Let it SHINE
Vok Dams has been at the forefront of events and live marketing since its inception in 1975. It currently employs over 300 staff worldwide and has won almost 250 awards for its work. So whenever the agency’s CEO Colja Dams and his team produce a future trends report, planners worldwide tend to sit up and take notice.
Earlier this year, Vok Dams’ Director of Strategic Solutions, Hannes Schwarm presented the agency’s formula for future success, SHINE (Sustainable, Hybrid, Individual, Networkable, Extraordinary).
SHINE was created in response to more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous market conditions. The agency uses it to guide planning and ideation and believes planners will have to consider the following attributes to future-proof event success for the long term.
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Sustainable action is so much more than simply staging more carbon-friendly events. Yes, planners must optimise their activity with Net Zero in mind and offset any occurring emissions but the environment is only one prong of a more sustainable approach.
Social sustainability should also hold equal billing. By carefully considering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) across all facets of event design - from venue and speaker sourcing to pre-event communications and the overall onsite attendee experience - you’ll ensure that every event is accessible and welcoming to all.
A key way to ensure that events are fully accessible is to place equal importance on both live and digital content.
The era of virtual events, ushered in by the global pandemic, resulted in vital upskilling, more technology solutions and accelerated digitalisation. It also placed greater emphasis on building online communities around events through year-round digital content such as webinars, blogs, podcasts and virtual meet-ups.
Hybrid no longer means catering for two audiences (in-person and online) during one event. It has evolved into a strategy of 360 community building, additional sponsor and stakeholder value, on-demand post-event content and personalised attendee experiences that complement each other.
Vok Dams is convinced that the Metaverse will evolve into the ultimate operating system for hybrid events because “there are no limits to the imagination and the social interactions come very close to reality.”
Individuality, otherwise known as personalisation, will continue to grow in importance. In our diverse and pluralistic society, broad generational generalisations will be replaced by a need to focus on the individual wants and needs of an event attendee.
More effective use of data powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) will pave the way for greater personalisation, allowing planners to automate certain aspects of the planning process and freeing up more time to create tailored experiences both online and in-person.
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Hybrid event design that makes education and learning readily available online and on-demand means that the in-person experience can focus more on social interactions - creating moments of serendipity that can only happen when people get together face-to-face.
“Go more granular with your content, add more sessions, more snackable formats, and let attendees dip in and out to keep them curious and engaged,” Hannes Schwarm, Director of Strategic Solutions at Vok Dams, says.
By creating formats and agendas that give attendees the time and space to network, you’ll provide important reasons to show up to your events and to return year after year.
For an event to be extraordinary, Schwarm says it needs to combine the aforementioned points and continue to surpass expectations. Planners should always strive to amaze and surprise with moments that stay long in the memory and are positively associated with the brand.
He concludes: “Events have to be extraordinary to lure people out of their comfort bubbles. We want to create lasting memories, anchor messages emotionally and bring community to life - and what better way to do that than with an event?”
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