Virtually there

Virtually there

Covid-19 has affected every sphere of business life. But that doesn’t stop brands wanting to connect with key audiences. They want to increase brand awareness and improve brand perception. They want to generate leads and drive sales. And every single one of these goals remains relevant and achievable.

Enter the virtual sphere. With the rise of technology and the decline of economies, more and more organisations are turning to virtual trade shows.

Will they gain traction? That depends.

There are a wide variety of interpretations on what a virtual show even is. While there was talk of them in the 1990s, what was envisaged then is a far cry from what we will see today. What some call a virtual show is really more like an online directory, listing each exhibitor’s information and possibly links to download a few brochures or articles. Then there are full-blown shows that look and function like the real thing. An online venue may even be designed to look like a typical venue, complete with reception, lounge and exhibit hall featuring many different companies’ booths.

Virtual shows can also generate an increased audience because no travel is required; making it easy for attendees to connect with exhibitors or other attendees; and they offer extensive reporting options for the exhibitors.

But in spite of all the benefits, many crave face-to-face connection, even though we are very familiar with digital through social media, webinars and other online work tools.

Virtual exhibitions are a good way to increase brand awareness and extend a company’s reach outside the show floor. Another possibility is hybrid events — the blending of face-to-face and online attendees interacting with one another using virtual components.

Are virtual trade shows the way of the future? The tech needed to create virtual tradeshows is here, and it’s getting better and more affordable. Today’s show visitors are seeking experiences that are experimental and which evoke genuine emotions. As such, using interactive and immersive technology such as VR and AR (as well as games, video, etc.) gives people a reason to strike up conversations, experience the benefits of products for themselves, and makes a booth uniquely memorable.

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