Shortly after the world made the sharp pivot to virtual events, many people in the event industry started talking about hybrid. It was our way of being practical and optimistic. Certain that in-person events would return at some point, we agreed it would be a process. And with the next 12 months looking like our transition year, many have predicted smaller, regional in-person events with a complementary online experience.
With 2021 in now our sights, it’s time to get serious about what that hybrid experience will really be. Because if we do it right, hybrid won’t just be a placeholder until we “get back to normal.” It will become the new standard. The new normal.
Cramer’s Executive Creative Director, Mark Wilson, has been thinking a lot about how to build a unique experience.
“There are now two groups to consider—the venue audience and the virtual audience. Both must be treated equally and provided access to the same experiences.”
A livestream from the back of the ballroom won’t do. Fast company points out that events must be “optimized for a variety of different ways people choose to watch and participate.” Events will depend on all audience members being seen, heard and felt.
Finding effective ways to integrate a presence for the virtual audiences at the physical venue will be critical. And it opens exciting opportunities. Think about it – we’re no longer limited by geography and travel costs. Wilson said, “when you can be anywhere and meet anyone, when you can easily move between the physical and digital venues, experience planning takes on new dimensions.”
Successful hybrid events will depend on reimagining the event planning process. Venue design will no longer lead the experience design conversation it will be partnered with virtual planning. Event organizers will need to adopt a design thinking mentality to build audience first experiences.
This post was originally published on the Cramer blog.