PR’s Top Pros Talk… Metaverse Events
Nick Borelli, Marketing Director for Meetaverse™ by Allseated
Nick Borelli, Marketing Director for Meetaverse™ by Allseated and Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, describe the role of video in a Metaverse event and how it increases opportunities for sponsors and presenters. Nick explains how conducting Metaverse events can increase accessibility and community for participants. Nick also shares stories of how attending and building Metaverse events has impacted him personally and professionally.
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GUEST: Doug Simon
HOST: Nick Borelli
DOUG: You might want to call him the Captain America of the Metaverse after this interview, but I’ll leave that up to you. Can you tell us a bit about the types of Metaverse events that you’re doing?
NICK: We’re kind of really focused on business to business, which is a really broad umbrella, I’ll grant you. But so there’s lots of use cases that have been already in play when it comes to the Metaverse, when it comes to B2C. So we’re squarely in the B2B world, and with that we’re looking at designed experiences for change. Now that’s even broader. But like, let me get it down to like more specifics. It usually ends up coming down into one of two or more often than not, two categories’ connections and education. So that says content and networking.
DOUG: We’re actually working together on an event with Onstream, The Business Metaverse Conference, which is trying to do these types of things. When should companies not do a Metaverse event?
NICK: The only negative to a Metaverse event, I think, is that it is maybe a lot for very simple needs. And if the needs are exclusively about the idea of downloading a new idea into someone’s head and they are a passive consumer of that idea, I think there is lots of really great broadcast technologies that exist that don’t require the extra steps of a Metaverse. And in those ways I would say use those. Don’t go to the Metaverse. If you don’t need attendees to be giving as well as receiving.
DOUG: One of the things to consider that makes some Metaverse event unique is the accessibility both to the audience who may be active participants as well as the speakers who are active. They don’t have to travel to engage at all. It also opens it up for people for whom travel is great difficulty. Is that aligned with what you’re thinking when you plan Metaverse events?
NICK: I honestly think it’s one of the most impactful aspects of the Metaverse. What we’ve had in the past, maybe, let’s say five or six years, is the onset of one-way digital communication that has enabled many more people to consume ideas, but they’re actually not part of the community if they’re not giving back. And there’s people who have not been given the opportunity to contribute to a community, and communities mean anything as broad as I mean, I use that term because it’s the best umbrella, a dental association, A, you know, A B to C group. It doesn’t matter. But any community has people with voices and opinions and passion and energy, and they want to give it. But there’s a lot of friction when it comes to live events. And the friction could be getting in in a plane. It could be physical limitations; it could be anxiety issues. All of these things are keeping great ideas, great minds, great voices out of the conversation. And anything that gives them the opportunity to share their voices makes a better community.
DOUG: Nick, What are the best ways to integrate video into a Metaverse event?
NICK: Video is I mean, it’s everything at when it comes to these environments because it’s the ability to give people choice in what they consume, the video volume and variety that one can have, and an event where the attendee has the ability to go and roam and go where they choose and consume what they want for as long as they want. That means that there’s so many more options for hosting video and that’s great news when it comes to sponsors because they have the ability to engage with people on demand at different aspects of the spaces. It’s good news for presenters because they can have supporting content that’s available. Do your mixture of live content and recorded content in a way that it doesn’t really matter for the attendee. They get value at every step of the way, the way they want, the value that they want specifically, which is very individualist. It makes the strategy around video content so much more chess than anything else because you have, you know, you have to think kind of three steps ahead and think about the journeys of each type of attendee, each persona that you have. And there’s just so much more that you can give them and there’s other places you can use that content. So that flexibility and capability to have concurrent voluminous amounts of content makes it so you’re almost in a content library that’s come alive.
DOUG: Two important pieces of a successful event or the ability for the. Participants and attendees to navigate around efficiently. And a second piece is for interaction. Let’s take the navigation piece first. What are some of the key things that you look for when planning to make sure people can find their way around easily to where they want to be?
