A new reality: the hybrid event or congress

Most of us realized that the Covid-19 pandemic was serious when the big brands began to withdraw from the Mobile World Congress… and even more so when it was canceled. In these months we have learned to integrate into our daily lives new realities, such as teleworking, zoom conferencing, masks, hydroalcoholic gel… but what about events? Should they all be done virtually? Are there other formulas?

The trend, today, points to a new model of event, the so-called hybrid event, in which one part of the audience attends in person, while the other is connected virtually. This possibility changes the way we understood the sector and involves new associated challenges, such as how to manage the relational part and networking; how to maintain audience engagement; if new experts are needed and, something basic, if the return on investment is measurable or if they are profitable.

The paradigm is new and needs to be adapted. A face-to-face event has a limited number of attendees, but virtually, many more are willing to connect and participate, something we have become accustomed to the experience of these months. So, it is clear that we will need specialists, facilitators able to fall in love with that audience, to capture it and keep it among us. Because it is not a question of virtual assistants being mere spectators, but participants, in a bidirectional and omniprofile process.

In addition, to relate, we will have to create new ways of doing things. Some have already experienced digital platforms that bring interested participants in contact, through artificial intelligence, before and after an event. Although networking seems more complex, it will be necessary to work to achieve an efficient result.

And on what is the profitability of a hybrid event, surely, this is greater than that of a traditional event, since in addition to being able to reach more people, the costs of travel, accommodation and diets are reduced. The hybrid event will also affect other sectors, who in turn will have their own challenge to be more creative and competitive

However, and if we think about it, in the end, a hybrid event can involve the same basis as any other event: having quality content and presenting it in an attractive way so that the objectives are met will be the key to success. Meeting goals is always the key to success.

New words for ‘trendy’ communicators

Being a good communicator today requires a constant update on the most “trendy” and fashion words of the moment. Either it is a cool communicator or it is not. The communicator of the 21st century must behave like a real coolhunter of words. Be vigilant, capture those new terms finished in “ing” that generate the brands or the street and know how to use them in a timely manner to convince customers and the audience. The communicator who does not use at least five new invented words, preferably in English, in his speech or stories, has the days counted. There will always be another more skilled in the art of casting them in their arguments. Communicators and brands seek, then, to splash their speeches on these words in. Like or may not be the key to the success of a campaign. Why talk about “fake news” when they are already better known as fake news? This is a new wrapper for an old concept. But the current proposal of brands is to go beyond and, from the merger of two terms, create neologisms for new concepts and marketing strategies. Examples of these neologisms are transbranding, blanding or anartists. Transbranding is composed of the prefix trans (move to the other side) and branding, whereby brands support or promote other brands generating greater visibility for both. The blanding arises from branding, which refers to positioning the brand in the market, and bland (bland) that consists of the brand going unnoticed and integrating into the environment, taking advantage of the pull of the big brands. And anartists is the curious fusion of “artists” and “ana”, of anarchists. The current audience already speaks the same language: from the millennials, to the centenials or generation Z – born with the turn of the century – and to the midlifers – people who are in their fifties and have been incorporated without problems to the use of new technologies and social networks. None of them are shocked to hear any of those new words. Creativity with language is welcome. Who gives more? Or better, who’s next?

Excellent reputation, a lifesaver for big brands

The case Dieselgate, of Volkswagen, of great depth in the media sphere, opens the door to an interesting field of study for communicators: can you live from the inertia of an excellent reputation ?, that is, does the good reputation of a company, built for years, to cushion a serious reputational crisis? Does it help prevent it from translating into economic losses or alleviating them? The answer in the case of Volkswagen has been yes, according to a detailed analysis made by Dr. Paul Capriotti in his Bidirectional blog (https://paulcapriotti.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/dieselgate-crisis-de- reputation-e-impact-in-business /), who encourages studying more cases, even in academic settings, to clarify these issues.

