How COVID has changed… corporate events

How COVID has changed...

May 3rd, 2021 By Jack Morton

With live events finally set to return in more parts of the world, we thought it would be interesting to see how the different areas of our work have been impacted in the last year.

In this “How Covid Has Changed” content series, we asked some of our top experts about their respective areas of focus and how brands will need to adapt moving forward. Here is what they had to say….

Question: When it comes to corporate events, what do you think is the single biggest consideration for brands to integrate into post-pandemic experiences once live returns? 

how covid has changed corporate eventsBeing purposeful.  Post Covid-19, corporate events organizers have to ask themselves the same questions their leadership is asking around back-to-the-office efforts – what is the unique purpose of a face-to-face event, and what does our answer (and efforts against it) say about our brand?

In a nutshell, this leads back to four things: setting objectives, determining the type of venue, targeting the right audience and using the most appropriate technology.

The disruption to the pipeline has led many organizations to dramatically improve their digital lead-generation efforts. As a result, businesses should be purposeful about who they create experiences for and why. Existing clients and key prospects are a top priority. People miss the personal touch from partners and peers, and experiences will be about hearing directly from leadership, sharing perspectives, and getting facetime with people they may only have met on screen.

When it comes to where to host an experience, warm-weather locations with outdoor options should be the most immediate short-term consideration. This will allow for more creativity around general sessions and breakouts can be held in open-air locales. Large, crowded convention centers aren’t going away, but they will come back slowly, once it’s safe and people feel more comfortable gathering in indoor spaces.

Being purposeful about exactly who should attend is a key consideration. Some audiences, especially more seasoned executives, are itching to get back on the road, but the wild card for organizations holding events is whether the right audiences are comfortable traveling. Whether it’s a lead-generating event or one designed to deepen the relationship with existing clients and partners, an event is only successful if the people you need to reach are willing to go.

Once audiences get on the ground, how will your brand engage with them? Technology is expected to be more integrated into experiences than before, not just because of safety and expectations for contactless experiences but also the desire for more personalized content. Also, seamless two-way communication with those attendees and presenters who may not be physically present will have an important role. Organizations need to assume they will have some important presenters and clients or prospects unwilling to travel, so they have to design-in a separate experience for them that is both impactful and timely.

While the long-term impact on corporate experiences is uncertain, in the short term a number of areas have been impacted. Today, determining why you are hosting an event and what the experience says about your brand needs to be right at the forefront.

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