2020, a year riddled with challenges, chaos, and an unending struggle to battle it all. The pandemic that broke out in late 2019 has continued to wreak havoc through most part of this year. It has dealt a severe blow to almost every industry, including weddings. The business of weddings has been adversely affected given the fact that it attracts mass gatherings at the core of its existence. Not only in India, but weddings across the globe have been put on hold or postponed to early 2021 or later. But, looking at the brighter side, the lockdown period has given to-be-weds a chance to spend some more time planning their big day. Wedding preparations always feel like a race against time; from families to planners, the emotion rings true for all. However, that is not the case this time. Although, there is plenty of time on hand, there are several factors to adhere to in terms of hygiene standards, number of guests that can be invited, social distancing norms and more. In lieu of it all, a new wave has emerged in the events industry, which folks in the wedding space are also looking to surf. It is called ‘going phygital’.
What does ‘going phygital’ really mean? Well, it is not a new term, but something retail marketers coined a few years ago to bridge the gap between physical stores and digital retail. Today, this very approach is gradually gaining momentum in COVID times, especially for the events industry (weddings included). People need to be physically present at an event, but they cannot, and that’s when we require digital means to meet and regroup. Creative juices need to flow in abundance here, because audiences are done with Zoom calls and webinars. In all probability, we all have lost count of how many webinars and group calls we’ve been on. Most importantly, a wedding cannot be anything close to a virtual meeting, but has to be an experience that people can partake in. People are tired of virtual meetings, but there is still plenty of room to amaze them with stellar virtual experiences.
Industry experts, however, send a word of caution against getting too caught up in the tech aspect. Many platforms fit a planner’s needs, but the trick is to pick and choose those features what will transform a webinar into an engaging experience. It is surely not a one-size-fits-all approach. So, thorough research as to what’s the best fit that helps your event stand out and look gorgeous is something you must invest time in. There are surely some dos and don’ts that an event manager/planner should consider for a phygital event. For example, static images are a complete no-no. Your camera shots should move every 10 seconds or so, because that’s when the visual experience comes alive. To ensure that happens, collaborate with a digital content producer who can understand your ideas or thought process and execute them. When a speaker is on the screen, flip their images so that your virtual audience sees what they are seeing, and the whole event becomes more engaging. It is way better than having a speaker talk away into vacuum. The most important aspect to hold onto is to drive simulation as an integral part of a virtual conference or gathering of any kind.
About Sabbas Joseph
A Director of Wizcraft International Entertainment, Sabbas is a maven in the field of unconventional media. With over three decades in the experiential and entertainment industry, he is the strategic force behind the country’s biggest brand launches and corporate events.
To conclude, as much as 80% of a virtual event is similar to a physical one, 20% is all about the technology a planner chooses to infuse. As we head into 2021, be prepared to see many more virtual events compared to on-ground ones. It seems like a trend now, but is rapidly becoming a reality.