Genuine Question: Who Misses Physical Events?

/ 27 May 2020

Yet we’ve diligently travelled to them anyway. Why? To meet with our colleagues, clients, and partners, and to network and meet new faces? Because the rare killer event really does engage us and leaves us feeling better informed and more energised?

During the global pandemic, physical events are either being cancelled or moved online en masse. Ironically, once ‘virtual’, there seems to actually be more time to connect with people and, done in the right way, even greater opportunity to get more from the events themselves.  

Until now, running virtual conferences has primarily been the preserve of tech-literate and forward thinking organisations (and mavericks within them). This seems quite odd considering the advantages they bring, especially in creating excitement, building attendance and managing responses and post-event feedback in one place, and at a much lower cost.   

Award winning virtual conferences

We’ve been working with organisations leading the way in the virtual event space for a while now, including DBS Bank in AsiaPac, where we work on its award-winning annual virtual conference.  The conference is powered by 3radical Voco and serves interactive digital content to thousands of Vice Presidents (VPs) and Assistant Vice President (AVPs) from across Singapore. 

Game design mechanics are used to teach, engage, incentivise, and motivate the Bank’s employees to learn about its vision and strategic priorities. Throughout the week, new content is released, which attendees engage with when and how they chose. The content is specifically designed to motivate engagement through interactive elements such as polls, quizzes and competitions, along with bite-sized chunks of multimedia content. 

Leaderboards, based on points accrued for activity completion, and prizes in the form of eVouchers, networking opportunities with Singapore Management and even lunches with the Singapore Country Head, add real incentives for completing activities. In addition to daily themed content, delegates are encouraged to submit questions throughout the day, which are then answered by the senior management team, to boost engagement.

Iterating established events: Adding a ‘virtual’ layer

A well-known aerospace company that has run successful annual events for a while, but which struggled to track engagement, came to us for help. It had relied upon a static website that provided no opportunity to book sessions into calendars and no mechanism for attendees to provide feedback.  

By deploying the 3radical Voco web-based solution, attendees can now login, rather than sign-up (as the solution is integrated with employee IDs). They’re able to choose the sessions of interest and make appointments that are added directly into their calendars, with reminders.  Attendance levels have increased by a multiple of three and organisers can now correlate attendance with subject matter and are better informed. They can also collect feedback during and after sessions through polling, which collects and delivers insights quickly. 

Attendance levels have improved 3x

To encourage feedback, attendees earn parts of a virtual plane, which can be flown in a minigame against colleagues via a virtual leaderboard. Regardless of seniority, attendees embrace collecting the parts and playing in a friendly (albeit competitive) game.

The 3radical solution can be used to add a ‘virtual’ layer to physical events, but of course Covid-19 has put a stop to those for the foreseeable future. 

Richly interactive live virtual events are about to enter a boom period. One of the key realisations from our prolonged confinement is just how precious our time is. Events that allow participants to dip in and out at times that suits them, over a few days, will be gold. Such flexibility is key to DBS’s approach, “We run our conference in a way where it’s available, anytime anywhere. It’s available in the office, on corporate phones, personal phones or whatever your preference is. We run it over one week and you can go in whenever you want to,” said Wenxian Yeo, CCO at DBS Singapore.

Cleaner, more efficient, more cost effective ways of running events brought about by necessity, will still be there when we emerge out of the other side of this, and I think that’s positive for engagement, budgets, the planet, and my personal diary!  

Want to learn more about virtual events? Click here for more information.

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