The event according to: what new practices?

Intensive digitalization, changing uses, democratization of the virtual event and even the advent of the phenomenon " phygital »… Our events communication practices have been turned upside down in recent months, without anyone providing us with instructions. Now it's time for lessons. What lessons should we learn from this crisis, which is accelerating transformation? How to rethink events and their balance between real and virtual? What are the best practices of the hybrid?

The team We Are COM went to benchmark and find answers from two professionals in the sector. Invited this workshop of Club We Are COM, Anne-Sophie Berthon (NRJ Group) and Édouard Olivier (Parnasse) enlighten us on the following events and highlight new issues. So spotlight on tomorrow's events. Motor ! 🎬

Inventory of the event

A number of employees still practice teleworking and wish to see the format persist. digital of their events. Whether they take place in internal. as external and even in BtoC, virtual meetings have revealed their strengths: economy, accessibility, visibility, cleanliness and measurability. 

And the physical event in all of this? The virtual indeed enjoys considerable advantages, however the physical remains the bearer of a significant and non-substitutable emotional charge. The power of the senses brings to any real experience more enchantment and depth, engaging the public in a unique way. Note that 70% of consumers consider that emotions have a 50% impact on their purchasing decisions.

It is therefore natural that we are witnessing the development of this growing phenomenon: the hybrid event. A subtle blend of the virtual and the real, the challenge of which is to meet the expectations of two different audiences, without forgetting the interaction of the participants.

In terms of hybrid events, three main genres stand out:

  • The broadcast : an event with a double audience, on site and remotely.
  • Live streaming : an event recorded in a studio, to be viewed live or in replay.
  • The satellite event: a single meeting, made up of several small events linked together by digital.

To learn more about the good practices of the following events, do not hesitate to consult We Are COM cheat sheets.

Some inspiring events

🎃 A Halloween in-drive - Hulu

Hulu, the platform on-demand, revisited its annual Huluween event in Los Angeles, through experiential activation. The event took place in a car, in an immersive forest and in compliance with health standards. 54 disguised influencers could drop by a photobooth and watch a horror movie at the drive-through. Results ? 2,5 million impressions on Social networks.

???????? An escape game on site and on mobile - RMN / Grand Palais

Last September a vast project was developed by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN). The concept ? In 1962, an urban project threatened the Grand Palais with destruction. How to help the Minister of Culture André Malraux to conserve the monument? Escape game enthusiasts were able to revisit history and discover some of the secrets of the Grand Palais while solving the puzzles as a team. All for only € 7 per person, outdoors and on mobile.

(I.e. Alonzo, rapper from GTA - Puma Music Tour

In April 2020, the Puma brand gives birth to the first virtual concert in France in the generational game GTA, with Alonzo. One avatar of the rapper was thus created and dressed in his full Puma outfit. The stage was installed at the Vinewood Bowl and a tracklist was defined for the occasion. Each song had its own visual effects. Results? 80.000 viewers and over 1 million comments on Twitch.

🍦 Parisians' cinema on the water - Häagen-Dazs

Since 2018, Häagen-Dazs has gotten into the habit of meeting Parisians on the Champs-Élysées for a movie night. In 2020, the brand is innovating by organizing a physical event in the Villette basin, while respecting barrier gestures. Indeed, the Seine cinema welcomed spectators, installed in electric boats, in groups of 6 people drawn at random.

🎓 The Minecraft campus - Sciences Po Paris

Three students from Sciences Po Paris set out to reconstitute the famous school on the construction game. We find the wooden chairs, the cafeteria, the toilets and the bar so popular with the students of the establishment. The goal? Recreate the interactions that previously existed in a lecture hall, with the possibility of following the lessons online, while interacting. 

PROS lyrics

🎙 Two event communication professionals decipher the sector and its current changes:

  • Anne Sophie Berthon is Director of Production and Events at NRJ Group.
  • Edward Olivier is Brand, Communication, Digital and Events Director of Parnassus, the Selective Circle of the Orange group.

👋 Hello to both of you. What is the scope of your event actions? What are your targets, their particularities?

Anne-Sophie Berthon: Within the NRJ group, I am in charge of live shows and more generally of all events related to the group. As a reminder, the latter includes the NRJ, Chérie FM, Nostalgie and Rire & Chansons radios, as well as the NRJ12 channel. Our events are varied, ranging from a small operation during the preview of a film, to concerts bringing together 40 people. Thus, we are addressing two main targets. On the one hand, in the field, we work with a family target, in particular the youngest who attend their first concert and their relatives who accompany them. On the other hand, we are working on a more adolescent target, between 15 and 20 years old, depending on the musical perimeters.

Édouard Olivier: Parnasse is the selective brand of the Orange group and relies on the triptych: personalized connectivity, support by a personal digital coach and circle life. Our promise is therefore, among other things, to offer our members the opportunity to participate in a certain number of high-quality events. Indeed, the great peculiarity of our targets is the requirement. Originally reserved mainly for frequent travelers, our offer has now opened up to other audiences, in particular business leaders, the liberal professions and the self-employed. In short, Parnassus is aimed at those who want to put an end to the mental load linked to digital technology.

🤔 Have your jobs changed over the past year and a half? What are the evolutions and the invariable ones in your practices?

É. O.: Obviously with the Covid crisis, we had to rethink events and adapt them to digital uses. To do this, we tested different tools, platforms, service providers, etc. Participatory digital has worked particularly well, especially through initiatives that have allowed members to reconnect. I am thinking, for example, of the virtual intervention of a great chef, who delivered an exclusive recipe to the participants. After receiving their basket of ingredients, everyone could play alone, as a couple or as a family, and recreate a human bond thanks to this fun activity, live and guided by the Chef.  

