Fueled by the Corona crisis, digital communication and virtual events have become must-haves overnight. Many different software tools are readily available as convenient quick fixes. It is false to assume, however, that an analog event automatically “translates” to an equivalent virtual experience simply by choosing the right tool.
If we take a look at the origin of the word „tool”, a suitable comparison quickly comes to mind: Imagine you want to build a built-in closet for a friend. You acquire wood and screws, a saw and a power screwdriver. In principle, you have the right tools and starting materials at hand now. Nevertheless, most people would not simply go ahead and start to build. Even the most beautiful built-in cabinet is useless if it does not fit into the intended space. A concept can only be designed with the correct dimensions and requirements in mind. Only in the next step does the carpenter make a plan and select his tools.
Aimlessly missing the target
What seems logical to us in a real piece of furniture is often forgotten in the whirl of turbo-digitization: True to the guiding principle “form follows function” or “form follows content“ respectively, a design is known to work best when the shape is derived from the purpose, the form from the content. When extended to virtual and hybrid event formats, I am of the opinion that software alone does not make an event, and event tools are no more than a means to an end.
If you start your event planning with the software selection, you force yourself into a creative corset – a possible reason why hybrid events as a medium currently remain far below their potential. In the worst case, the event remains without personal connection and is quickly forgotten, just as my colleague Jonathan recently described. The desired emotional activation fails to take effect, and thus the event has wasted its greatest marketing advantage.
The story sets the tone
To maximize impact, virtual experiences should be custom-made as well. Even in digital form, an event needs clear goals, strategies and a story – in short: a communication concept. And quite possibly one that differs from its analog counterpart. By putting all tools at the service of communication, it is easier to create fluid transitions between different event media. From the participant’s point of view, this creates a continuous arc of tension with a universally recognizable look and feel.
To emotionally activate participants, we start with the personal encounter. This encounter is then dramatized and staged as storytelling and the customer journey are elementary parts of well thought-out concepts, regardless of whether they are analog, virtual or hybrid in nature. With everlive we developed a communication channel, where the different requirements for software design and live communication are jointly thought through from start to finish. This allows us to create a seamless user experience where all touchpoints are a harmonious part of the bigger story.
In this way, the software follows the requirements of the communication concept and not the other way around. After all, it’s not the power screwdriver and the saw that build the cabinet – it’s the carpenter.