 47

January 2022

Opinion 47

Planning for hybrid

In order to successfully blend virtual with in-person , planners should plan activity around four pillars of effective hybrid events – Audience , Content , Live and Community . During a recent webinar , Live Group ’ s director of content Bruce Rose discussed each pillar in turn .
Audience “ The days of audience generalisation are over ,” Rose told viewers . “ To deliver a firstclass hybrid experience for both in-person and online , you need a deeper understanding of delegate profiles - their make-up , what their objectives are for interacting with your event , what types of content they would prefer to consume and the venue or virtual environment they wish to interact in .”
Although data is central to planning more effective , personalised experiences , the introduction of GDPR in 2018 means that transparency over permissions , what the information will be used for and how it ’ s stored , is paramount .
“ Let people know that the information value exchange is purely to make their time spent at your event a better experience and how the requested data will be shared with stakeholders such as sponsors ( providing an opt-out option ),” Rose continued .
Content According to Rose , once you ’ ve surveyed , emailed and spoken to your audience and gleaned a better understanding of what ’ s required from your event design , you can start to plan and develop content .
He says : “ Effective hybrid events require content formats that will engage and stimulate audiences in different ways so consider what should be live , pre-recorded and on-demand and how formats should be presented ( panel discussions , video , audio , presentations etc ).
Content that benefits from audience interaction requires Q & A functionality , polls or the ability to broadcast virtual audience members onto screens to ask questions live .”
Rose further advised not to get boxed into different definitions of what makes a hybrid event .
“ Sky Sports doesn ’ t talk about ‘ hybrid football ’ and yet the way football fans experience a game and consume the content differently , depending on whether they ’ re sitting in the stands or seated at home in-front of the TV , is a good analogy to keep in mind ,” he says .
Live “ Remember , in a hybrid event environment , the majority of attendees are likely to be online so brief on-stage presenters to speak to both audiences and ensure your production partner has different camera angles in place to provide a higher standard of broadcast ,” Rose continues . “ The traditional rules to staging live events need no longer apply when it comes to hybrid so don ’ t assume everyone wants the same linear event experience .”
Rose ’ s recommendations included providing on-demand sessions or personalised streams to cater for your deeper understanding of audience profiles ; building roadmaps and strategy around how you want your different audience types to interact and engage ; plus avoiding the complacency of how events ‘ used to be ’ by building in more time to rehearse , more time to test the technology and greater flexibility with your venue for when in-person registrants switch to virtual and scenarios change .
Community By definition , hybrid means that all content can transition online and be used to grow audience and develop a community that will choose how to engage with your event for years to come .
The hybrid experience no longer begins and ends with the physical event . Planners
need to decide which channels to use and how to segment content to drive FOMO , educate , deliver extra value and build advocacy .
“ If your events only offer a single option to engage or you only ever plan in a linear way , audiences will seek out digital alternatives and communities better suited to how the world around us has changed ,” Rose concludes .