Encore: WEC, headshots and what's next

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Encore: WEC, headshots and what's next

By Michael Pinchera | Jun 13, 2022

As senior vice president, brand and community engagement for Encore, Amanda Armstrong is responsible for the strategic development and management of the brand’s story and its impact on the event industry. In advance of WEC, we reached out to her to get some insights into what she’s seeing throughout meetings and what she’s anticipating at the event—including the Encore headshot station, providing attendees with complimentary professional headshots (visit booth 637 to sign up)!

Amanda Armstrong600

What are you and/or Encore most looking forward to with WEC in San Francisco?

We’re thrilled to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of MPI with our friends and colleagues. It could not be a more pertinent time to celebrate the MPI network and our industry relationships as we look to the future. At Encore, we’re focused on the transformations that have occurred—within our company, the industry, the community and even within ourselves as individuals. Personally, I can’t wait to reconnect with my fellow MPI members, learn from each other and hit the dance floor with my mask on.

Do you have anything special planned for WEC?

We do! It’s no secret that over the last two years, so many of us, including Encore, have adapted, evolved and stretched to meet the changing demands of the meetings experience. We’re celebrating that journey. We encourage everyone to come by our booth to reconnect with our team and reflect on their own transformation and how they’re looking to the future. When they join us at the booth, it’s time for a little transformation of their own. I hope they take advantage of a little primping and pampering from professional stylists before taking a new headshot with our photographer. We’re all focused on the future, and nothing feels better than a fresh outlook—and a fresh look—to get started. 

Has your approach to participating in face-to-face events changed as a result of the pandemic?

I’ll tell you what didn’t change…our belief that meeting professionals are the ambassadors for connection within organizations. The pandemic experience highlighted how vital meeting planners and event producers are to fostering connection and creating, extending or enabling an organization’s culture.

During the pandemic, we helped many customers connect with their audiences as their technology provider. We saw how essential technology platforms were as tools to continue to meet during the pandemic, but now we see the opportunity to leverage them in meaningful go-forward ways. We’ve found that companies who embraced technology through virtual platforms are planning to use them more frequently as we exit the pandemic. We believe there’s power there and we’ll continue investing in our products to make the hybrid and virtual experiences easier to plan, execute and measure.

Are there any specific event production trends that you’re really excited about right now?

There’s a big shift in focus to engagement—it’s no longer about driving attendance numbers. Because we’re able to measure where participants are spending their time and what’s sticky with them, whether that’s with RFID technology in person, or with digital metrics, meeting professionals can make informed decisions about event design and better deliver on the event objectives. Knowing this trend, we asked our experienced event producers to share best practices on engagement and we’re releasing an Engagement Guide to support the planning community with key insights.

Thinking about the next 6-12 months, what’s next for Encore?

We are focused on the growth of our industry and delivering the right solutions for the changing meetings landscape. We know organizations are exploring new ways to deliver the networking and engagement that their participants are craving, and we are also focused on investing in those solutions as a partner in event strategy, production and execution, as well as technology provider. 

We’ve also seen increased demand for virtual platforms among customers who adopted the technology in the pandemic but are now using it to extend their reach to new audiences, to increase engagement with a remote workforce, and to support diversity and inclusion for their programs. The technology we’ve adopted as a safety protocol has the power to expand networks, increase connection and support companies as they reinforce culture and connection in a post-pandemic world. In the near term at Encore, that means advancements to Chime, our virtual event program, with upgrades including low latency, improving the connectivity and interaction between the digital audience and the live content, as well as improvements in measuring “dwell time,” which measures if a participant is still engaged with the live stream or not. That’s all exciting to me because as event producers, we will be able to make decisions in real time and know whether an audience is engaged, or if we’ve lost them.

 

Author

michael-pinchera
Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera is an award-winning writer and editor for The Meeting Professional as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997. Read more of his work at www.whatmemeworry.com.