Virtual Exhibitions and Events – a powerful tool to stay connected

The rapid outbreak of Covid-19 has turned business as usual on its head. With face-to-face meetings, events and exhibitions being cancelled or postponed, companies are being forced to find innovative ways to minimise the commercial impact and to keep business moving forward.  

There has been a fundamental shift in the strategic priority of companies embracing digital strategies and speeding up their timeline with digital transformation. One of the most drastic and urgent changes has been seen with events.  

For many companies, events are business-critical. It is an opportunity for them to meet their customers and demonstrate their latest products, services and innovations. A significant amount of business is conducted and they are a lifeline for many businesses.   

New digital tools and platforms can now enable businesses to create virtual exhibitions. They are fast becoming a new powerful marketing tool in keeping businesses connected to their customers.  

Not all solutions are the same 

To help our clients embrace new opportunities at this time POPcomms has developed a fully immersive and dynamic 3D virtual exhibition environment, which is fully bespoke to their needs.  

However, an increasing number of online exhibitions are becoming available. Businesses should do their research before opting for the first solution they find.  

The beauty of our virtual exhibition, as opposed to some of the other templated digital exhibitions that are becoming available, is its bespoke nature. In our opinion, it’s the difference in quality between an off the peg suit or going to a tailor on Saville Row.

Our Virtual Exhibition, which was mentioned in the UK’s No1 Business Podcast ‘Secret Leaders‘, encompasses a virtual 3D space online, where customers can explore and physically move around the environment, traversing the landscape that’s been tailored to their needs. Featuring 3D product models, videos, interactive presentations and a wealth of other assets. Audiences can fully immerse themselves within the experience itself.

Being able to fully interact with the space reaps many benefits. Not least being that ‘a whopping 47% of audiences retain the information they receive from interactive content 30 days after exposure compared to only 3% with a static experience’  

The future will see a two-stream approach to events  

The advantages of taking exhibitions online during the Coronavirus outbreak is clear. Social distancing may need to continue in some form in the future, which will affect exhibitions and events. A two-stream approach to events will be necessary so that delegates with underlying health conditions or those that don’t want to or cannot travel can continue to attend in a digital capacity.  

So, we believe that the value of investment won’t end once the lockdown ceases and the advantages of virtual events will be long-term: 

  • Cost savings – as a digital tool the interactives can easily be repurposed to use elsewhere after the event, unlike stands and other event costs, which are sunk costs
  • Driving business forward – it may well be the case that digital transformation has featured on a company’s to-do list for a while. Now is the opportunity to make progress in this area. By developing a solution that is vital for the current situation we face, but will be easily adapted to be used in the future
  • Increased reach – some customers just aren’t easy to reach or cannot always make it to see you. These tools broaden a business’s reach, opening it up to a larger audience  
  • Flexibility with on-demand content – customers can access the information at their own convenience. They can download any data or information they like 
  • Personalisation – interactives enable an experience to be personalised around the customer, so only information relevant to them will be shown
  • Analytics – data is crucial in understanding your customers’ needs and analytics can track every interaction and interest, something that isn’t possible at physical events  
  • CSR and Sustainability – reduced carbon footprint, in terms of travel and exhibition materials (stands, print, power etc.)  
  • Brand perception – lots of businesses talk about being innovative but don’t put it into practice, this tool demonstrates those credentials
  • Fits the new buyer persona – buyers have changed and want to research and interact with businesses in ways that are better for them. These tools are built with the customer at front and centre

Broaden your reach

Now, there really is no need for people to come to you when you can broaden your reach by making your most valuable and important of assets available virtually and globally. 

Created using Progressive Web App (PWA) technology which combines the very best attributes of responsive websites and native apps – think Pinterest, Forbes, Financial Times, Spotify, Instagram – these are all progressive web app examples. PWAs deliver a high level of performance regardless of device or network condition with native app qualities; they enable reliable, fast and engaging interactions.

Businesses embracing PWAs will see enormous benefits as it is fast becoming the natural next step in the evolution of app and web technology. 

Content is Still King 

But it isn’t all about the technology, content is still King and the technology really comes to nothing if the content and the user’s journey hasn’t been thought through.

In a virtual space, it’s even more crucial than ever to start with your audience first and not your technology. So, knowing what is most important to your audience is absolutely key to meeting your business objectives and hosting a successful virtual event.

Especially when you’re missing that face to face interaction and the valuable insights you gain from reading a person’s body language. You must understand how people want to interact with you in a virtual space and how you make it easy for them to do so. 

At POPcomms we do all this groundwork – we put ourselves in your customer’s shoes and ask those all-important questions:

  • ‘What do they want?’
  • ‘What do they need?’
  • ‘What’s their current reality?’
  • ‘What are their pressures?’
  • ‘What excites them?’
  • ‘What wows them?’ 

Knowing these answers defines the customer journey, the content to be shared and the creative magic that will resonate, bringing it all to life. We work with our clients on all of this and more. On their strategic objectives, messaging, design and development, data tracking as well as rollout and deployment – a complete 360 service.

What to do next 

Virtual events are still very much in their infancy and we are all learning as we go. But, without a doubt, those businesses that embrace this new normal will thrive.  

If you want to stay connected to your customers and keep those conversations flowing, by creating a virtual world for them to explore, we’d love to talk you through any ideas. So, please do get in touch. 

Take a look at our demo here.

Damjan Haylor
Managing Director

damjan@popcomms.com

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POPcomms
155 Whiteladies Road
Bristol, BS8 2RF
+44 (0)117 329 1712
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