Is virtual the new norm?
For all of us, in both our business and personal lives, the COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted the world we operate in and thrown us into strange and challenging times. It has affected many aspects of life but what is most interesting, is how people have adapted. Many companies and their employees are executing extraordinary measures to keep delivering products and services to clients around the globe.
It is the same with client communication. Let us consider conferences. Our conference planner is normally jam packed with exciting events providing a social platform to meet in person, educate and share scientific excellence with thought leaders from around the globe. In these unprecedented times, events have either been postponed, cancelled, or entered the virtual world at speed. Event organisers have been plagued with the unenviable challenge of re-thinking their delivery and marketing strategy quickly and in a way that convinces the die-hard conference goers that virtual offers the same value as a physical event. Whilst virtual platforms and digital streams are by no means new, many organisations would not have considered replacing attendance at conferences in favour of virtual events but are now contemplating whether the COVID-19 catalyst marks a time for their businesses to get creative and embrace this directional change.
For those experiencing virtual events for the first time, there are many questions. How does it work? Will it attract as many, and the right, people? What is the social etiquette at a virtual conference? For example, when someone visits your virtual stand/booth, how long do you wait before that initial introduction. Let’s face it, at a physical conference, we look, we read the signs, the body language, interpret and prepare to engage. By the same token we instinctively know and respect when someone doesn’t want to interact. Perhaps some of our stand visitors will make small talk to get freebie or two – no problem. As any event circuit veteran will know, we see, judge and make the decision whether to approach. In the virtual world we have none of those signals in which to make the best judgment. Instead we rely on email, live chat, and bot functionality. So, how do we know and does anyone really know? Does it mean we are waiting in limbo like a praying mantis for footfall to then snare our prey! This would be a somewhat overzealous approach. However, getting the timing right so not to put people off and get the most out of the virtual meet will be a key to success. The virtual psychology and social interaction experiment will be exciting, right?
For those making business decisions whether to attend events, the opportunity to save dollars or pounds may be an attractive, or even necessary option for the good of the bank balance and P&L, but going quiet in your market isn’t. In fact, now is the time for companies and brands to do just the opposite. There has never been a more important time to listen to clients’ needs and adapt accordingly. Who knows what the future holds and what it looks like for the global event industry? Times are changing but remaining connected by embracing technology, in whatever guise that may be, (baby boomers to new era zoomers), is key if brands are to remain visible to clients.
Broughton Nicotine Services is excited to be dipping our toes into the virtual world and supporting the Nicotine and Cannabis Virtual Event in June 2020. One lady definitely not to go quiet is our very own, Director of Product Safety and Compliance - Yvonne Wilding who will be presenting on Safety Evaluation of Extractables and Leachables for E-Cigarette Devices. Yvonne will explain regulatory requirements to demonstrate ENDS product safety (e-liquids and vape devices) and explain why evaluation of extractables and leachables needs to be a core component of any product development strategy.
This two-day virtual experience is packed with engaging content on regulations, consumer trends and innovation. It’s also FREE to attend, so grab a coffee and come and say hello at our virtual stand and see what you think.
Is virtual the new norm for the events landscape or are traditional events likely to return in the future – what are your thoughts?