An excellent reputation is one of the greatest intangibles of a company, as experts attribute the ability to act as a “cushion” of reputational crises and minimize its impact on both the value of the brand and its business activity , measurable in sales, profits or stock value. In the case of Volkswagen, there has been no doubt: The company’s excellent reputation and CSR performed this “mattress” function, cushioning the economic damage caused by the Dieselgate’s reputational crisis and helping its negative impact on The business was punctual. The company’s results in the years following the crisis suffered, but they quickly refloated: the crisis was not only overcome but the business could be maintained, thanks to its excellent previous reputation.

The excellent reputation is, therefore, a lifeline that prevents the collapse of large companies and crises, their great opportunity to redefine themselves. Thus, the Dieselgate served as a revulsion for Voklswagen to adopt a new business model, focusing on the electric car and thus offering a greener and more responsible image to its stakeholders and public opinion, although it did so later than other large automotive companies like Tesla and technology, like Google or Apple. Today, going late in challenges such as the commitment to the environment can also damage the good reputation of brands. Watchful eye.

University-Business Chairs, partners with conflicts of interest

La colaboración público-privada tan laureada en algunos sectores económicos se está convirtiendo en una fórmula muy habitual en el ámbito universitario. Se trata de las Cátedras Universidad-Empresa, de las que en Cataluña hay alrededor de una sesentena.

In the face of this usual partnership, it is worth asking whether university support is born from a business commitment, guided by an ethical sense, to adapt training and research to the reality and needs of the labor market; if it responds to an interested maneuver, since companies can condition what is investigated with the financial resources they provide; or if it obeys a marketing strategy, because placing your brand next to a prestigious knowledge center is supposed to get a better reputational image. Perhaps the three motivations concur.

Conflicts of interest are evident in the case of chairs such as the Chair of Social Inclusion of The Endesa Foundation, since Endesa has cut electricity supplies due to non-payment of bills and it is difficult not to assign a share of responsibility in the generation of energy poverty. Despite the efforts of these and other companies to counteract the undesirable impact of their activities, they can be claimed much more than a University-Business Chair: a new social contract.

The purpose of 21st century companies cannot be limited almost exclusively to increasing profits to please shareholders, but international voices such as the BRT (Business Roundtable) encourage a redefinition and diversification of the value that companies produce, which now they must also seek the protection of the environment, diversity, be inclusive and promote dignity and respect, as well as expand the social actors to satisfy: employees themselves, customers, suppliers and the community, in addition to shareholders.

In this new paradigm, there would no longer be room for empty content communication or for futile attempts to make up the reputational image. Smoke curtains do not work. The communication of the facts is imposed: “More do and less say”.

DISCONNECT TO CONNECT

“I know more about a celebrity than my family”, this is one of the most indicated phrases of the place of IKEA for this Christmas. Three minutes that will be reflected and perhaps even cry. Surely you’ve seen on television, or rather, I’m sure it has already arrived through your whatsapp, because it has virally crashed on this platform. In Youtube it already adds more than 9 million views in a week. But, let’s reflect, what else does the tastes, the actions and the followers? The important thing is the people who are there, the ones who are really at your side, and as IKEA challenges, we join a “connection” with our family and leave aside the social networks on this vacation.

IN LOVE WITH CORPORATE COMMUNICATION

Why is a videogame a tool of corporate communication? From now, yes.

You do not have to be conservative. We like it, and we like it a lot, this new way of promoting tourism. Yes, this is what the “Legends of Catalonia” is about, the virtual reality game that promotes tourism in Catalonia and has been promoted by the Catalan Tourism Agency of the Department of Representation and Context of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

And the objective is to promote Catalonia in the United States and is available in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English. “Legends of Catalonia” has a duration of 50 minutes and is available for free in the PlayStation online store and so that you can not see virtual reality glasses. Subsequently, the game will also be available from a computer through the Steam platform.

Is it incredible all you can get with a virtual reality video game, isn’t it?

ADVERTISING OR PUBLIC RELATIONS?

