The impact on businesses--particularly in regards to how they view their events and meetings--is also similar.
We reflect back to when Live Spark was in its infancy, and Dan Yaman, our founder, regales us with tales of companies in difficult times; merging, scaling down, participating in acquisitions, etc.
In fact, Live Spark's predecessor company was started on Black Monday--and the term ignorance is bliss had never been more true. It may not have seemed like the best time to start a business, but it ended up being the perfect time for the company to introduce itself to the world.
At the time, Live Spark was known as Interactive Personalities--specializing in AniMate technology--real-time animated characters--instead of the entire spectrum of event design.
What happened during that time, was that companies going through significant change due to the economy or simply restructuring started contacting Dan and company.
"We need an audience advocate," was the request. Companies were still bringing their employees together for meetings--in fact, meetings were even more critical than ever for getting everyone on board and reassuring them with the new company visions. But what companies realized was that their audience needed a voice.
An audience in a state of uncertainty, or sitting in a meeting unconvinced, is an audience that is not receptive to new messaging. Likewise, when a company has issues that are unresolved, not addressing these before moving forward into mission-critical content is like putting a drop of water in a bucket of soup; the water is still there, but it's diluted by the simmering broil of the pot at large.
An audience advocate--in the form of an AniMate--was a transformational presence in these events.
Instead of CEOs and Executives talking AT the audience, they were able to talk TO them in an intimate way--even in a crowd of thousands.
The audience advocate:
- Kept the audience entertained and focused by interjecting humor.
- Brought up questions that were on the minds of the audience when an new concept was introduced.
- Voiced issues and objections so they could be addressed and the meeting could move forward.
- Provided an opportunity for top-level personnel to show that they understood what was going on, and were "with" the audience.
- Increased unity and feelings of company loyalty in a time where boosting morale and motivating employees was absolutely critical.
As we experience a deja-conomy of sorts in 2008 and heading into 2009, we're seeing more and more need for the audience advocate. As businesses find themselves in undesirable positions (or, sometimes, great positions, but with a high degree of change), the need for the audience to have a voice in the process grows. Though these AniMates have always been part of our toolbox, they fill a very specific niche in tough times that truly makes an impact.