March 30, 2022
The new pandemic reality has seen the event industry embrace various types of hybrid experiences. While these events have had their share of success, new challenges have also emerged from this movement. It was under this rich theme that Infopresse held the Event Summit: Reconnecting with your customers on March 17 in Montreal. The objective of the summit was to explore the different forms of hybrid events, the challenges and opportunities associated with them, and to reflect on the future of this experience format.
The summit hosted a variety of experts who were able to share their respective experiences, as well as lessons learned and some thoughts for the future. The event concluded with an inspiring discussion between Arnaud Granata, President of Groupe Infopresse, and Jacques-André Dupont, President and CEO of C2 International. Here are some of the highlights of their conversation.
The pandemic has forced organizations in all sectors to rethink their priorities and, in a way, get back to basics. For Jacques-André, who arrived at C2 at the same time as the pandemic began, the challenge was to redefine what C2 wanted to offer its partners, clients and community.
“We finally realized that what was important was not so much the organization of an event, but our ability to connect, engage, energize and even monetize a community,” he told Granata.
By leveraging this world-renowned expertise, C2 was able to not only help its clients and partners deal with the pandemic, but also position itself internationally as a leader in the event industry.
The 2021 edition of C2 Montréal, which was held for the first time in a hybrid format, made it clear that even though face-to-face meetings were once again possible, there was still some concern among participants, many of whom decided at the last minute to attend the event only virtually.
“It was a great learning experience for us to realize that human psychology and the public health context must be taken into account because it is stronger than we think,” said Jacques-André.
While he noted that nothing compares to the magic of face-to-face meeting, he added some nuance to the hybrid mode: “There are advantages to hybrid formulas in events if you do it for the right audiences and to meet specific needs.”
Indeed, some audiences have a natural inclination toward digital events.
“We’ve seen the arrival of a new clientele that didn’t exist before,” said Jacques-André. “A younger clientele, already engaged in the virtual world, and for them it was a big plus to connect to the event, to network. It was not a clientele we were targeting before.”
In light of all these lessons learned, and considering the uncertainty that is now part of our daily lives, what can we expect for the future?
According to Jacques-André, people are eager to get back together in person. For example, he cited one of C2’s new clients, Twitch, the technology company offering streaming and VOD services. “Is there anything more ‘online’ than Twitch? Yet these people are asking us to create events for them in person.”
“For me, the key word in events is the word energy,” he said in closing. “Take the thread that connects Osheaga, Just For Laughs, Infopresse events, C2 Montréal events — it’s the level of energy we create by putting people together. Yes, we can achieve it online if we’re not worse. But it will never be at the level you can achieve in person.
“Energy is an essential human need and these meetings will be essential. So I’m extremely confident about 2022. I’m talking to a lot of organizations and partners and everyone is connecting to make 2022 the year of the rebound.”
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