Well, not exactly. For sure, the office is still closed, in-person events for this year are once again looking increasingly unlikely, and I continue to go for the full-broadcast hair and make-up on a daily basis whilst channelling Waynetta Slob from desktop down.
But …. the conference industry has surfed the wave of an incredible renaissance in only 12 months. Technology has literally been the savior of our company and many others, and has enabled the world to communicate, do business and stay connected.
In March 2020, we pivoted our entire business to virtual conferences and set out into a very different world. We have a truly remarkable team at Dynamic Events who never cease to amaze me with their can-do attitude, their positivity and their willingness to be led into an entirely unfamiliar landscape. Together we discovered what was hot and what was not, and how to deliver highly effective and engaging conferences.
We also learned how to modify our entire business model: we entirely changed how we were marketing and pricing; our operations developed rapidly, and we learned how to communicate remotely as a team and with our clients. Our core values of positivity, innovation, flexibility and care supported us to deliver the same exceptional event standards and client service levels as we ever had done.
To begin with our clients were very uncertain about running virtual conferences and many were keen to keep to Zoom or Teams as it was familiar. But gradually, as confidence has grown, we have seen our clients willing to try out new things and there is an exciting mindset emerging. We see our clients being prepared to trial new ideas and technology, take risks and innovate. And they are reaping huge rewards. They are now able to communicate effectively and at short notice, to their usual audience, but also to those that they have not been able to reach before – and all in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
We are also seeing rapid and innovative developments in the technologies available. The conference platforms are developing quickly, and there are new digital solutions coming on-stream all the time. Our team is now structured so that we have a guru for each platform that we partner with, and other staff specifically tasked to know what platforms and other technologies are emerging.
And so we come to hybrid, which for our industry is one of the best things to emerge from this past year. We will be able to have in-person events soon ….. and when we do, it will truly be a brave new world. We will be blending the in-person audience with the virtual one, and through these rapidly developing technologies we will be able to communicate like never before. A pre-Covid audience size of 500 can now easily be 5000, who will not only be receiving the conference messages, but will be communicating between themselves by using the technology at our fingertips, on an unprecedented level, and in a sustainable way.
So, March 2021 is not the same as March 2020. We still have a strong, passionate team, thriving on virtual conferencing whilst we cannot yet meet in person, but we are now strongly focussed on planning hybrid conferences that are effective, productive and energising. We still have our incredibly loyal and valued clients who have stayed with us throughout the past year, but we have also welcomed many new clients who are driving us to experiment and innovate.
I am incredibly excited about what the next couple of years will bring. When I look back at the enormous changes and achievements in just 12 months, I can only imagine how energising the next 24 will be. O yes – and I have had my first vaccine, so I am looking forward to the partaaay!