At the event Dries Mahieu from the 27Names Belgian partner, The Oval Office, shared his 10 learnings from the past 12 months in the virtual event space. Guest speakers Corie Hawkins of Google and Philipp Bodzenta, from the Coca-Cola Company in Austria, later shared their perspectives on how the pandemic has shaped their communication strategy in the short to medium term.
The 5 key trends identified and explained with examples by Verve were:
1.Home for everything. Home will continue to play a role as the ultimate multi-functional ‘venue’ with 84% of employers predicting that ‘working from home’ will continue in some form post-pandemic. “Brands who can deliver rich immersive experiences to the home will be the winners of 2021” Supporting case studies references included Secret Cinema from Haagen Dazs and the Stella Artois Hotel.
Häagen-Dazs has partnered with Secret Cinema, an immersive storytelling company, to bring ice cream and cinema lovers ´Secret Sofa`, a weekly film series featuring thematic pairings of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. “Finding credible event partners to deliver experiences at home to your audience is a very interesting strategy”.
Stella Artois helped turned consumers' homes into a ‘virtual hotel’ with experiences curated by celebrities. For example, Eva Longoria acts as your personal chef or you can take a Zoom call with Andy Cohen. “Brands are developing rich experiential campaigns even during the pandemic and this is a great example”.
2.Craving connection. 1 in 3 reported feelings of social isolation and detachment from key relationships during the pandemic. “Events and brand experience has a key role in building communities and helping people feel connected during the pandemic”. Supporting case studies references included Spofity’s The Sound of Colleagues and Replika AI Chatbot.
If you’ve missed the sound of your colleagues in the office, pay attention to Sound of Colleagues. It mimics the chatter, keyboards, telephone and general noise of a typical office. “It’s a fun example of how people are trying to feel ’normal’ during these strange times”.
3.Unplugging by replugging. Verve said that the wellness industry is worth $4.5 trillion dollars and 77% of people say that wellness is very or extremely important to them. “The events and live communication industry must continue to find ways to weave wellness into their projects”. Case studies included the Echoes geo-located sound walk app and LuLuLemon’s interactive mirror.
Echoes Geo Targeted sound walks is a collection of immersive audio walking experiences that you can take in natural landscapes. “Technology delivering a richer experience of nature is a very interesting concept”.
4.Making a new world. “We live in an age of Black Lives Matter, Me Too and Climate Strikes – and creative agencies must find ways to integrate these cultural revolutions into events and experiences in a meaningful way. 74% of consumers expect brands to make a stand on important issues”.
Case studies included Hellmann’s Animal Crossing Island because is a way of connecting with their audiences. They turned spoiled ‘virtual’ turnips into real meals for the hungry. Hellmann's opened up its own island on the massively popular Nintendo Switch game, the company will begin taking donations of spoiled turnips. For every one dropped off on its island, the brand will donate one meal to Second Harvest, a charity that feeds people in need.
5.Space to play. “Live events will be transformed by the pace of innovation in technology we’ve seen over the past 12 months from AI, VR, AR to integration into gaming platforms”. Case studies referenced included the Vancouver AR Mural Festival and the Travis Scott Fortnite concert.
While art galleries might be closed, the Vancouver AR Mural Festival turns a city into an interactive, open-air gallery featuring Augmented Reality (AR) created by several artists.