The future for events is hybrid, say brands investing in experiences


Brands have every reason to be optimistic about live marketing and its ability to work in their favour, due to an emerging blend of physical and virtual experiences.

That’s according to senior marketers from telecoms giant Ericsson who spoke at ‘The Future is Lively’, a virtual event organised by the live marketing agency, Lively.

Matt Smith, Vice President of Global Marketing at Ericsson, and Michiel Pool, its Global Head of Events, described the challenges the brand faced in evolving its live marketing in the wake of COVID-19 and the cancellation of the large-scale, physical conferences such as Mobile World Congress which have been so important in previous years.

Pool said: “COVID fast-tracked the move towards the future for us, and had a really big impact on our growth, and the sheer volume of event experiences we’re doing virtually nowadays.”

He added that the brand’s use of events has moved up a gear during 2020 thanks to the availability of technology and audience demand for experiences: “We had to innovate, practice, try new ideas, and do it at a fast tempo to get our content out to people around the globe.”

By September 2020, Ericsson had staged more virtual experiences than during the whole of 2019 and is looking towards fusing physical elements into this digital innovation: “The future of live marketing is being re-imagined,” Pool added. “And we see the future as a perfect blend of the physical and digital elements of the experience. For us, the physical part, and human interaction, that’s so key to our business will remain crucial in the hybrid experience once we return to the possibility of adding face-to-face.”

Activision Blizzard Media has also explored how brands could get involved with virtual, introducing gaming as an avenue for investment, with their Head of Market Research Jan Bojko pointing out that “by the end of 2020, games will be reaching 2.7 billion people.”

Bojko said: “There are a variety of ways for brands to get into the gaming space, whether that’s through integration into our games or sponsoring one of our eSports teams”.

The gaming space was further explored by psychologist and gaming experience expert, Celia Hodent, who talked about the importance of creating an emotional impact with live marketing. Above all, she said, event organisers should recognise that “perception is subjective, memory is fallible, and attention is scarce.” She added: “When we build an environment, encourage users to focus on the right thing and make sure it’s not overwhelming.”

Lively’s Founding Partners Mike White and Mark Mitchell rounded off the event with insights into the booming world of live experiences. Mitchell said: “The future is live and connected.”

Sam Hyland
Author: Sam Hyland

Sam is the assistant content manager for Event Industry News (EIN). Sam is involved in publishing news stories, videos and podcasts. Sam also collates the latest stories for the EIN e-newsletter. If you have a press release or story you think we might be interested to know about please email