When I was a child, my mother had my “color matching” evaluated. This is the tedious process of putting color swatches next to your face to determine if you are fall, winter, spring or summer – or rather, if you look best in warm or cool colors. It was determined that I was a fall, as a warmer color palette tends to make my eyes pop more and looks best against my skin tone. When I wear these colors, I feel good about myself.

There’s no denying that the colors you surround yourself with in your day-to–day life can impact how you present yourself, act, and feel. As with the colors that we associate with different seasons, we can also relate them to our mood and how they affect us and those around us; warmer colors may feel welcoming, and bright, bold colors may elicit a sense of excitement and outgoing enthusiasm.

The same is true for an event space. The color used directly impacts the look, feel and the reactions of your attendees as they enter a space. There have been studies done that color also influences cognition and mood. Although the effect of your color choice may be subconscious to your participants, determining color enhancement should be based on what best suits your meeting’s goals.

Choose Your Colors with Purpose

Having your meeting’s message retained is key, and all five of our senses play a big part. However, with sight attributed for 83% for adult learning, color clearly can have a significant impact. Color assists an attendee to remember their environment, which can be very effective in a learning or educational setting.

It is a shift of thinking, since in many cases, companies choose company branding to be displayed during their meetings. Depending on those colors, it may have an adverse impact on their participants’ cognitive skills. You need to make sure color is chosen purposefully and relates to the message intended, rather than solely maintaining company branding.

Ready to Experiment? We Can Help

There are several colors in the rainbow, and with LED Lights, we can create most of them at moment’s notice. For your next meeting, try blue if you are having a brainstorming meeting and want to increase creative thinking. Or maybe, if you are just having a long day of meetings and want to make sure your attendees do not have the after lunch slow down, think yellow. Keeping the room bright will increase attention and optimism as the day comes to an end.

Curious to learn more? Check out my on-demand Professional EDge webinar session for an in-depth discussion on using psychology principles in the event space.

On July 17th, the UK government announced what we have all been waiting for: live performances can resume on August 1st, and conferences and business events on October 1st.  While this is great news for our industry, the threat of COVID-19 remains and events should follow our MeetSAFE guidelines to minimize risk.

With this announcement, the longing to host live events again has increased at a rapid pace. But because socially distant meeting layouts can lower the capacity of our venues by as much as 75%, we need to offer our clients solutions that enable them to connect with the same size of audience as before, but with a high volume taking part online. With a vaccine still some way off, these hybrid events could be our future for quite some time!

Hybrid events will have two audiences – one in the room, and one viewing from their home or office. I believe that we need to do everything we can to ensure that the guests taking part from home have the same experience as those in the room. At its simplest, we can stream a meeting to an online audience with little more than a camera and an internet connection. However, engagement is key for an online audience, especially with the distractions around the home or in the office.

When planning for a hybrid conference, there is a wide range of tools that we can use to bring together delegates in the room and online. Live-polling, Q&A sessions and even chat functions can ensure that everyone attending feels engaged and inspired. If speakers aren’t able to travel to present at your event, we can pre-record their sessions or even stream them into the room and onto the remote platform live.

Using Chime Live, the delegates who are attending the event in-person can interact with the conference using their own devices to answer polls, ask questions, check the agenda for the event or find out more information about individual speakers. The remote delegates are able to have the exact same experience, with the added functionality of a live stream of the event.

When producing a hybrid awards event for example, we can stream sponsors, presenters or even winners live from their devices into the room and onto the streaming platform. Competitions can be hosted using social media, allowing all guests to compete together whether they’re live or remote. Guests can even be brought together using live chat, so that people can interact and network as they would at a live event. Combining both audiences is key to ensure that those at home feel as much part of the event as those who are in the room.

It’s important to remember that the move to hybrid principles doesn’t always need to be viewed as a ‘problem-solver’. A hybrid event can actually increase the attendance at the event and add value – global pandemic or not. We have seen attendance numbers of virtual events outperform those of in-person events because of the convenience of attending remotely. Adding hybrid technology to an event will no doubt add some element of cost for event organisers, but this can be outweighed by reduced travel requirements and F&B spend, and can even add an extra channel of sponsorship for the remote platform.

We have an undoubtedly challenging time ahead of us, but hybrid events will enable us to support our clients to engage with large audiences both in person and online for some time to come.

Hint: It’s not about the platform

Over the last two months (though it certainly feels much longer), our industry has frantically been pivoting live events to virtual event formats. For many, this meant rapidly researching a vast array of streaming providers, web conference solutions, and virtual event platforms.

In the process, it’s also meant a lot of trial and error. How many of you quickly launched a web conference for hundreds of participants, only to realize that the platform alone doesn’t address everything you need to achieve your desired meeting outcomes?

In the rush to virtual, many of us have lost track of the most critical step in the process – event design! Here’s a reminder of two critical principles to consider when designing your virtual event.

1. A virtual event is not a direct translation of a live event

Zoom fatigue is real. If it’s not already a diagnosable condition, we’re probably not far off from seeing it in medical textbooks. With unlimited online and at-home distractions, it takes a different kind of focus to engage in virtual events. Coupled with the lack of visual or physical breaks attendees would typically have in a live setting, the ability to overcome these distractions can be overwhelming without the right balance of high-stimulation and lull time.

