In the last two years within the events industry, previously unchartered waters have since been chartered. The unknown has become known. The impossible has become obvious, and the notorious has become glorious. Those who pivoted, survived. What we’re left with is an industry that has emerged and evolved through unprecedented change. Yes, there were undoubtably obstacles and challenges throughout the pandemic, but were they all that bad? We would argue that they were not. We learned new ways to deliver the best in class professional event management service for our clients. We used it as an opportunity to reinvent and to better ourselves.
Our client preferences and expectations have shifted. Parallel to this, enormous cultural and societal transitions are taking place. Corporations are expected to behave more responsibly and ethically in society more than ever before. Digital engagement is increasing exponentially. The funky people of planet earth are demanding more from event professionals. Sustainability is driving unprecedented change. With all this in mind, we explore the changing nature of consumer preferences and comment on emerging technological trends for 2022 and beyond.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, we went looking for a solution. What we found was that there was no ‘one size fits all’ solution to tackle the digital needs of our clients. The end goal with any of our events is a memorable experience for the participant. With Zoom fatigue becoming the new found Bane in our lives, our challenge lied in energizing our welcome guests. Unique and personalised experiences were at the centre of every conversation with our clients. Instead of offering a one-stop shop solution, we listened to the needs of our clients and developed a technology ecosystem encapsulating a multitude of strategic technology that worked for them in delivering their message.
In partnership with Guinness and the Guinness Six Nations, Verve undertook the enormous task of producing their 2022 Virtual Media Launch. This event was the epitome of our bold personality and relentlessness efforts to exceed client expectations. Working with Guinness, we developed a technology centred event management plan that played to their strengths.
We achieved this by:
Another key focus area for Verve during this event was the creation of pre and post event content. Each member of the media received a pre-launch gift in the post and a virtual press pack. Post-launch media were provided with recordings from the day to use in their content. During the event, live speaker sessions were being created and captured.
On Demand Content is becoming essential within the event management ecosystem since the virtual revolution. On demand is enabling our attendees to re-watch and re-live the experience of an event, as often and as frequently as they wish. The other advantage of on demand content being realised is the ability to measure engagement with it. The more people are engaging, the more we can subsequently understand our audience and what interests them most. With the ever increasing challenge of capturing attention, the most important asset within your armoury is the content itself and its accessibility.
You cannot explore the future of the events industry without realising the significant hype around Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Is it warranted? Absolutely. Industry experts are prophesying these immersive technologies to dominate the event landscape of the future. AR technology provides an interactive and immersive experience that enhances real-world objects in your environment with added auditory and visual aspects. Meanwhile, VR technology can simulate a completely different world or mimic real-world experiences. Check out our podcast exploring these technologies here
We believe it is not a question of if these technologies will emerge, rather it is a question of when the technology itself becomes widely affordable and accessible. Their competitive advantage lies in their interactive, ‘real life’ feel. Rather than listening and consuming live virtual content on a screen, these technologies catapult you into a far more memorable and exciting immersive experience. As 5G accessibility increases, and VR headsets become widely adopted in society, AR/VR will be fantastic assets to any event manager looking to capitalise in the market.
A fantastic AR brand experience that surfaced while researching was by sportswear heavy hitters – Nike.
NIKELAND X Roblox
Nike introduced the NIKELAND Roblox AR experience into their New York City flagship store just last month. Using a Snapchat lens, Nike shoppers can see the floor of their House of Innovation space transformed into an AR version of NIKELAND, including the Nike avatars, games to play such as ‘Floor is Lava’, and a NIKELAND-inspired Easter egg hunt!
This is an awesome example of how brands are adding an interactive layer to their traditional storefront. This AR experience is an extension of the NIKELAND Metaverse.
The Metaverse conversation is gaining traction in the events industry, and we feel it’s a topic worth contributing on ourselves.
Are we moving towards an enormous disruption to the industry with the coming of the Metaverse? There are divided opinions on this, and it has caused some interesting conversations and debates around the coffee table at Verve. We describe the Metaverse as a VR fuelled artificial universe, unlike anything that we’ve seen or experienced before. Sporting a VR headset, you can immerse yourself into this alternate universe and do pretty much whatever you like. Pretty cool eh? Pop stars such as Post Malone, Ariane Grande and Justin Bieber have hosted virtual concerts in the metaverse to critical acclaim. For an insight into what these interactive virtual events are like check out the video below of Justin Bieber’s concert in partnership with Wave.
The centre topic of debate is whether or not it will replace live, in-person events in the future. As an event management company, we’ve been part of an enormous amount of live events in our 30 years in the events world, and if the last two years have thought us anything, it is that human interaction and socialisation while enjoying a shared experience is deeply missed. As with all technology, VR and the Metaverse will need to go through a maturing process before it can be as impactful as predicted. When that time comes, we’ll be ready.
The potential industry impact will be minimal initially, however it is something we have not dismissed at Verve. We believe it will serve a purpose as an event venue in the future with unlimited creative options and that excites us. However, while its potential opportunity is duly noted, its use at the moment appears to still be avant-garde for most businesses and their needs, particularly the need for widespread adoption of the VR headsets beyond the gaming community.
As outlined, there is a lot to be excited for within the industry over the coming years. The recent relaxation of restrictions has hopefully set us on our path to freedom. Clients have come out of the traps, eager to build shared experiences and memorable events. As an event management company, we are eternally grateful to them for seeing our ability and potential – our Verve edge. These technologies will only make us stronger. They will aid us in our ultimate aim of creating communities around our events and delivering best-in-class production – be it live, virtual or hybrid. The need to exceed is what gets us out of bed in the morning.
Furthermore, event tech allows us to think and plan sustainably, and reduce any unnecessary wastage in our operations. This plays a key part in retaining our ISO 20121 accreditation which we continue to fight for and take very seriously. With continuous assessment and annual audits, ISO ensures Verve always works more efficiently, with a focus on how to reduce the environmental impact, raising awareness and engagement through creativity and improving the offering and value for money as an agency.
Verve wants their sustainable practices to inspire sustainable ideas.
By Andrew McCormack
Verve is an agency celebrating 30 years at the top of the events, experiential and marketing industries. This podcast pulls from that wealth of experience, giving key insights from the past, tips for the future, and everything in between.
You can listen to all of The Verve Experience episodes here: https://audioboom.com/channels/5045240
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