First EMEA meeting as a hybrid event

The sales and marketing teams of a global company from the electronics industry hold an international EMEA meeting every year. As part of the event, new products will be presented and business strategies discussed in plenary sessions and workshops. Different framework events complement the meeting and offer opportunities for flexible communicative exchange. In addition, the most successful business strategies of the past year will be recognized at a festive award ceremony.

Other times require new ways

What so far has attracted around 250 managers for 2.5 days each year in various EMEA regions, was not possible in 2020 due to Corona. However, the importance of the event is so decisive for the company that a general cancellation was rejected. Under the given circumstances, new options had to be examined and discussed. The result was the first hybrid event in the company’s history. Not only should the originally invited 250 participants take part in the new event type, but also interesting partial content should be made available for other employees and customers. Within 2 months, a project team of company and agency representatives developed a comprehensive and networked concept that allowed the contents of the planned face-to-face event to be structured and adapted to the new event mode. In addition, it was important for the company management, in compliance with the general hygiene rules and precautionary measures, not only to drive the event online, but also to implement it in part as a face-to-face event. The opportunities of digitization should also be used to involve the participants more interactively and to present current opinions directly and visually.

A new combination: digital presence

The overall coordination and moderation was carried out jointly by a moderator and the management, who controlled the event from the company’s headquarters. The management and moderation of the different workshops took place decentrally. Through individual branches, i.a. new products presented and exciting topics for discussion. The strategy of the cross-regional distribution of tasks noticeably increased the commitment and motivation of the branches and the participants. For the event, the participants met in the individual country branches. The respective branch managers acted as local coordinators and moderators. A spacious event zone was set up in each branch, which complied with current hygiene regulations. The aim was to create a balanced division of common meeting parts and individual elements. For example, In the event zone, the plenary sessions are transferred to screens and the lunches are carried out together. For the workshops (individual registration), the participants used their respective workstations and PCs.

Active involvement of the participants increases attention

The active integration of interaction modules within the framework of the event offered excellent opportunities to present numerous contents in a new form and to allow the opinions and moods of the participants to be incorporated directly into the event. Care was taken to actively involve the participants through interaction modules every 30 minutes, e.g. via systems via mobile phone. This significantly increased the attention rate and the concentration and motivation of the employees. The award ceremony concluded on the evening of the first day. The second day began with a summary of the work results to date and continued the division of plenary situations and workshops. All participants then took part in a comprehensive feedback survey on content, but also on the new event format. The results of this survey were presented by the management on the same day as part of the final presentation. With overwhelming results, the first hybrid event found an almost entirely positive assessment. The participants particularly emphasized that the mixture between presentation phases and active integration encouraged a high level of motivation and gave the feeling of being able to contribute positively to the event. The new form of visualization was also praised. Work results or opinions could be presented in a short, concise and understandable manner. The fact that despite Corona it was possible to create a feeling of togetherness was very important to everyone involved. The mixture of presence event in the branches and online sessions offered the right approach here.

Hybrid events are becoming an integral part of live marketing

Overall, it became clear that hybrid events have the potential to be a valuable part of live marketing. In a situation without corona, the communicative exchange of a live event, a hybrid event, however, is significantly remaining in the opinion of most participants. The relaxed and uncomplicated exchange between the participants cannot be carried out in the same form at a digital event as at the presence event. Motivated by the positive experiences, the topic of hybrid events should in future be used as a valuable option in the company’s live marketing strategy.