A closer look at Immersive events

Author: Isabelle Ohler, M&a Event Producer - Asia Pacific

Immersive technology and events can make the participants feel deluged with experience. But how does one create an experience that services every attendee however different their expectations might be?

The answer always seems simple and easy on paper, but turns out to be one of the greatest challenges for every Event Producer. Here is one fact everyone can agree on - attendees expect more than ever when deciding to attend your events.

Any event has to serve as an experience which is in fact impacting all 5 senses. An immersive experience will create a way for your participants that makes them feel like they have stepped out of their everyday life and into a different world, which was worthwhile dedicating there very time-poor agenda to.

Obviously there are always plenty of ways to make the attendees be drenched with experiences, but most importantly one should integrate sensory experiences to deliver a memorable and even more meaningful event experience for the attendees.

The all important question of ‘how long is string’ comes into play when deciding on how to put your strategy into action. Attention to detail will always be key to fully saturate and satisfy your guests. By means of sound, lighting, performances, activations, and most importantly having all of these items aligned with a holistic event theme will strengthen the message and look and feel you want your attendees to take home with them.

While services, economic offerings and goods are purely external to anyone, an experience is inherently very personal and actually only exists on the attendees individual mind. One would have to be engaged on a spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual level through all 5 senses to actually be able to have a holistic experience.

All in all an event experience will always derive from the interaction between the individual’s state of mind as well as the staged event. As a consequence no two people out there will ever have the exact same experience.

Keeping all of the above in mind, how can an event organizer tap into each and every individuals mind? This will always remain the big question.

From wearable technology such as smart watches, Google glasses and near field communications, advances in mobile technology enables event organizers to tailor messaging to each individual event participant.

Here are 3 technology event trends which can add value to every single type of event.

Social Media

Event_Image_2Social media has become the most popular way to reach out to anyone in worldwide without even having to spend a whole lot of money. An increasing number of event organizers have already started to integrate social media into their event strategy in the recent years.

But it has become an inevitable part of every event in 2015 if you want to keep up with Jones of the event industry. Instagram, Facebook, live tweeting, you name it and you can be sure this social network has been or can be used to some extend at your event.

Overall social media is deployed to drive and enhance event attendee engagement in the most-cost effective way and create nuanced, long-term interactions with your attendees starting pre-event, continuing during the event and extending post event.

Hybrid Events

Hybrid events are where you combine virtual and live elements and are becoming increasingly popular in the age of modern technology. This popular mixture is used to reach out to a wider target audience and in addition extend event legacy through online-hosted content.

Hybrid events can be treated in several ways, some companies use them for environmentally conscious reasons as others purely want to save costs or make use of interactive videos as well as project mapping.

Some key reasons to hosting a hybrid event would be to connect main events with remote offsite locations, broadcast an event to any audience or being able to feature speakers you normally wouldn’t be able to get your hands on as well as connect multiple platforms.

But there are two very important challenges each and everyone should consider when wanting to host a hybrid event. Every onsite attendee is looking for this very unique and special experience and wants to network with other attendees as well as feel connected to the event.

As already touched on earlier one should always recognize that each distinct audience as different needs. It is therefore essential to come up with creative ways to engage not just onside but especially also off-site attendees. This goes back to the previous point of social media, which will enable one to engage with any type of audience.

Another aspect to keep in mind when wanting to plan a hybrid event is the use of content. In most cases only a specific selecting of content should be shared with off-site participants as not all content is necessarily appropriate for remote audiences.

Event Apps

Event_Image_1From general attendee engagement to social media over to hybrid events the last and most prominent technology trend in the event industry of 2015 is the event app. Event applications have never been more popular between industry insiders and for some are the most have of 2015.

In the past few years apps were mostly used by global or large organizations, but due to their popularity and success, have now won the hearts of each and everyone over. It is actually believed that mobile applications are already seen as an essential event component no matter what sort of scale your event might be operating at.

Apps not only eliminate printed materials but also serve as a tool to serve content and integrate all sorts of social media platforms. One of the biggest challenges remaining is to ensure that attendees actually download the application. Because no matter how much money and work you put into customizing your application, one must incentivise the actual download of the application to ensure it is used!

In turn apps should be very user friendly, easy to use, meet the expectations and needs of your attendees and generate an easy and measurable ROI.

Tools like tweet polling and crowd campaigning have proven to be a very successful ways to ensure participants download your application, as it makes them feel like their voice is being heard and they can suggest and contribute content to the event.

It’s a wrap

Never forget immersive events are unique. These events will always tell a story no other event has ever told before. Most importantly these experiences are seen as worth attending and spreading. They are experiences worth spreading and attending.

Ensure you involve all 5 senses of your attendee and make them become a central role of the unfolding event experience. Make your attendees feel like they are part of the lighting of the event, host the event at a never before used and secret location, connect with audience via the sense of smell and simply mesmerize and involve your attendees throughout the whole process.

You can be sure that this all will resolve in strong offline, as well as online, word of mouth.

About the Author

Leigh Stark

Leigh Stark is M&a's Senior Content Manager and SEO Specialist, responsible for being the company's go-to guy on all things Google, search, and content. A technology journalist before joining M&a, his expertise runs across fields, and his work can be seen across TV, radio, online, and print, and in publications such as Popular Science and The Australian Financial Review, as well as his own website Pickr.com.au.

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