Through Corona there are more and more digital events. We show what digital events are and what advantages and disadvantages they have.
“Together we are strong”. Man is without question a herd animal. We enjoy being together with others. At private meetings as well as at trade fairs, workshops or discussion events. This year, most events have fallen victim to the corona virus. Hygiene and distance rules prohibit the gathering of many people – at least in the present form. Digital events are increasingly replacing conventional meetings.
Explanation of terms
The problem is recognized. Many companies are now “only” adjusting to the new situation. This means: They are forced to develop new strategies, such as how to successfully move events into the digital world. There are many technical tools available to enable events to be held online.
The challenge: to find the right one from a wide range of possibilities and to put it together in a suitable package of measures. The chaos often begins with the most diverse terms that are used.
1. Remote Events
A remote event is defined as a collaboration at a distance, e.g. via e-mail. Usually team events or team workshops within an organization are called remote events.
2. Virtual Events
In virtual events there is no physical contact between the participants. Platforms are created on which participants can move in digital spaces with personalized avatars. Content can be designed interactively. Presentations and lectures can be recorded and downloaded. This format is particularly suitable for trade fairs or product presentations.
3. Online Events
Online events are currently perceived by most people as webinars, GoToWebinar, WebEx, zoom, webcasts, web briefings, Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Google Hangout. The basic idea is that they bring a group of people together to experience content in a live virtual format – often in the form of video conferencing. Our colleague Wolfgang Rathert has already described in detail how to conduct an online event.
4. Digital Events
Digital events are interactive, staged and experience-oriented events, which are realized in digital space (online) with a wide variety of platforms and tools.
What makes a digital event successful?
As with any analogous event, a comprehensive and well thought-out concept is the key to success. The next success factor is content tailored to the digital format.
Unlike live events, the digital event requires a special entertainment talent from the presenters and speakers to keep the participants engaged in the broadcast over a long period of time. Even at analog events, boredom is no pleasure, but at digital events it is very critical, because bored participants simply switch off at the push of a button. Therefore: Start binding interested parties before your digital event: For example, in communities, forums and websites where you can arrange for participants to meet speakers and implement interactive games and puzzles to arouse interest in the event itself. Take the opportunity to ask participants what they would like to see at the digital event and what their expectations are. It is also important to explain what technical infrastructure is required for successful participation in the digital event.
Don’t forget the interactive elements during the event. A digital event should not just be a frontal sound system. For example, integrate online whiteboards for digital collaboration or digital playful elements.
Don’t forget – the communication after the event. This is where the interest for the next event is placed. The most convenient way is to link to the digital event website and communities on social networks such as LinkedIn. This way you publish all the useful information of the digital event and receive direct feedback.
However, the best way to address participants directly is still with structured e-mail communication. After the event, you will thoroughly analyze what your digital event has achieved and what you can do even better in the future.
What are the advantages & disadvantages of digital events?
Internal and external events are indispensable not only in the business-to-business sector. They are usually an integral part of corporate communications. And if presence communication is not possible, digital events provide a remedy. By the way, there is a clear trend towards less product presentation and more useful content and expert knowledge. Digital events are not only to be seen as a substitute, but also in the future as another way of bringing people together and working together.
Advantages of digital events
- A very high reach of the Internet allows unlimited capacity for your event, worldwide.
- Getting to know participants and speakers in detail is possible through more intensive cooperation.
- Cost-effective, as the organizers and participants do not have to pay for travel and accommodation costs or catering.
- Time can be saved by eliminating travel to and from the event.
- Better evaluation possibilities for the follow-up of topics, speakers, sessions, etc.
- New creative impulses through modern digital forms of collaboration and idea generation
Disadvantages of digital events
- The basic prerequisite for a digital event is technology. It can become a disruptive factor (connection speed, wrong settings, IT guidelines at the company, etc.).
- A lack of personal contact creates less familiarity and emotions and the sense of community is more difficult to convey.
- With a worldwide digital event, the global time difference must be taken into account.
- Networking is of course easier with face-to-face communication at a real event than via digital channels, at least more familiarly.
- Attention and creativity often cannot unfold as it would have in a particularly inspiring place, as one is still in one’s familiar surroundings, such as one’s workplace.
Digital events have, according to the circumstances, gained enormously in importance in 2020. The technical possibilities are manifold and already offer a solid infrastructure for the successful realization of different kinds of events. However, it requires enormous expertise and skills to digitally plan and execute an event, trade show or award ceremony. Every type of event, whether on-site or digital, has its advantages and disadvantages.
Authors: Inga Schmidt and Christoph Blase