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April 3, 2008

Technology: Are your events at the cutting edge?

Brand experience agency, The George P Johnson Company (GPJ) is pioneering new ways to enhance and extend the shelf life of events for clients looking to deepen relationships with, and provide an enriched brand experience for their customers through the use of podcasts and webcasts.

Webcasts – live streamed and archived video footage of events – and podcasts – audio only recordings of events – are now being used in collaboration with live event experiences to offer new opportunities for event audiences to interact with content in a more personalised and convenient way.

In general, webcasts are better suited to situations where you want viewers to be able to see the speaker, and their ability to include PowerPoint presentations and interactivity makes them ideal for getting across more complex issues. On top of this, the live aspect means that everyone can receive the same information at the same time no matter where they are.

The podcasting market is growing because audiences can now get the content they want, when they want it, and in the format they want, providing a more versatile format for distributing information. They are also cheaper than webcasts to produce, and a faster way for brands to get their message out there.

“Providing audio (and the potential for using podcasting for video) content via a podcast after an event gives audiences the opportunity to reconnect with your brand on a repeated basis, assuming they find your content to be valuable and interesting to them," adds Searle. "As a marketing tool, podcasting allows you to have the ability to leverage this highly targeted, high value listener.

“We have developed podcasting for several of our clients as an add-on to events which are specifically aimed at niche communities. For example, for IBM we recently produced a series of exclusive events which targeted a high-level audience. As an integral component of these events we offered podcasts which gave an overview of the events to increase awareness and get more people involved.”

The final podcast for each event was made available to attendees and non-attendees post-event via IBM’s website to a members-only community. Feedback has been very positive. In a GPJ survey of the podcast audience at these IBM events, 96% found it useful and 100% said that they wanted another podcast at the next event.

Increasingly GPJ clients are finding podcasts an excellent way to communicate in a quick and efficient way on multiple levels. Firstly, to share event content with delegates who couldn't attend the event; internally, to inform client managers so that they know what was communicated to their clients and can continue the discussion; and for internal marketing teams to understand what clients are thinking and what their position is around the given topic.

GPJ has had similar success with webcasts. At another IBM event, produced by GPJ for 300 delegates, a webcast of the day’s proceedings enabled the client to reach an additional 1,723 people who watched the event over the web. These people had the opportunity to send in questions via the website and have them answered in real-time. After the event, the sessions were archived and made available on the client’s website, attracting an additional audience of nearly 7,000 people.

Post-event measurement analysis showed that of the total audience of 9,000 people, just 3% of this figure was accounted for those by people who actually attended the event, 19% who viewed the live webcast; and 78% who viewed the archived webcast.

In summary, with the amount of effort and investment that goes into event planning, podcasting and webcasting are a very effective ways of extending an event’s value and reach. Both technologies enable new audiences to continue to receive the messaging and vibe of the event long after it has ended and may also be used as a key internal marketing tool for the client team.

What’s more, the use of webcasting and podcasting shows a client’s willingness to innovate. It sends out the right messages about its brand, it says: “We will explore new ways of communicating with our audience – wherever and in whatever way they find most valuable.”


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