Today, we are experimenting with hybrid events, which is proving to be both complex and extremely interesting. This new practice makes it possible to reach new targets. Parnassus was initially only present in Île-de-France, then on the Riviera since 2017. We can now extend our offer to many other regions.

As for our invariant, this remains excellence which results in the organization of prestigious events in small groups. Moreover, we rely a lot on hyper-personalization so that each member feels unique. To ensure flawless quality, it is essential to rethink the preparation of an event: digital requires hard work upstream and requires a lot of repetitions.

Finally, in terms of impact, we survey our members after each event, physical or digital. It is essential to constantly readjust your actions. Moreover, the particularity of digital lies in the fact that we can now instantly follow connections and this leads us to reflect on the pace to keep.

AS. B.: I would say that my job has not changed “for” a year and a half, but “for” a year and a half. The Covid crisis has changed our professions in the performing arts. We had to mix technology with IT, to reach a young audience and therefore already experienced in new uses. The challenge was to get up to date and quickly! Producing a virtual event also consists of learning to use new material and a specific vocabulary.

Of course, many questions have arisen in the face of these changes in practices. We had a legal apprehension, particularly concerning the databases of virtual participants. In physics, we organize free meetings open to everyone, where everyone is anonymous. What about virtual? What to do with the data collected and how to process it? Our reflection also focused on the risk associated with the dissemination of images. In the event of a live hazard, how can you protect yourself against the spread of content that has become viral? Should you insure your digital events?

At the end of the health crisis, we quickly decided to abandon digital, faced with the very strong desire of the public to find the events of before. Thus, our actions in B2C have resumed in physics, with the exception of our social media strategies. Today, digital continues in terms of B2B : presentations, marketing studies ... Digital saves significant time, logistics and budget. Attending a videoconference from your office has become a practice that is deeply rooted in our mores and it is, in my opinion, a very positive development.

📢 Anne-Sophie, how to give an echo to events beyond a moment T, a defined place? Is digital an undeniable asset?

AS. B.: At NRJ, we are used to working on an event mainly upstream. More and more, we are implementing new practices such as the give-and-take mechanics adopted by the Orange RockCorps festival. To obtain a ticket, each participant is encouraged to give time, to do a good deed, most often eco-responsible. It is a way of giving a different echo to an event. Within the NRJ Group, we also want to encourage spectator engagement, according to this free-to-value model. As such, we develop the brand Green Live, which involves spectators upstream to make them actors in the world of tomorrow. We believe it is essential to support young people, our main target, by rewarding their involvement in the protection of the planet, a subject to which they are particularly sensitive.

On the other hand, during periods of confinement, our efforts have focused on the interactions generated by social media. For example, we have set up video chats between artists and spectators, using screen walls. These exchanges, organized before or after the concert, enriched it with lively interactions and exchanges and allowed the artist to find his audience in another way.

📈 Édouard, how has events evolved within Parnassus in recent years? How is the content put at the service of a unique experience?

É. O.: At Parnassus, we want to keep digital in parallel with face-to-face. It seems important to us to alternate and experiment with the different solutions available to us today.

During the pandemic, we had to adapt to new formats, especially video, which gives rhythm to interventions. We also had to develop interaction sequences, particularly suited to meetings in small groups. Human relations being at the center of our concerns, it was inconceivable that the members of Parnassus could not directly question the stakeholders or even interact with each other.

Otherwise, we also redesigned the post-event experience. Reliving a strong moment helps make it memorable. Thus, this summer we organized a meeting on the occasion of the inaugural exhibition of the Bourse du Commerce, where the wax statue of the artist Urs Fischer was presented. Subsequently, we sent the participants the state of evolution of this ephemeral statue, at D + 60, D + 80… This sharing, over time, transforms the experience over time and accentuates its exclusive, relevant side. and rich in meaning.

✅ Finally, what are your next events challenges? And those in the sector, according to you?

É. O.: Our challenge is to keep people at the center of all attention. Each member must be able to interact with his coach, when he feels the need. Human relations necessarily deserve to be strengthened after these periods of confinement. Our future challenge also concerns the appropriation of a new territory, innovation, which constitutes a strong expectation on the part of our members. A vast subject to explore and on which we are moreover fully legitimate. Finally, working on geographic extensions and getting members from all regions to participate in our events is a real challenge for Parnassus to expand its Circle.

AS. B.: Regarding the challenges of the NRJ group, they affect mainly to ecology. At the end of live shows or concerts, we all too often find the places in a sorry state. Also, we make it a point of honor to find solutions against the waste of water or the overconsumption of plastic.

Finally, we want to expand geographically and financially access to culture, thanks to digital technology. The latter cannot completely replace physical experience, however it has the indisputable advantage of making culture accessible to as many people as possible.

What do we remember from the next event?

Any event format offers its share of advantages and limitations. The key issue of the next event lies in the search for the right mix. It is about finding the right balance between the rhythm and the interactivity of the real meeting and the opportunities offered by the multiple digital tools. 🤖 So, ready to invent the turfu event?

Anne-Sophie Berthon,

Director of Production and Events of the NRJ Group

Edward Olivier,

Brand, Communication, Digital and Events Director of Parnasse

Join the Club We Are COM 🚀

Le Club We Are COM allows communication professionals to progress together during moments of sharing best practices only between peers, all sectors combined. Objective: an increase in collective skills in particular thanks to a workshop each month on concrete cases, responses to the major challenges of the COM, meetings with renowned experts, etc. Always exchanges in complete transparency and independence based on feedback: 0% self-promotion, 100% conviction.

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