For nearly a decade, technology usage is increasing and experience has proved that virtual connections increases face-to-face attendance and plays a very important part in your event sustainability strategy. However, while many associations have incorporated new forms of online technology into their event, only a few are doing a great job at leveraging digital solutions to improve their organisational goals and to drive their sustainable performance.
In this article from HQ The Association Magazine, Guy Bigwood, MCI’s Sustainability Director, talks about the evolution of the concept of “hybrid meetings” in the events industry and touches upon the different viewpoints shared by event professionals. For some, technology was considered that it would dramatically alter the event industry’s DNA, moving away from personal interaction and engagement when attending whereas for the promoters of ‘green’ development and tech lovers, new technologies should be ever present in such instances as they evaluate them as a powerful way to protect the environment.
What are some top tips to implementing digital strategy?
- Start early: Virtual participation needs to be considered and planned in to your event from the first moment. It needs to be part of your event strategy, venue and team selection. It can’t be an add on.
- Hire experts and train your team: Many event teams lack the skills to effectively and efficiently deliver spectacular online experiences. Integrate into your team a specialist digital expert.
- Separate program: The best “hybrid” experiences are produced like TV shows. They have a separate program and presenters to the actual event. ie Think of watching the Olympics on TV versus being in Rio. During the strategy phase it is critical to meticulously design this online experience and audience engagement pre, during and post event.
- Train speakers and presenters: Few traditional speakers in an organisation are good online presenters. It’s a different skill; but one that can be taught and improved on. Make time to train, coach and rehearse.
- Multiply through social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.. are the tools that power good online engagement. Make sure that you have a digital engagement strategy; that it’s integrated into the overall program, and that you have a good community manager running it.
- Measure: It’s a cliché – but you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Performance indicators for online experience are different. So ensure you are defining and considering social, environmental and economic indicators to measure and understand the impact of your events. Be balanced and holistic.
In conclusion, tomorrow’s most successful associations will be those that engage and activate their target communities by leveraging the exciting synergies between people, technology and face-to-face connections around a clear economic, social and environmental purpose. They will build upon the engaged communities of people that already exist online to develop incredible and sustainable offline events that further drive these communities to engage online and activate their purpose.
Guy Bigwood is the MCI Group Sustainability Director, and leads MCI Sustainability Services. For the last ten years MCI have been consulting and advising on the development and implementation of digital and sustainability strategies for associations, destinations, corporations and governments.
To read the full article visit http://ow.ly/3ocy30484pp.
Download the full MCI Thought Leadership paper here.
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