Stefan Wieland, production director at Prisme International, gives Sound & Stage his expert interpretation of the impact experiential events have and how they contribute to the transformation of the industry.
In a series of evolutionary milestones which helped transform the event industry from audio visual providers to experiential event agencies, there are signs of further revolution from an industry still attempting to grasp its place within the changing role in the landscape of communications.
Having already reshaped the communications field through its experiential development of brand communications, the event industry is again well placed to lead the future of communications through technologies that are designed create fully ‘conditional realities’. In recent years, experiential event agencies — an upgrade from facilitators to 360 communications agencies — have experienced one of the biggest transformations within the events industry.
Nowadays, agencies have gathered creative, technical and technological skills that are the driving forces behind the ever-evolving events industry. From events to integrated guest experiences; this transformation is continuously developing and will witness further transformations within the next five years.
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Integrated Event Experience
In order to develop experiential events, all industry experts need to be on the lookout for methods and practices that allow them to adapt new technologies to create an integrated event experience. An understanding of the topic across all departments is essential and a must in a leading and successful event agency. Consequently, new team members such as social media specialists, media producers and even guest behaviour specialists will be required. The “new” integration of different communication platforms will not only change the events landscape, but will also generate new opportunities for experts in the event industry.
However, the focus towards this experiential revolution will be no easy task. Agencies will need to adapt and rethink traditional roles of employees, upgrading skills and realigning new roles to meet the challenge while new rhetoric, more suited to defining and elevating the relevance and purpose of its new position will be required.
Drive for targeted events
We have recently seen a market transition from large scale events to strategic targeted events designed to attract a smaller group of attendees. Taking into consideration the integration of technology and social media, organising smaller events with the right target group can create social media exposure like no other. To instil full interactivity within the event boundaries, event agencies must challenge niche suppliers to provide the capabilities and expertise that will allow them to engineer and connect these events to the cloud. This poses a challenge for industry suppliers and their abilities to cater to a wide range of events, which makes investment decisions a lot more difficult. Also the turnaround of rented kits will go higher — although the kits will be smaller, depending on the size of the event, the number of events will increase. Hence we can already foresee that skilled and technically experienced staff will be in high demand, creating a much more competitive market where only those with regularly-trained staff would be at the forefront in the events industry.
Times of lavish event production that have no clear purpose or objectives are long gone. The interests of a client have shifted towards the need for ROI — regardless of budgetary constraints. The integration of the internet in events through the most advanced technologies and tools has become a necessity and no longer a need. In order to measure ROI for quantifiable results, agencies will need to collaborate with traditional and social media to measure ROI more effectively.
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Changing the Game
The game changers in experiences are the agencies that understand the total experience approach by applying new techniques and practices. As a result, this creates a memorable, long lasting guest experience and builds a legacy. But the agencies cannot do this on their own — niche specialists or consultants have become an integral part of the supplied services rendered for experiential or Total Event Experiences. All established industry suppliers will have to up their services and knowledge in order to add to their range of services supplied.
What will the next level look and feel like?
Knowing how the industry is so well placed to lead in the next evolution of communications, the next level of experiential user engagement will look and feel very different. Events will evolve to become seamless, quiet and invisible, using big data and design intelligence to enhance, rather than interrupt or disturb, our lives.
Strategists and designers will become experiential compliants, shaping how we engage; making decisions and taking action by creating an environment that can be determined and controlled as required.
Of course, the evolution of the industry and the success of these relationships will ultimately determine the future of the event industry. However, it is well placed to lead the future of integrated communications.