We shouldn’t cheat our audiences, whether we are talking about a brand or an institution, and when we “pay” a tweet through a celebrity we should warn, in some way (#publi, it should be mandatory when this happens) that we are making publicity. It is not the same to pay to comment, anywhere, through Twitter or in a column of a newspaper, to invite or persuade the “famous” (whether a character of Sálvame limón or a reputed actor) to express his opinion, that is, , good or bad, of us. These are Public Relations.

Since we have spoken on multiple occasions of the neologisms that we are introducing in the language of communication, now it turns out that these practices are called “celebrity endorsement”. What was previously a recommendation action through opinion leaders, whether in an advertising or PR tool. But there is more: it is called “branded content through social publishers” if “we make the message look natural” and “we pay” to a mix of celebrities and bloggers.

And what’s the name when Oprah tweets that one of her favorite gadgets is the Windows MS Surface tablet from her ipad? Well, Microsoft’s $ 150 million campaign is going down the drain. In Spain it has also happened: Mario Casas and Malena Costa, have promoted on Twitter LG’s new mobile phones from their iPhone. Bravo for Apple!

In our opinion: whatever you call the communication tool you use, use it with professionalism and do not just trust the pretty faces.

TANGIBILIZE

Knowing how to answer the phone is part of the corporate identity of the company. Yes, of branding, too, as Mr. Branding says, Andy Stalman. I was already taught by Antoni Torvà, General Director of Fecsa and Endesa from 1988 to 2010, one of the great professors of Public Relations. He taught me that “everything communicates”. It was in the Superior School of Public Relations of the University of Barcelona, ​​more or less in 1990, when still the degree of Public Relations did not exist.

As Mr. Branding, Torvà explained to us that he communicated how employees speak (they are the first ambassadors of the company) and that any communication plan inevitably went by taking this aspect into account. He explained that any Fecsa employee had to be able to explain the invoice if a customer asked him about it, for example.

The other day an employee of a beauty center, belonging to a franchisee, answered me before a claim I did verbally: “Madam, if you want I give the reason, but it does not.” The franchise has a good value for money, a modern logo, a solidarity campaign and on its website the Human Resources section is developed in a tab called “talent” and tells us: “the team, our best asset”. The distance between the response of the employee to a client and what they “tell us” on the web is abysmal. And it is also incoherent. By the way, the coherence between what we do and what we say is fundamental for the construction of a coherent corporate image.

And what is more credible? What we say or what we do? What we do. The experience, lived by the public, is always more decisive than anything we can express with words or images. Mr. Branding calls it “making tangible the intangible.”

EDUCATE IN HEALTH

Butter or margarine? Do whole-grain products get fat? Does eating fruit as a dessert make you fat? We dissemble false myths of nutrition for the World Day of Digestive Health that we celebrated on May 29, an initiative promoted in Spain by the Spanish Foundation of the Digestive System (FEAD). Each year, this day is devoted to the dissemination and awareness on a relevant issue of public health and digestive system.

“LONG-TERM VALUE”

We think the same as Larry Fink, president of BlackRock, who in a letter addressed last April 10 to the presidents of the largest companies in the world, invited them to “the creation of long-term value”. Fink criticizes entrepreneurs who have neglected investment in innovation, training their employees or capital expenditures that are not necessary to maintain long-term growth.

“Public Relations (or Communication) should advise on this long-term path. Fink insists that companies pay attention to the investors who qualified him as “long-term owners” and to ignore the most speculative investors. How is this “long-term” path constructed? Children and young people who are now between 4 and 21 years of age have a concern that worries the world: molded by technology, but more by austerity policies, worried about not being indebted, altruistic, politically sensitized by economic inequality and social, disillusioned with traditional politics and willing to help whoever does it; We will have to think about new strategies for which we have developed so far to convince them to buy our brand.

What if they do not recommend it to us? Fink we begin to react? Could it be good advice that reaches the maximum of public relations that tells us “do well and make it know”, as we think, is still in full force and even, we would dare to describe as “fashionable”?