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Audience DNA: Is it changing?

Baby Boomers and Millennials will remember a time when you could go offline fully. Now this concept is unimaginable. Technology will soon be integrated into our DNA, and we will all be dependent on it in different ways, whether we like it or not. We are always connected. We are augmented by sensors. Data is continuously recorded about our everyday life. In some ways, the media follows us everywhere. 

How has technology impacted our interaction with brand experiences?

Audiences have taken a big jump from having a passive physical ‘back-seat’ to taking a much more central and influential role in conferences and brand experiences. Technology has been a big inhibitor in this shift change. It has allowed audiences to be able to attend a conference virtually using avatars and VR headsets, it has provided a way for attendees of experiences to digitally vote and have a voice. It’s provided a safe space so that those who want to be seen can be and those that want to observe just observe.

There was a surge in online meeting fatigue post-pandemic, which caused the swift development of many avatar-based platforms that are now used in virtual meetings, trade fairs and conferences. Led by tech giants like Microsoft, the use of 3D avatars in metaverse inspired experiences and internal meetings seem to be becoming fairly mainstream. In the B2B space, NFTs are also being used and experimented with by companies like BuzzCast for collectables and conference ticketing purposes. This increase in sophisticated digital platforms and digital avatar worlds like the Consumer Electronics Show hosted online in 2021 are on the rise. But are they adding to our experience? Or are people only enjoying them because of the flexibility they bring to the table?

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Recent studies are actually showing that an overwhelming 81% prefer face-to-face meetings, experiences and conferences, whilst 91% of people agreed that better relationships are built via face-to-face interactions. It seems that the acceleration of technology since the pandemic has yes - provided us with an exciting futuristic ecosystem, but it’s also served as a harsh reminder that human contact is necessary to drive those genuine connections. 

The art of using technology to facilitate human connection

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We can’t imagine attending a conference in 2022 that consists of watching people giving PowerPoint presentations all day about industry statistics… there would be a large-scale walkout before the coffee break! That’s because:

A) it would feel like the audience is taking a back-seat

B) the content is linear, not engaging and there’s no focus on human interaction

C) the technology of text-heavy presentations and static imagery is no longer exciting

For top-tier brand experiences, we must get the balance of these three points right. We must use exciting technology, to drive authentic human connections using engaging content. As an example, our multi-award-winning work with Virgin Media demonstrates this in action. We harnessed the power of holograph real-time technology to help those who are physically disconnected, feel connected at a time the world was living apart. We provided a pioneering world-first way to bridge the gap across generations and human connection caused by the pandemic and create something memorable that carried a huge audience impact. At the crux, this experience is about exploring novel ways to connect people together. It’s unique, so it’s memorable to those learning about the event from the outside. To those who attended the event, they remember the smile of their loved one across the table, the crinkle in their eye and the feeling of being close. Yes, holographic technology is powerful, but what’s more powerful is the impact seeing loved ones had on the attendees. 

Technology is like taking a taxi ride

Granted, it’s like getting in a very shiny, new Tesla, but remains a taxi ride nonetheless. What we’ve learned at Audience over the last few years, is that there is no replacement for authentic human connection. We can inhibit it with shiny tech, we can use it as a vehicle to get from zero to huge audience impact, but at the crux of it, technology is simply used to fulfil that desire to be connected.

We may be turning into a world of digital wizards with an ability to create online server infrastructure, navigate code and interact with the metaverse – but at the end of each day, humans crave physical touch – the one thing technology can’t give us. 

History shows us that people are drawn together, regardless of distance and global restrictions. We all craved human contact during the global lockdown. We are drawn together by moments and shaped by physical experiences. To make an experience memorable is to deliver something rich in emotions and culture. 

At Audience, we are pioneers in developing experiences that are rich in human connection but powered by the latest technology. Let’s figure out how we can maximise your audience's impact and create something that’s never been done before.