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While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to upend the meetings and events industry and to change our daily lives all over the world, at AIM Group we continue to work and develop new solutions for our clients useful to respond to present challenges and limitations.
This is also an opportunity for the meetings industry to evolve and renew: at AIM Group we are reacting to these challenges, reinventing our activities, adapting to the disruptions and being prepared for the new normal.
Six steps to plan successful Virtual and Hybrid Events
During the pandemic many corporate and association clients had their first experience of fully virtual event, often planning it in very short time frames. While the digital pivot is a necessity, in unprecedented circumstances, the need to become digital sometimes can pave the way for virtual events with little or no strategy and design, lack of creativity and professionalism.
That is why AIM Group decided to leverage the experience gained from our international client experiences to prepare guidelines on how to plan and organise virtual events that satisfy the mix of different stakeholders - attendees, speakers and sponsors, leveraging the new opportunities offered by the virtual formats and channels.
“The organization of a virtual and hybrid event requires a DCO, not a typo (!), this is a DIGITAL CONFERENCE ORGANIZER, a team with specific knowledge and competences and the ability to offer strategic guidance on planning events with full or partial digital components” outlines Annalisa Ponchia.
Before embarking on a new virtual or hybrid event, you need to follow a strategic map and complete a number of actions. The methodology presented in the White Paper, downloadable for free from the AIM Group website, suggests six easy steps.
How we went hybrid for Mundipharma advisory board in Prague and Bratislava
The Pharma Company Mundipharma asked AIM Prague Office to run their National Advisory Board (Czech Rep. + Slovakia) for Top Key Opinion Leaders. Originally this event was planned for March and all the experts should have meet in Prague. Due to COVID 19 preventive measurements it was not possible to run the event, but as the meeting was important for the company future strategy they decided to run as soon as the situation allowed.
When events up to 100 participants were permitted in Prague we started planning the event operations, choosing the hybrid format as it was not clear whether or under what conditions it would be possible to travel. For the Client, it was not only the most important event for future business but also the first experience with a virtual event with external experts. We set up the venues in Prague and Bratislava, then built two AV studios and created a virtual meeting room managing the live streaming of all the event. Everything went very well. We got big thank you not only from the Client but also from the experts:
Prof. Ivan Rychlik, Head of 1st Department of Medicine of Charles University: “The fact that we weren´t all at the same table didn´t interrupt our professional discussion at all”.
Dr. Miroslav Vytasil, Medical Advisor Mundipharma CZ: “Thank AIM for the whole project preparation. It was a super experience with great cooperation. I really appreciate it and am looking forward for the next event with AIM”.
Monica Freire chair of the Global Task Force of National PCO Associations.
Our Monica Freire, Business Manager Congress Unit Lisbon Office AIM Group, is the chair of the International strategic task force created by the International Association for Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), uniting 8 National PCO Associations for the first time in its 52-year history.
The aim of the work team is to connect and share Coronavirus-related data and case studies and use their combined expertise to create and distribute safe practice guidelines for Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs) worldwide. Whilst many governments around the world begin to reduce current Coronavirus-related restrictions, others are doing the opposite by reinstating lockdowns and quarantines as potential second waves of the virus threaten.
Monica Freire, who is also a IAPCO Council Member, says: “I think that in this unprecedented and difficult times we need more than ever to join forces and promote collaboration among event professionals at all levels to support each other, define best practices, disseminate correct information on the market and enable constructive dialogues with local authorities. We will work hard to define soon a common protocol for safe events around the globe and make it available to all organisers and clients involved in this challenge”.
How virtual can multiply sponsorship opportunities
The transition to digital & hybrid events has been accelerated and most stakeholders have decided to embrace new experiences and have embarked on the path to virtual e-meetings.
As a matter of fact, there is no need to choose between two alternatives: the virtual experience can definitely add value to your next live event. Virtual meetings add a new string to the bow of the event industry, as a sustainable, efficient and measurable tool.
Admittedly, the context and the channels has changed. Therefore it is necessary to adopt a new approach.
Today we must think out of the box, re-design new sponsorship opportunities to engage with decision-makers and delegates in a virtual environment.
Digital technologies present a wider range of channels and tools to consider. However, it is the human interaction that still represents the essential driver of the sponsor. We need to develop new ways to maximize the sponsor-delegate relationship even in a virtual event.
Here are the 6 immediate benefits of being a virtual sponsor:
LEAN Virtual Meetings facilitate discussions among hospital ophthalmologists
AIM Group is supporting the organisation of a virtual task force involving ophthalmologists from forty Retina Hospital Centers from different cities in Italy. They will work on defining a new diagnostic and therapeutic journey to ensure the safety of ophthalmological patients in hospitals.
