8 months into this pandemic and almost all aspects of our lives have changed. We have understood the truth of the statement ‘desperate times need desperate measures’ and this has actually helped us to create new coping mechanisms to fight the crisis. Thanks to this day and age where technology is a big leveler and this has led us to a future where we have learned new ways of working, consuming data, transacting, and doing business. Now, when it comes to businesses, the modern principles of digital marketing have actually helped us to envision a future and look beyond this pandemic with absolute clarity.
Virtual reality is one such outcome of our farsightedness and experiential virtual event platforms have changed the game when it comes to bringing back things to normal during these trying times. In fact, virtual event platforms have been the key force that saved not only businesses but also acted as a catalyst of change for a lot of brands.
From doing flagship events to launching products, a lot of businesses have explored the potential of virtual event platforms and this experience has led them to see a future where the ways of doing business have changed considerably. In post-pandemic India the world of business will be a completely different game and almost all industries will eventually become a part of this virtual experience.
In the current state, virtual event platforms can be rightly equated with a universe where there are uncountable opportunities that brands and businesses can explore. If we take the example of the retail industry, brands can leverage virtual event platforms to do a lot of things than just doing one-time events. The platform can be utilized for more long-term brand-building exercises and customer engagement initiatives while leveraging virtual platforms to take the e-commerce experience as well to a new level. Since physical store experience is still a risky affair, brands can create that experience virtually and add realism to the entire thing. So, instead of just buying things online, people can virtually enter a store, move around fluidly, see the product in 3D and feel all the tangible aspects before making the purchase decision. This entire experience will not only be a new thing for the customers but will open a lot of avenues for a lot of B2C businesses in the post-pandemic world.
The automobile is another sector which can reap the benefits of this virtual experience. A lot of global players have already started their journey in this direction. A lot of these players are using web AR and VR technologies to demonstrate features of a car virtually and the experience is next to real. This very experience can be enhanced and taken to the next level through virtual platforms where people will be able to even test-drive a car, just like playing an augmented car racing game. They will be able to try the features of a car in an augmented traffic scenario and make the purchase without even going to the showroom.
Education as a sector has already progressed in the right direction. Since they were the first to go digital with online classes, they are open to exploring more when it comes to virtual experiences. A lot of schools and institutions have realized that interaction through simple video interfaces has its limitations and students couldn’t be engaged to learn enthusiastically unless the experience is exciting. In this regard, virtual event platforms can play a great role and can change the face of education in the post-pandemic world. Schools can actually take their students to virtual excursions, build virtual museums, impart experiential learnings through augmented virtual planetariums. Colleges can really bring back the vibes and host annual functions, fests, and celebrations extensively on virtual event platforms.
Since everything has changed drastically, even businesses that used to deal with social functions can also get benefit from the experiential virtual event platforms. For example, as per the government directives not more than 50 people can gather for a wedding. So, planners can actually host a virtual wedding on a virtual events platform. The day is not far when the experience will be even more exciting with hybrid engagements where the actual wedding with happening in a physical environment and it will be attended virtually by guests from all over the globe.
As far as doing business is concerned on a consistent basis, IT is the only industry that is firm in its resolution to make business continuity a reality. Though there has been a cut in the overall marketing budget, the IT industry has been hosting virtual engagements like virtual customer and partner meets, special programs, and solution launches from the very beginning.
Besides, there have been instances where few real-estate players have also embarked on this virtual journey and even managed to generate sales through virtual event platforms, even in this challenging market. This is an extremely positive sign for businesses in general as whatever may be the situation, virtual event platforms have provided viable options for business continuity.
The icing on the cake is the feature part of a virtual event platform. The perception over these months has changed considerably and businesses have realized that virtual event platforms are more than just platforms. It is an effective tool that can also measure performance, bring unique insights to the table, and help businesses realize ROI effectively. All these things were actually difficult when brands were doing engagements physically, but the virtual platforms have actually brought all these things together on a common platform. So, Virtual event platforms can be considered as a one-stop solution that businesses can utilize fully for their benefit in the current times as well as in the post-pandemic days.
The virtual way of doing things also seems promising for the entertainment domain. Production houses have already got a first-hand experience of the power of digital media as OTT platforms grew tremendously over the last 7-8 months. The pattern of digital consumption of content and viewership has changed considerably. So, in the wake of the decision to re-open movie halls partially, it is an opportunity for theatre and movie hall owners to explore the possibilities of virtual platforms and redefine the entertainment game completely.
Behind every adversity, there is an opportunity and virtual event platforms have proved this expression right. As people, societies and businesses are getting used to the ‘new normal’, virtual event platforms are acting as a growth engine for businesses across industries and keeping the wheels of action spinning with continuous innovation.
Authored article by Piyush Gupta- President, Kestone.