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24 June 2021
Post-COVID live events will mix physical and digital
Major events and brand activations in the post-COVID age will involve the “co-mingling” of digital and physical elements, according to Bob Bejan, corporate vice president of global events, production studios and marketing community at tech giant Microsoft.
Why it matters
The events sector was forced to innovate by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resultant levels of engagement, inclusion, efficiency and effectiveness may permanently reshape the industry, and how brands engage with consumers through physical activations.
What next for events?
Microsoft Build, the firm’s in-person developer conference, used to attract some 6,200 developers. But 2020’s all-digital version reached an audience of 197,000.
This included people who typically would struggle to attend, such as those who could not afford to travel, or individuals who are not comfortable with attending live events.
As physical events bounce back, Bejan predicted, the digital audience will “co-mingle and interact with the people that are live in a given location”.
Bejan told an online audience at Cannes Lions Live he believes events will now revolve around “the delivery of a digital core simultaneously around the planet”, with “big brands activating against that digital core with local and regional activations.”
“Corporate communications, events, conventions, expos, even things like Cannes Lions, will be incredibly influenced by this co-mingling of the digital experience and the live experience as we move forward to engage with each other, and brands with customers, in the future” – Bob Bejan, corporate vice president of global events, production studios and marketing community, Microsoft.