After the lockdown, with the gradual recovery of usual activities, it became indispensable to redesign the patient’s journey within the hospital structures in order to guarantee both the required therapies and safety.
A group of specialists decided to promote the LEAN - Virtual Meeting on Patient Journey project, which involves 40 hospitals and will involve regional discussion tables, with support from Milan’s Politecnico University. These meetings, scheduled between June and July, will be realised on virtual platforms to facilitate participation and interaction and overcoming travel and distancing issues.
This project is realised with the technical support and organizational secretariat of AIM Group International and the
non-binding sponsorship of Novartis.
Your Business can’t wait. You know it, we know it too!
In these unprecedented times, brands, organizations, enterprises, associations may realize that welcoming change is the only solution to their challenges. Events had to be postponed or cancelled and fresh content is likely to become outdated if not shared properly. On top of that, networking and exchanging opinions got more difficult and the need arised to get creative for stakeholders to market their audiences.
Well, these are times when staying real means also embracing the virtual.. and our experience is your best shot at keeping your world running.
We value the blend between technology, goals, content and strategy: that’s where the ultimate Digital Evolution takes place!
Enjoy our newest VIDEO and contact our teams to design your evolution.
A scientific congress transformed into a virtual, successful experience
Due to the Covid-19 Crisis, the Italian Academy of Prosthetic Dentistry (AIOP) had to re-organise the annual two-day Mediterranean Meeting originally scheduled to take place in the congress center in Riccione.
After a careful evaluation of all the likely scenarios, pros and cons, AIOP together with AIM Group decided not to cancel or postpone but to transform the congress into a virtual meeting. AIOP was the first Italian scientific society to experiment with this kind of solution.
In just two weeks, the congress was transformed into a fully virtual event developed on the customised “AIOP On Air” virtual platform, which offered effective solutions for a 360-degree congress experience, such as:
- Active online audience engagement. - A virtual television studio with a realistic and immersive layout.
- A well-structured virtual area dedicated to sponsors.
- All thecontent made available on demand for one year.
- Multiple education experiences. - Social interaction and informal moments.
Results was very positive with a+130% increase in attendance and many benefits…
80% of Corporate Sponsors are interested in investing in virtual events but they need interaction
AIM Group International carried out the survey “Sponsoring events during the Covid Crisis” amongst 350 pharmaceutical and biomedical company representatives covering all major therapeutics areas to understand if and how companies should invest in digital events.
Here is a snapshot of the survey findings:
• 58% would sponsor in-presence events, to be held in Autumn 2020.
• 72% would be interested in a hybrid solutions that combines in-presence with digital events.
• 78% would be interested in sponsoring fully virtual events.
• How a virtual event should be like? Interactive, flexible, 3D and able to track data.
In particular, sponsors are ready to give support to realise new virtual experiences, provided that scientific content is relevant, participants are engaged and interaction with sponsors is guaranteed…
As the smart working is the most common situation in these unprecedented times, it is easy to found ourselves in some tricky new situations such meeting a client, presenting them a project or convincing our board of directors in front of our computer. Here are seven tips around what to know before you go live and get better results.
Be Brief. Use interactive activities to keep your audience engaged.
Be Simple. Keep slides simple — avoid too many words, graphics and animation features.
Be Prepared. Practice delivering your presentation with your technology in advance of your talk.
Be a TV Personality. Look straight into your camera, not the screen. Raise your voice, standing can sometimes help.
Prepare the set-up. Ensure you have the correct set-up and surroundings. Light yourself well, avoid windows at your back.
Be Specific. Ask pointed questions to avoid too many people answering at once.
Be Synchronized. Transitions between topics and slides are good opportunities to get people reengaged to your talk.
Strengthening communication in times of crisis and social distancing
“At a time of momentous change, where an unexpected situation forces us to review our ways of working and communicating, it is essential to stay in touch with all stakeholders”explains Max Galli, president of vangogh communication agency, part of AIM Group International. “Companies, associations and organisations should transform this time of interruption and distancing into an opportunity to strengthen relationships and affirm company values. We need to create a real cultural strategy”.
With this purpose, for example, vangogh designed an ad hoc communication concept that helps companies communicate with their stakeholders: The Good News Portal. This dedicated corporate website aims to share positive messages, or can be more focused on keep employees updated about company’s latest actions to face the Covid crisis and the safety measures implemented involving
The project can include in a modular way: a related editorial plan on social media, a dedicated newsletter, content production for the institutional website, an advertising campaign and the realisation of digitalevents.
There’s one question on every meeting planner’s mind: When will face-to-face events resume? Those who craft meetings for the medical community are anticipating the possibility of a particularly long lull before in-person gatherings return.
Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, vice president AIM Group International, interviewed by Northstar Meetings Group reflects on present issues and future perspectives for medical meetings at international level.
“Clearly for the moment, we have to continue going virtual; but in the last quarter of the year, we may have small, local meetings,” said Buongiorno. “So, we are thinking of some interesting solutions. If we have to organize a national meeting of 1,000 people but can only organize meetings of up to 200, why not create different hubs? So, a meeting of 200 in one city, 200 in another city and so on. We are actually starting this for an association. They don’t want to lose the face-to-face and are not sure they can have the meeting as usual, but we can probably do smaller groups.” ...
Why Virtual Events need Digital Marketing and Engagement like never before?
Each event has its own story, its own value and purpose. Other than that, it also has its own audience. In order to effectively reach and engage that audience, we must create a digital marketing strategy.
But… what changes when live events can’t happen and when virtual solutions are the new way to meet? How can we offer something of meaning to our audiences if we are constantly receiving links to webinars, online resources, podcasts and recordings?
We, at AIM Group International, are providing with solutions to exploit the online stage for their events, but also we are putting much value into all those collateral services and solutions to enrich the journey of our clients amongst innovative formats they are approaching for the first time. We are designing new pathways for organizations in order to enhance their online presence by revising their visual identity, refactoring their website, reformulating their communication channels to effectively promote their activities, as well as identifying effective opportunities for sponsors to showcase their offer.
In addition to that, we find that Digital Marketing has never been so important before, during and after a Virtual Event…
The unprecedented crisis caused by Covid-19 is heavily impacting the meetings and events industry, with cancellations and postponements of events and the stop of all kind of small or big events by Governments. The situation will gradually recover, but this big change will remain and transform the way we organise events.
If audiences need to be engaged online in the short term, how likely do you see the integration of the online and the offline world when we’ll be back at meeting face2face? What’s your idea about meetings in the mid and long term?
Watch the video animation about the Future of Meetings on AIM Group Youtube channel
Lisbon is safe and clean …ready to host live events
The Lisbon Office of AIM Group got its “Safe and Clean” tag promoted by Turismo de Portugal for being part of those tourism enterprises and agencies compliant with hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other possible infections.
This protocol is useful to reinforce confidence in the safety of the destination for events as well as to share common standards, set according to the recommendations of the DGS - Directorate-General for Health.
Waiting for the near time when in-presence events will be allowed in Portugal, the Lisbon team run a successful virtual meeting with 35 possible sponsors for the SPAIC (Portuguese Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology) Congress to be held in September.
We believe in the power of events. Do you?
The health emergency is impacting the personal and business life of millions of people worldwide.
Hard times inspire all of us to be united and to collaborate: it makes us stronger. As event professionals we are used to flexibility, problem solving and the ability to react to any issue. All our teams are playing their part in reducing the virus spreading, working remotely and defining preventive measures for future safe events. Organising effective events is our passion and innovation is in our DNA.
We are working side by side with our clients to find new solutions to overcome travel difficulties and reduce mass gathering risks. Our focus remains on planning and realising memorable, engaging events where people connect, interact, collaborate thanks to immersive experiences, not only face-to-face but also in a digital environment.
Our mind-set and main goal is more than ever to support you to make your events happen, because we strongly believe in the power of events. Do you?
The Trade Fair and Congress Centre of Malaga (FYCMA) has just hosted the European Robotics Forum2020 ‘Future Robotics: Unlocking Human Potential’ and the euRobotics Members General Assembly. Attracting around 800 entrepreneurs and experts, this three-day event is the largest and most influential of the robotics and artificial intelligence community in Europe.
The Coronavirus outbreak is, fo sure, a big concern, which everybody takes seriously. So in order to guarantee a smooth realisation of the forum, specific precautionary measures were taken and communicated and the congress was celebrated as planned. The Coronavirus Policy included:
A ‘No-Handshake-Policy’ in place, clearly communicated to participants;
The venue provided medical assistance onsite to check temperatures upon entering the building and to advise on any health concerns;
Hand sanitizers were available throughout the venue
Health information signs have been put up onsite.
This event is a positive example, that we hope to repeat, of how it can be possible to go ahead as planned in this challenging period.
The AIM New York Office promoted a special initiative involving American pathologists to sustain the common effort to supply Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at academic medical centres with the materials useful for testing COVID.
Kris Herltiz, managing director AIM Group New York Office, along with the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC), sent an email message to all the contacts in this field in AIM database asking for help both for immediate supplies, educational help or financial support for national departments of pathology fighting the health emergency. Being involved in community causes is always a good practice, but in these critical days it is even more important.
Do you need any assistance with your next project?
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