• James Bacon

Embracing Virtual Events: Something familiar about all of this?



Remember the mid 00's and we were excited for the next step in the digital age. Some jumped on board claiming especially with media that print was dead...long live digital media!


Others, much like myself simply were not ready to give up print and physical copies. Be it books, newspapers, CD's...DVD's. Here we are 15 or so years later and let's face it we are extensively digital, not exclusively though yet. Back then I was working within the publishing industry and self confessed not an "early adopter". I didn't want to accept the change, nor want it as I was happy with my now archaic looking data centric job.


So now, proud owner of my own event agency and loving every minute of my adopted industry. I find myself with the same feeling as back then. This time it's the move towards virtual events, rapidly growing and expanding. Early adopters crying "long live virtual" and how this will change the face of live events forever!


A touch of old me came out immediately defensive on this. "Don't be daft, we all love live events, I don't want us to really get into virtual as we started as a live event agency and that's where I want us to be." Speaking with many industry peers, I know I am not alone with this. But I think there lies the actual problem, we are creating a battle, us versus them.


Maybe it's experience from before, or with age there comes some wisdom. But the fact is virtual is here, it's actually been here for a while and due to the pandemic it has caused it's growth across due to necessity. Whether you like it or not, whether you prefer live is not the point. It's here, it's not going away, it will take market share from live even when we can return to live. So stop the fight, if it's not your thing then fine don't work on them, hold out for what you enjoy.


Like media before it, virtual doesn't mean the end of live. It does mean change though and an acceptance to this.


The past few months we have looked and researched into virtual events. As an agency I felt we were doing a disservice to our clients if we simply brushed off virtual as something we didn't do. Being a boutique events agency we need to know our limitations in this area, much like we accept with our live events. We have built our reputation on delivering engaging successful events. Let's continue to do this and not throw ourselves at everything virtual, jumping on that proverbial bandwagon as such.


As a result we are about to complete our third client virtual incentive event in as many months, in discussions for more, as well as some exciting possibilities with virtual meetings, panel forums and hospitality. Oh and yes we do still have a number of live events we are working on and looking to deliver as soon as we are allowed to!


Embrace the change, don't fight it. Do it well and accept your limitations. Many of us cannot deliver well on everything, fact of life! Change doesn't mean the end of what was, it's an opportunity to learn and grow new skills in addition to what you have.


We Are MEaT have a responsibility to clients to offer the best advice for events of all types, have opinions but remain objective. This will be what we continue to do as we embrace the changing landscape and grow with it.