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IBTM Americas: ‘Design what you want to design, and what you want to achieve’

By Adrian Caire | Sep 14, 2023

“Design what you want to design, and what you want to achieve,” Liz Whittaker told attendees during IBTM Americas in Mexico City on Sept. 13.

Whittaker, vice president of creative services at Encore—a leading virtual, hybrid and in-person event design and production company—is responsible for leading creative teams that deliver innovative and customized solutions for all types of events. During her IBTM Americas session, “Content Created to Attract," Whittaker shared her vision on graphic design and the importance of organizing, prioritizing and promoting the retention of the messages we want to convey to our audience.

Whittaker began by discussing how much time a person can pay attention to a task without being distracted, noting that someone can pay attention to a screen on their smartphone for 47 seconds. Fifty-seven percent of the U.S. population is considered addicted to smartphone use, and we check our smartphone every 16 minutes.

This knowledge is vital when creating content, Whittaker said, noting that it is also essential to consider how to keep our audience interested in our presentation well beyond the first few minutes—which can be achieving by creating valuable content when we have the audience’s attention while also emotionally connecting with them. 

We have seen how screen content consumption has changed during and after the pandemic, Whittaker said, noting that before the pandemic, mobile screen viewing time in the U.S. was three hours and 48 minutes per day. That increased to seven hours and 42 minutes during the pandemic and currently sits at seven hours and four minutes. When we think about the content on the screen, we need to be aware of its use and optimization, she said.

Whittaker said that as our screen time has increased, the money invested in producing popular TV shows increased as well, citing examples such as The Crown, which costs around US$14 million per episode; Game of Thrones, $15 million per episode; House of the Dragon, $20 million per episode; and Stranger Things, $30 million per episode. And though we may think we have to invest heavily in order to keep the attention of our event audience, Whittaker said that’s not the case, noting that one of the leading digital platforms that has dramatically increased its demand (and eclipsed YouTube) is TikTok.

It’s within everyone’s reach to create and view TikTok content, she said, so by investing just a little money you can do something that holds the audience's attention in a world where people’s behaviors are constantly changing.

So, how can we ensure that our content can create interest, generate revenue and make an impact over a sustained time period? It’s about sharing experiences and maximizing human retention in the message we want to convey, Whittaker said. Make sure your content is emotional and experiential. This way, we improve our ROI and ensure that the audience feels ownership and can remember what they’ve experienced.

Whittaker said just as important as analyzing your spending is analyzing your return.



Adrian Caire