Back | 2 September 2021

The next normal: what’s new for events in Q4 and beyond?

For many businesses, “back to school” in September presents an opportunity for a renewed focus on the final quarter of the year and beyond. So, while we continue to progress towards the next normal (and the next one, and the next one), what are the three pillars of consistent and effective event communications for your organisation?

For many businesses, “back to school” in September presents an opportunity for a renewed focus on the final quarter of the year and beyond.  So far, 2021 has again been a series of curveballs for organisations trying to get back to some sort of normal, requiring maximum flexibility in their relationships with employees, customers, and partners.

While the uncertainty is easing and there is a gradual move back to live meetings and interactions as part of the event mix, as groups and workforces we remain dispersed and disconnected because of the pandemic.

What’s more, we have all changed over the last 18 months.  Faced with unprecedented challenges and circumstances in all areas of our lives, many of us have re-evaluated our priorities and the way we live, interact, work, and consume.

Which means that, whether your objective is to connect with your investors, motivate your salespeople and employees, or engage your customers, the role and impact of event communications has never been more important.

So, while we continue to progress towards the next normal (and the next one, and the next one), what are the three pillars of consistent and effective event communications for your organisation?

Creativity

Regardless of event format or mix, the creative approach must be human-first.  Even with the restrictions on live events since last March, we have continued to pioneer creativity in the virtual and hybrid space for our clients, pushing the boundaries of what seemed possible to provide the most memorable and engaging event experiences.  There is no substitute for creativity and no amount of cutting-edge virtual or hybrid technology can make up for mediocre content.

Agility

The disruption and uncertainty of the last 18 months has forced us all to become more adaptable.  This is a good thing, but we recognise that it’s difficult to plan when there are so many variables to consider.  A communications approach that allows for maximum flexibility in terms of format and content is essential.  Virtual, hybrid, live, and on-demand (including podcasts) can – and should – all be considered as part of the event mix, and working with an events partner who has the agility to plan flexibly with you will offer the greatest support.

Integration

With agility and broader strategic imperatives in mind, now is the time for events to become a more integrated part of the overall digital marketing and communications function.  Speaking operationally, marketing and event teams may well merge, as the focus shifts from getting people to simply attend an event, to providing information audiences want to receive, when and how they want to receive it.  This is true progress and an unexpected but welcome outcome of the challenges presented by the pandemic.

What’s exciting is that the next 12 months will continue to drive innovation in our industry.  We all recognise that the COVID recovery period is going to take longer than we hoped, but what better opportunity to reassess the role of event communications in your organisation to ensure it is fit for purpose for the next academic year?


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