In the early days of the pandemic, event professionals were reeling. However, like the forward thinkers and innovators they are, many started to look immediately to the future, what the pandemic would mean for the industry, and how we could recover and grow.
Organizations and service professionals quickly shifted to virtual and digital solutions. This saved a lot of clients, kept the industry going and preserved a lot of hard-working jobs. Almost immediately in this phase of the “Pivot” event, experts started to think about what would come next. The word Hybrid started to be talked about and soon was embraced as the future.
Now that we are passed (hopefully permanently) the majority of pandemic challenges, event organizers still struggle with implementing Hybrid Events. Whether it is because of costs, struggling with converting their content or genuinely understanding what Hybrid means.
At the recent Canadian Special Events Event Fest Conference, Matthew Byrne participated in a panel discussion alongside fellow event professionals called “Hybrid is a Four Letter Word.” This was an opportunity for the planners and event organizers to hear from experts in event production, AV and virtual solutions, dispelling some myths about what Hybrid was and how it could be implemented.
Matthew emphasized a particular shift that event professionals need to remember:
“ Hybrid is not a format; it is a strategy.”
The reality is that if you assume that Hybrid is just a format, you may struggle with its implementation. Most assume that by adding a broadcast stream or integrating with a platform for virtual attendees, they can transform their event into a Hybrid format. This technically transforms your event into one set of content for two audiences. However, this ignores the opportunity to develop a larger community further and take advantage of the leaps and bounds of technology development over the last three years.
The marketing industry has been successful at this for over a decade. A quick search of marketing professionals across a platform like LinkedIn will flood you with results of titles like “Integrated Producer” or “Integrated Marketer.” Integrated marketing has been a staple of the marketing industry for years. As event professionals, we should be taking a cue from this related market to take cues on how we think of Hybrid as a strategy rather than a one-off event format.
No one will ever attend an event in a Hybrid way. The reality is they will attend either in person or online. This presents an exciting opportunity to rethink how we use our events as an integrated plan to engage and build communities for our brands, organizations and company culture.
By focusing on the content your events portfolio is creating for your particular audience, you can use a hybrid strategy to map out how you deliver that content throughout multiple platforms, formats and timing throughout a year. Shifting content best suited to a digital format, like a webinar, broadcast or on-demand video, can easily integrate into an overall plan to grow your audience for a live event. We love the possibility of using digital content to nurture a larger community that sees the live in-person event as a culmination of their mutual journey with a brand.
In the end, if you focus on just converting your annual event into a hybrid format, you will struggle with seeing the value in the additional expense and logistical challenges that come with it. But, if you instead look at that through the lens of an integrated hybrid strategy, you will reap the rewards of that investment for years to come.
Check out the full panel discussion in the video below:
We create Exceptional Production Experiences by gathering the right people and resources, paired with meaningful design and elevated production value. Because when experienced planners get pulled into the day-to-day of their event production, taking care of their stakeholders and audiences becomes impossible. At Byrne Production Services, we direct the technical production of each event using our Production Framework™ so you can be free to focus on the event experience.
Getting started on an Exceptional Production Experience is easy.
Book an exploration meeting with us, let us create a customized plan, then let’s work on creating something exceptional together.