Second, it’s more challenging to establish emotional and attitudinal connections across cyber space. The networking that typically happens more serendipitously in a live environment must be designed with purpose in a digital environment.

2. You can warp time and space

We all struggle with attention spans in digital environments. But unlike the time or space restrictions you have in a live event setting, you can be more flexible with virtual events.

Engagement doesn’t need to happen at a specific time and can be stretched to meet the needs of your audience. Leverage the freedom of access and community building tools across time zones to meet participants where they are – delivering content when your attendees need it, and how they need it. Content such as on-demand video sessions or simu-live can open new opportunities for engagement with presenters and learning opportunities.

As the global event industry enters the recovery stage, there will be an ongoing need to engage remote audiences – either completely virtually or in a hybrid setting. Put the principles of event design first before considering the delivery platform and consider partnering with someone who can help guide you through the design process and create an experience that will be sure to meet your desired outcomes.

Our team has created virtual and hybrid solutions cultivated from years of experience. Connect with us to see how we can assist with your event design.

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none” shape_type=””][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]A Look at the 2019 Edition of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas

When people hear South By Southwest mentioned, they typically think of the music festival founded in 1987, however over its 30+ years, it has grown to encompass many more attractions than just the grass-roots music festival that it was once intended to be. Also known as “South By,” SXSW now includes an interactive media conference, a huge variety of education sessions and music, gaming and film festivals. Lasting for almost 3 weeks, South By sees nearly 80,000 people attend the various conferences and festivals, also bringing nearly $350 million dollars of economic impact to Austin, Texas.

Several members of our Encore Canada team traveled down to Austin, Texas in March to see what South By had to offer, and here are some key things that stood out!

Focused on Improving the Attendee Experience

As conventions and festivals grow in size they often develop a detached feeling for the individual attendee, and rightfully so; how do you create an individual and personal experience for each person when dealing with 80,000+ attendees?

South By has employed several empathy tactics to help connect with attendees on a personal level. Creating spaces such as a Wellness Areas, focusing on attendee’s safety through the use of holding graphics in sessions and implementing live breakout room capacity monitoring via public boards and the conference app are all fantastic ways to show your attendees that you really are thinking about their experience.

The Future Understands You 

Several major technology players including LG and Sony were showcasing futuristic concepts that can actually understand what you are feeling. Whether it is small robots that greet you while reading your facial expressions to understand your needs, or a mini robot dog that can really tug on our need for companionship and do it strategically 😉, it’s all exciting to us! Then we got thinking, and these questions arose:

  • What will this mean for events of the future?
  • Will we have event signage that customizes messages based on your feelings and needs?
  • Will we have event experiences that change based on the collective heart rate of the audience?
  • Can you imagine the possibilities?

Let us know how you see this fitting into your event!

Something For Everyone 

South By can certainly say they have something for everyone, with nearly 300 sessions per day, variety is in no short supply. Fortunately, the conference app allows you to search by things like interests to help focus on what applies directly to you. Smart event planning also meant that most sessions in the same track resided in the same or adjacent venues. This allowed you to maximize your time especially when sessions are held in basically every venue in the city. Some of the key tracks that our team focused on where: Cities, Government & Politics, Coding & Development, Design, Experiential Storytelling, Food, Game Design & Development, Intelligent Future, Social & Global Impact, Tech Industry & Enterprise, Touring & Live Experience and VR/AR/MR.

Standing Out – Brands Creating Their Own Spaces

Major brands are always looking for that way to make them stand out from the crowd. Over the last several years the tool for this has been activations, and South By was no exception to this. From shipping container structures, to bars completely transformed into a brand experience space – these installations truly do provide a unique personalized experience that focus directly on the brands defining traits and characteristics.

Some highlights for our team were the Dell installation at a bar across the street from the Austin Convention Centre, featuring an outdoor main stage and an indoor Dell feature tour showcasing some of their key technologies.

LG also made a big splash at South By, but perhaps we won’t see the ripple from the splash for a few years as their activation was VERY future focused. Robots that know your feelings, roll-up LED displays, ice cream/frozen yogurt capsule machines and even capsule based home breweries; LG certainly took us for a quick ride in a time machine to the maybe not so distant future. We even noticed several brands create impactful, personal activations right in the convention space and we see this as a great opportunity for a lot of our corporate clients looking to get a personalized message across to their attendees in a more personalized manner than typical plenary setups can offer.

DELL Technologies Activation

LG Electronics Activation

The common threads of Empathy, Emotion, Personalized Experience and Technology with a Purpose were evident in all aspects of this show. What can you do to create a more personalized experience within your next event? Understanding who comes to your event and why they are there are key factors to help you tailor your event to meet your attendees needs and wants. Taking the time to plan out the details, brainstorm them with your colleagues and/or industry partners will help you focus on what’s important. Creating those personalized experiences provides better value and meaningful interactions from live events for your attendees. So we ask you, “are you helping connect people in meaningful ways?”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” equal_height=”yes” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none” shape_type=””][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/4″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_color=”#e5e5e5″ column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][image_with_animation image_url=”12860″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”3/4″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”1px” column_border_color=”#e5e5e5″ column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]Author
Brian Johnston
Encore Canada
National Director, Creative Innovation[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]