Of course, no one would have deliberately chosen all our Serviceplan Group events such as the Innovation Day or Best Brands to take place digitally instead of face-to-face from spring 2020. However, cancelling them completely was not an option for us, because we had the feeling that we were all longing for contact and input – even if it was only via a screen. Looking back, I have to say that the actual ‘stopgap solution’ has positive elements that we would not want to be without in the future. For example, we are planning to use hybrid formats more and more in post-Covid times. They allow us to combine digital with on-site experiences and amalgamate them in a new way.
Here are our team’s best tips for making digital phenomenal:
· Being brave trumps technical perfection. Of course, it’s important that the tech works and that nothing goes wrong. However, guests usually forgive more minor imperfections if they are offered something really exciting, extraordinary and valuable. Be brave and try things out is the guiding principle!
· Limitations can be overcome. Thanks to digital formats, events are no longer limited in time or place. For example, international guests or speakers can be contacted who cannot otherwise be reached, and content can be conveyed that cannot otherwise be assembled. You can even create a completely new virtual environment where the event takes place, like our ‘House of Rethinkers’ at the 2020 Innovation Day. Use the possibilities of digitalization to rethink and go beyond the limits in your own head!
· Bring the offline world to life digitally. ‘Real’ experiences are possible in the digital world too. For example, guests can look forward to a great, tactile goodie bag or a ‘lunch walk’ during the lunch break of a digital event. This creates connections and strengthens the sense of community. There will be a lot more to come in future in the area of hybrid thinking, so make sure you’re at the forefront!
· Strengthen interactivity. An event chat with good moderation that encourages interaction with experts who answer content-related questions in real-time is worth its weight in gold. It presents a human face, even in a purely digital context.
· Make it easy. Of course, it should be made as easy as possible for guests to register and log in. A fast-forward and rewind function in the transmission is also very much appreciated. Or a modular principle of appointment blocks in order to combine individual sessions.
In the future, hybrid event formats will certainly dominate what’s on offer. Finally, I would like to give you two – in my opinion – very simple but clever ideas that will make some of the decisions easier when setting up such a format. First, none of the target groups, whether on-site or digital, should feel like a second-class guest. The customer journey must be conceived individually for both groups and ideally find common ground. And second, when thinking about all arrangements that are being redesigned, ask yourself would I enjoy that? Not everything that is technically possible has to be implemented. I wish you every success.