In this episode, we’re talking with Tim Berghoff, the former Senior Director of Event Marketing at Qualcomm about innovation in the live events industry. This conversation will make you more excited than ever to see what live events are going to look like as they start becoming the norm again. So hit the download button, screw your headphones on tight, and get ready to take notes.
More about Tim Berghoff
With over twenty-five years’ experience in marketing and event management, Tim has worked in various capacities including, but not limited to, integrated marketing campaigns, experiential design, and global sports marketing ventures. Projects include successful programs at seven different Olympic Games, two Super Bowls, a World Cup and most recently overseeing the Events Marketing team at Qualcomm.
Hosted and Written by Jeremy Dobrish
Produced by Bethany Potter
Theme Music by Mike Mancini
Logo design by Shraddha Maharjan
Special thanks to Dossie McCraw
HOW INNOVATION LEADS TO BETTER LIVE EVENTS
By Jeremy Dobrish
I recently sat down with Tim Berghoff to discuss innovation in live events. He was so inspiring that I came away with a renewed excitement for what corporate events will be like post-pandemic. Tim helped me see that his pause we’re in is going to “unleash a flurry of innovation” which will lead to greater “personalization” of messaging. I’ll admit, I can’t wait.
Tim started his career with the Olympics, moved on to Super Bowls, and then spent 15 years leading the events team at Qualcomm, one of the most innovative brands in tech. This guy knows innovation.
Tim always has his eyes open looking for innovative ideas to bring to the event space. Of course, this does have some downsides.
“I think being an event professional, we're a bit ruined for actually sitting and watching an event, whether it's the Oscars or whatever it may be, or even just going to a play because you don't just sit there and enjoy it. You’re trying to peek behind the stage or see what else is going on.”
For Tim, innovation goes beyond the actual event design itself, and extends into finding unique ways to put your brand and products at the forefront. Sometimes we think our presenters are the stars of the show, but Tim reminded me that it’s really the brand and the products.
Being innovative in the live space is hard enough, but how did Tim manage to pivot when the world went virtual? Well, he partnered with Proscenium to create Qualcomm’s own unique and innovative solution. That platform received “accolades and tons of compliments from partners and press about being cutting edge and innovative” including this one about their tech summit from Forbes:
“The summit itself is being hosted on an innovative virtual platform. I've participated in a host of remote events this year. And Qualcomm has set the bar for engaging, immersive and innovative meeting expense.”
He was so successful in the virtual world, I wondered if there were concepts he was going to keep from the virtual space, even as events went live again.
“I think some of the lessons we learned from the virtual space of audience attention spans being shorter, or bite-sized content resonating more, or high production quality, and truly how valuable that is and how much it actually resonates with the end user.”
The possibilities of virtual now mean that a show can be brought to whole new audiences. In addition, new audiences can be brought into the show. And, perhaps most importantly, event professionals now have to think much harder about the right medium for their message. You need to figure out your goals first, and then decide the format for your event. Tim sees this ushering in a new era of personalization where messaging will be tailored much more for individual audiences. Of course, all of this can come at a cost:
“A basic live stream or throwing a camera in the back of the room and trying to broadcast it out is no longer going to be enough.”
Tim said that hybrid events lead to costs up to two and a half times what an event used to cost. So figuring out who your audience is, and how you want to reach them has become an economic imperative as well.
But Tim was really clear that, to him, innovation does not equal more expensive. Rather, innovation is doing something that’s not been done before. He used social media campaigns as an example of how that can be done without spending a lot of money.
But, however you do it, innovation is super important. Even if your brand isn’t known for its innovation the way Qualcomm is, there is still a need to re-invent and do things differently. And Tim is optimistic. Now that the pandemic has given everyone some time to think:
“you're going to see a little bit of liberation, of like a mini gold rush of innovation in the sense that now that we're back to live, I think there's such this pent-up energy that it'll create new things that people hadn't thought of before, because the way people look at events and creating them and executing them has all changed.”
I left my conversation with Tim really excited to see how live events evolve once they come back in full force. If you could use some inspiring words about how to innovate live events, check out the full episode.