How VIBE brands are embracing technological innovation and its importance in events

The highly-anticipated Gadget Show Live returns to Birmingham this week, providing eager technology fans with a glimpse into the future.

Five halls of The National Exhibition Centre will be transformed into a giant gizmo-lovers’ grotto, with over 200 exhibitors from around the world heading to the Midlands to an event that is becoming the place to launch new technology.

When it comes to event planning, the consumer is now more important than ever before. Technological advancements have changed the position of the customer in such a way that it is no longer as simple as B2B or B2C; instead it is all about a company’s relationship with the consumer.

The expectations of event audiences are now higher than ever as they look for total engagement and personal value from their attendance at events, and the brands attending Gadget Show Live have a certain responsibility to successfully engage with their audiences over five days of tech fever.

There are essentially two separate roles that technology plays in a successful event. The first is allowing for a more creative guest experience by embracing digital innovation. A number of note-worthy brands continue to change the way they interact with their customers in this way. A huge number of the world’s most culturally relevant brands are technology companies, leading the way when it comes to cultural traction. Twitter and Instagram are now classic examples, providing the platform for hashtags, connections and live streaming which works seamlessly in line with events across the world.

Through Twitter, brands can increase the impact of their event by driving a global trend campaign, creating overlap between digital and real experiences so that people can experience a London event all the way in New York. Brands such as Red Bull and Nike are experts at showcasing physical events across a digital sphere in this sense, but they also lead the way in incorporating the latest digital technologies into their events.

Feedback is always positive when brands embrace technology to enhance the event’s overall simplicity – such examples are gif video booths and Twitter-activated vending machines; popular retro concepts with a futuristic twist, which really inspire audiences.

Brands commonly sitting near the top of Added Value’s report of cultural vibrancy are Google, Apple, Samsung, BMW, Audi and Coca-Cola. Across the cultural brandscape, these visionary, inspiring, bold and exciting brands are constantly achieving the ideal recipe required for the perfect event; combining their purposeful visions for positive change with enriched consumer experiences to establish a deeper and longer-lasting connection with audiences. They keep it simple by appeasing the customer’s appetite for easily digestible but cool, stylish content, time after time.

Burberry started to create a real noise around using technology at their event when they launched a made-to-order, click & buy, catwalk and smart personalisation service, allowing customers to order bespoke pieces straight from the show – customers can even have their name engraved into the metal coat tag or on the bag plate.

The Harrods Live Catwalk at Vogue Festival is another example, continuing to utilise LED technology with video screens showcasing the brand’s originality and natural flair for fashion. Brands who build these technologies into live events create a far more exciting and memorable experience for their audiences, helping them stand out as a brand with real cultural vibrancy.

Technology’s use in the physical running of an event cannot be ignored. Event management teams now rely heavily on radio contact in huge venues such as the O2 Arena, and we’ve replaced wooden clipboards with synchronised iPads. High tech events require the latest tools, and we harness the power of these technologies without a second thought. If you fail to adhere to the technological requirements of modern-day event management, you will simply be left behind and lost in all the noise.

It is now less than 500 days until the Rio 2016 Olympics and we are all set up and ready to deliver a number of events across the region next year. This follows our work around London 2012 Olympic Games when we were brought in to launch Omega's giant countdown clock in Trafalgar Square to count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to go until the Games, which remained in place until the event finished.

This generated significant buzz across social media not just for Omega, but for us as event organisers, and it will be interesting to see how social media is used to maximum effect at the Rio 2016 Games by the Olympic Teams involved, each with their own dedicated followings across the globe.

Team GB kit supplier Adidas will also have a job to do providing behind-the-scenes insights and live stream video files for those fans who are unable to make the trip across the South Atlantic.

As Gadget Show Live kicks off at the NEC, expectations from consumers are at an all-time high. At the heart of the five-day event will be a management team who will be under pressure to deliver a memorable overall experience for every single guest.

For the tech brands showcasing the very latest developments and gadgets of the future, they will have to do far more than simply stand there with their gizmos - if they want to be remembered and aspire to be a VIBE brand, there is a whole digital and reputational sphere out there which they need to master first.

Richard Dodgson is founder and creative director at Timebased Events.