Your Shout: Thinking through tech

Using tech at events is great, says Anton Jerges, managing director of Collider, but only when it's been thought through.

It's become quite clear that many brands haven't thought through the 'why' and 'how', says Jerges
It's become quite clear that many brands haven't thought through the 'why' and 'how', says Jerges

Technology, technology, technology - it crops up in every event brief we get now. Which is totally understandable, right? Especially given the market's direction and how the case for digitising communications has been well made. Indeed, we've seen successful campaigns and launches that have embraced technology and digital techniques.

But far more often we've witnessed events where technology, either in the implementation or the strategic approach, has failed to deliver. It has become clear to us that many brands haven't fully thought through the 'why' and 'how', just that it's something that "must be included". This needs to change.

There are, of course, many benefits to using technology for events, such as to support awareness and help with acquisition and retention. It can be an enabler, allowing you to build a long-term dialogue.

But we need to remember there's a reason 'human-to-human' has become a buzzword - people don't want to deal with software, they want to engage with others on an emotional and rational level. Driving footfall to a stand or event and increasing dwell time has never been harder, yet so often we see technology created inappropriately for the occasion.

Take this example: I recently attended an exhibition where an automotive brand had created an app for the event that enabled visitors to create a car with bespoke specs and more. Cool, hey? Yes, but the dwell time for the show was an established 30 seconds, yet the app technology droned on for more than three minutes. Visitors completely lost interest.

This very specific environment meant the extra money spent on tech development where it wasn't needed was wasted and actually became a detriment to the activity. With that amount of technical detail, it was far more suited to a dealership environment. Brands must find a way to not only catch attention, but to engage customers from the off - and in a way that makes people want to interact. It must work both ways.

I often wonder whether brands have even considered who they're talking to and which insights, if any, they actually have on them.Also, what kind of reaction do they want to achieve? Technology is great, but useless without an objective. Are brands trying to make a statement or start a conversation? Get people thinking about buying the product? Are they focused on retaining customers or acquiring new ones?

Only once they understand the reactions they want can they think about how technology will enable them. Innovation is great, but guests don't have the time or inclination to learn a new system on a stand, and they certainly won't want to download new apps. Any approach must be intuitive.

The event and marketing industry needs to take a moment (or several) to really consider the experience they need to deliver for a client. Is using technology relevant for the brand, the message it wants to communicate and the audience it's talking to? If not, it's pointless.

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Comment below to let us know what you think.

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