We are just at the beginning of hybrid and it will continue to evolve.
It is not just about creating a tailored experience for the in person and online audience, it really comes down to how you connect the two in a meaningful way.
People are dipping their toes in to try, with a simple one location hybrid, meaning they are broadcasting their event from a single location.
This is just the beginning, however, event organizers need a compelling metrics to make the leap to something like a large multi hub or hub and spoke model.
In other words, What will it gain them versus a single location…
Seeking Simultaneous Experiences
This is not two separate events it is your content delivered to two separate audiences at the same time.
Reverse the content strategy. Instead of presenting at a conference and then asking people to go to breakout rooms to discuss , ask questions and workshop ideas, pre-record your presentations and send it out to attendees, live and remote to watch before hand. Then the in person/hybrid event is a coming together of minds that know that content.
Hybrid is Math
The other day I was struggling to program something. The formula wasn’t working. Frustrated I sat outside for a moment to think. Then realized that it was math, and the great thing is that math can be reversed. i.e. to get two you can write: 1+1=2, but you can also say 4-2=2.
That is the opportunity that lies ahead with Hybrid as a format. The formula we have used for years and how to deliver content can be reversed, flipped on its head and jumbled around, as long as it is still focused on getting the result we are looking for.
Instead of presenting content in person and asking people to go to breakouts to discuss, workshop and ask questions, why can’t we reverse it? Maybe we can get people together in person, connecting them with remote colleagues to workshop a problem, discuss an issue and ask hard questions, then create presentations around the findings for the community to absorb. Again, 1+1=2 but so does 4-2.
This is where we can create bigger and better connections. People discovered during virtual events that they could expand their audiences and reach more people. People attended more meetings and conferences through virtual then they could have before, because of a lot of the barriers to entry they had before were eliminated, like long distance travel, time away form the office or visa and immigration restrictions (which got more stringent throughout the pandemic). Now, however, the ability to connect with colleagues and other professionals in their given fields has gotten easier. Using video conferencing solutions integrated into an in-person experience, you can find interesting ways to allow remote attendees to connect to in-person attendees with virtual phone booths, guided workshop sessions including remote and live attendees and networking appointments.
Hybrid needs to be integrated into the over all strategy – it is not an either or equation.This strategy needs to create a sense of community for your attendees, making them part of the brand experience. Encouraging them all to interact. This doesn’t all have to happen in one single day, but can be part of an overall story telling experience that culminates in the big event.
Event organizers are realizing that virtual can be a great top of funnel strategy that allows them to reach and interact with customers and their communities in a much broader way, but that should be driving attendees along that funnel and be part of a larger strategy. Adding hybrid to the mix should not be an either or proposition, but should be added to the overall strategy to meet objectives.
Over the next few weeks we will be examining a variety of different Hybrid event models. Subscribe to our list to get these insights into your inbox.