How COVID has changed… user conferences

How COVID has changed...

May 2nd, 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: What do you think is the single biggest consideration for brands to integrate into post-pandemic user conferences once live returns?

how covid has changed user conferencesProgression. The biggest mistake you can make is to return to how your conference was run before the pandemic.  It’s a new world!  We need to embrace it.

The return to live raises to fundamental questions for user conferences.  First, how health & safety (H&S) protocols are handled and integrated into planning. Secondly, once you’ve got everyone in the room and ready to go, what changes can be made to embrace the strengths of live following an explosion of digital?

The pause in live experiences has focused our attention on safety. And it’s sorely needed.  Events in the U.S. need to embrace the H&S rigor of our international colleagues, ensuring attendees and crew can engage safely.  While developing live Covid-19 protocols, brands can then go one step further and update (or create!) broader protocols – from H&S to crisis management, training and even communications.

Many user conferences are coming off of successful virtual events.  Oftentimes reaching more people, in new ways.  While there is an eagerness to get back to the power of live , reassessing the experience design and agenda to optimize what live does well to mix it with the reach of virtual will be the mark of the top tier conferences.

Take a hard look at your objectives and the strengths of live, and redesign an attention-grabbing experience around them.  Technology has changed, user experiences and expectations have changed, and the opportunities to refocus are abundant.  Focus on human interactions and the power or serendipitous connections.  Create fully immersive experiences which embody the brand.  Celebrate the access to experts and executives.  Your audiences will thank you for it. See you in the ballroom!

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