NICK: You can be really blatant with signage. I mean, we’re in a 3D environment, so it’s less about having some kind of clickable link structure or anything like that. Ours is designed as if you would navigate in a live experience. So in a live event of which I’ve worked on many for decades now, your wayfinding through signage is an important element of the experience design. It’s the same when it comes to the Metaverse. You have things that are naturally put together. You designed spaces that are open for serendipitous bumping into people so you can kind of design for that human collision and then you have props. One of the things that is the most interesting thing that I found since we started doing these events two years ago now is the fact that people reference physical objects when they’re making announcements organically. So I’ll give you an example. Someone will say immediately following our first presenter, you can go into the back of the room at near the bar and start having conversations with people about this and it’s like, that’s such human language in a digital platform. It’s not click on the third box until you get a dropdown arrow, and this is human stuff. We’re getting back to this sense of presence that is just organic. And you can actually have a private conversation within this boisterous environment. You know, how important again is the ability to make sure you can connect one on one and either have this scheduled within the environment of people were attending or serendipitously, as you describe. Most people when they look back at what attending an event brought to them, it ends up being like they already kind of factor in the givens. And then it’s the things that they didn’t, didn’t anticipate and those end up being longer, deeper conversations with people on their terms. I’ve been in many virtual environments over the last few years. That’s where there’s the speed networking clock thing, which is just anxiety-inducing, you know, to watch him having a conversation with someone I just met and it’s like, oh, 30 seconds, oh, I’ve got 20 seconds.
DOUG: Fortunately, I’ve been married. It’ll be 31 years since I don’t have to worry about speed dating, but that’s like a really stressful way.
NICK: And then I’ve been in conversations where the back and forth is so amazing between two people either respect or I, you know, I’ve always wanted to talk to you and just being a fly on the wall for my professional development, I would argue, is probably some of the most profound steps that have taken place in my career is just sitting or standing next to Giants and have these amazing conversations that they’ve invited me in. And, you know, I knew I was smart enough not to know not to talk. And I gained so much insights from that. Those types of things happen in our platform pretty frequently. And in the event that we’re working on, there’s the breath to do that. You know, there is the time allotted for those things to happen.
DOUG: And that’s a really important point you just mentioned about time allotted, giving people time not only between sessions, but something that might be overlooked because it’s sort of prosaic, is having content available as video on demand after. So, if you get caught in a really fascinating conversation or if you’re partaking in a great conversation, you know, take two days to get to the start of the meeting because, you know, you can actually revisit it later. I think any things we want to leave our audience with, that’s anything you can think of, like final thought. Like if this one or two tips, if they’re considering an event in the Metaverse that includes participants, engaging foods, panels and video content can include multiple tracks, what would you suggest to people?
NICK: This type of platform is attractive to people who are enthusiastic, which is like, you know, what does that mean? There are certain industries that are certain. Maybe actually I the back there’s people who are enthusiastic about everything. It’s really finding those people within your community. They exist whether I was but to give you some examples of boring things, but I bet you there’s people who are super enthusiastic about things that I would say are boring. Fine to those people because how you build your event should really have as many amount of people that you can sprinkle throughout it who are high energy because the idea that we’re breaking people out of the mold of is that digital events all have to be passive consumption, but in fact they can be engaging. And sometimes that takes a little bit of work to break people out of their shells. It takes moderation. It takes people who have those traditional host-like abilities to like, bring it out in. People find your own enthusiastic high energy people and not only have them, you know, or maybe not even have them at a podium, but have them in intermingled within conversations and sort of social butterfly. They’ll kick off conversations. They’ll get people thinking and then they’ll you leave them to their own devices. And what you’ll find is an exponential increase in in that spreading of that enthusiasm. And when people leave, they’ll be like, wow, that was really great. It got me thinking. It broke me out of the way that I normally do things. And everything about these types of platforms are really about that. It’s about years and years of content consumption being the only way that we get our information and engage with people digitally. And now it’s asking you to give as well. And if you can get people over that hump, then they’re hooked. Then they’re with whatever your goal of your event is like. Now you have not only someone who is had their behavior changed, but potentially they’re a change agent themselves because they’ve been activated. That’s the that’s the best thing an event could be. I mean, changing change of behavior is like the point of an event. If an event doesn’t change behavior, it’s not really an event, But creating a change agent Now that’s next level.
DOUG: This is going to be great to create some change agents as well as really move the process forward. A great awakening for a lot of people. It’s such a pleasure to be working with you and thanks so much for spending time with us.
NICK: Thank you.