So, are virtual events part of the ‘new normal’?
When we asked, the response is generally one of looking forward to the return of physical events, with a need to find alternative ways of promoting their Brand in the short term.
The technology is not new, digital engagement on physical stands has been close to our hearts for a while now. Bringing the physical and virtual together can be valuable in creating an interactive experience for clients, whilst retaining the physical connection which helps to grow loyalty.
Unfortunately, with the way some marketing budgets are structured, there is not always the budget for these ‘new’ options to be incorporated, and the focus remains on the tangible, physical presence which draws prospective clients to the stand, rather than those which may help to extend their visit once they are there.
Virtual events on their own certainly have a part to play in these strange times , however, on their own they cannot deliver on the full emotional connection, which the theatre of a fixed, anticipated date along with good exhibition design and a planned product launch or big news story can.
Without having to consider the boundaries of the physical realm, Virtual will allow for exhibition designers to really stretch their creative muscles. However, we believe that it is only in the physical realisation of these designs that the true ‘wow factor’ resides and that chemical, almost primal, connection is made to a Brand.
Does that mean that a virtual stand has no place after the pandemic?
We don’t think so - virtual has the possibility to change how exhibitions are thought about. Having a virtual version of a physical stand, could extend the return on investment period, leading to a restructuring of marketing budgets to remove the traditional silos, with virtual stands forming part of marketing campaigns between events too.
Virtual stands can be incorporated into the physical stand at an event too, delivering the digital interactivity we have been proposing in stands for some time, extending the visit times and, importantly, reducing the time and drive to visit those of competing brands!
So, is it a change?
As virtual was around and growing prior to the pandemic, this is not a change, it is an acceleration of its use and, as discovered with working from home (covered in our previous article Here), virtual just does not deliver at a very human ‘gut feeling’ level on its own.
Next we will explore changes in the world of Graphics…