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Tablets are the new laptops, websites are ‘out’, and traditional
media such as advertising is verging on the antique as we
experience its glamorous heyday in shows like Mad Men.
Should we be nervous? After all, ‘live’ is the granddaddy of all
communications. We have been getting together and connecting
as human beings since we came down from the trees.
Digital communication is on the rise and event companies
now talk about ‘experiential’ and ‘activation’. As far as clients are
concerned, it’s all about measurement and reach on one hand, and
connection and emotional engagement on the other.
In the events industry, we are some of the few people in the
world would wouldn’t want to work for Google. We love the emo-
tion, the chaos, and the connectedness of our profession. Imagine
the power of a blended approach to communications, where the
science of metrics meets the art of raw emotion?
After all, what are events if not about building communities of
interest? These communities can be established in a room and
then cemented online – or vice versa. Here are five ways to give
your event a digital life:
1. Phone a Friend: Your core business, clients and expertise is likely
to be event management. Find someone who knows their stuff
when it comes to digital. Get a referral (as we do for so much in our
business). Take advice and research online so you can ask the hard
questions of your collaborator. Find a mutual project you can work
on together as a pilot for the main game. The strongest proposi-
tion of this working style to a client is being able to offer them two
specialists, as opposed to just one generalist.
2. Get Strategic: Rather than just focusing on the outcomes of
your event, think more broadly about what your client is trying to
achieve. How can a more holistic and longer-term approach build
momentum before, during and after the event? Think of the live
event as the ‘sugar’ and the supporting digital as the ‘carbs’ to keep
your event message pounding along. The echoes of your event
should be reverberating all over digital media. How can you orches-
trate, design and most importantly measure the impact of that?
3. Measure: Consider all the things that in events you would like
to measure but can’t and think laterally about ways you can do
this using digital platforms. There is so much you can measure
the challenge will be isolating the most useful ‘big’ data. Think in
advance about desired impacts and outcomes. Work with your
digital partner to build an index of metrics that will gobsmack
your clients, generate real return and bring them back for more.
4. Extend the dialogue: Your event should (naturally) facilitate
a positive social interaction. If it doesn’t, why are you doing it?
Digital gives you a great opportunity to build and sustain the
dialogue created face to face as the conversation moves online.
This will enable you to build legacy driven communities of inter-
est, establish outcomes and even enable these audiences to help
you co-create future events. These then become highly relevant
and effective in delivering return to clients.
5. Get ambitious: The thing with digital is when you’ve done it
once you won’t be able to do without it. You will be amazed by
the intelligence you will gather about your audiences and how
they think and feel.You will also be surprised by how much they
take on themselves to build and keep the community momen-
tum. Consider how you can scale up and apply this to bigger
programs and what strategic and creative implications this will
have for your future events.
We are seeing a massive shift in the way we consume informa-
tion but we are still human beings. We still need the emotional
connectedness of live communications through events. So, let’s
embrace the recent power of digital and apply it to our own an-
cient medium. n
Jon Hopwood PhD from the Institute of Live
Communications tells us how to extend the lifespan
of an event through the clever use of digital tools.
GIVE YOUR EVENT
A DIGITAL LIFE
Spice August 2014.indb 55
30/07/2014 1:54 pm
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