The start of a new year is a great time to look at what trends, features and new technologies will shape the year ahead. After all, if you’d said at the end of 2014 that we’d be reading messages on our iWatches and creating brand messaging in emojis while listening to Justin Bieber we may not have believed you.
So in the true spirit of a fresh new year, here are some of the event trends we expect to see being seeded through the world of pop-ups, events, exhibitions and conferences during the year ahead.
Enhanced event experiences
Events and exhibitions in particular, have always been an incredible feat, where large and often intricate structures are put together for the sole purpose of a day or two. This makes their message often more impactful than a permanent structure can hope to be, but this year we see the two merging. Events and exhibitions, which so often take their cues from the fast-moving world of retail and pop-up displays have become more innovative and more dynamic, whereas temporary structures have begun to invest more heavily in experience over design. Temporary events and exhibitions are doing more to embrace digital and social aspects, spending more on experience and making the environment feel intuitive, in order to mimic the attendee’s everyday life. Advanced technology such as high-resolution 2.5mm LED displays were once only suitable for permanent structures where they could be kept away from customers and built into more durable casings. Now, these types of solutions are available within event and exhibition environments creating a new option for designers and brands wishing to showcase content. In return, pop-ups and permanent structures are bringing in more aspects that draw the customer and the brand together, encouraging social sharing for discounts, mobile payment devices that can be taken onto the shop floor and interactive screen technology displays.
Purpose driven events
The big focus on the consumer cohort, ‘the Millennials’ which seemed to take over in 2015 will be set to continue in 2016 and as this group enters the industry and positions of buying power, we’ll see this affect the entire conception of events. As industry professionals, they’ll bring in new advancements, an enhanced knowledge of event technology and a heavy focus on purpose-driven events. What do we mean by this? Events that were once solely focused to sell, sell, sell will now swing back to more ‘people’ focused experiences. This means creating positive legacies from events, where the brand is able to ‘give back’ or create repercussions from their activity on the show floor. This may be as simple as partnering with a Not For Profit or worthwhile cause or giving up an event presence in order to spend on an experience or social project.
Gone are the days where an event can be quantified by the number of attendees who sign up for a ticket. The progression in technology and big data means that brands and consumers now demand a higher level of data to prove return on interest. In 2016, when eyeballs and attention will be even more stretched across the on and offline worlds, creating true engagement and a way to measure it will be more important than ever. For audio visual suppliers, this means enhancing the technology that is able to provide data capture as well as monitoring number of views or time that the audience is engaged. For designers and partners, this means measuring everything from the number of tweets, through to conversations held on the stand, touchpoint check-ins and data viewed post-event. For brands, it means finding comprehensive ways to take the data captured, digest this and use it to improve the offering event-by-event.
Back to basics
In 2015 events seemed to be a platform for brands to show that they were bigger, better and more expressive than those next to them. In 2016, we predict a return to basics, where events simplify the connection between audience and brand in order to really communicate their most innate of brand values. Stripped back design, more intuitive technology and simple ways to communicate and create real face-to-face value will all help brands to embrace the event platform in the year ahead and make it their own.
The rise of event technology
If there’s one trend we have noticed over the past 12 months it’s the rise of event technology as a real contender to ensuring event success. Event planners are becoming more tech-savvy than ever and audio visual suppliers are going all out to provide event technology masterclasses and other learning opportunities, designed to enable planners to make the most of what’s on offer. The benefit of sophisticated event technology becoming more mainstream, is that the solutions become more affordable and better developed by the manufacturers who provide them. Over the years this has led to solutions such as bespoke content, which once stacked up into the tens of thousands, now becoming available for only a few hundred pounds. Not only does this rise in technology give the brands a continual vehicle through which to innovate their offering, but it also allows the customers using them to touch, test and takeaway the true message the brand is offering.
What event trends do you see becoming more important throughout the year ahead? Tweet us at @incredible_pg to let us know