For two female CEOs at Dreamtek and Liberty & Co, the sole certainty of this past year has been that an abundance of the challenges that lie ahead.
While this has proved testing for some organisations, for Victoria Neeson and Erica Boeke who have recently partnered worldwide with video production company, Dreamtek, and specialist experiential company, Liberty & Co., in many ways, 2020 was a year of opportunity and growth. From making quick decisions, to reacting to a fluid environment and industry by bringing tech and creative expertise together, they have been able to deliver the best possible solutions to their clients. While events and entertainment might have been amongst the hardest hit, this partnership has allowed them to come out of the other side stronger than ever before.
With creatives and offices spread out across the globe, the natural structures of both Dreamtek and Liberty & Co. enabled the women to quickly adjust to the aftershock of the pandemic. What was fundamental from the moment large, with even small-scale events, began to get cancelled in March 2020, was devising a plan that focussed on their virtual hybrid event experience, while showcasing the mastery of remote content creation. Through being ready and working to each other’s strengths, they have successfully satisfied the shifting needs of their customers and audiences.
From keeping huge crowds engaged with exclusively virtual tools, to overcoming Zoom fatigue, to setting up multiple keynote speakers remotely for streamed events, their teams have brilliantly demonstrated their aptitude to recognise which stages and strategies can best overcome the new challenges of the post-pandemic world. Keeping up with the needs of your customers is key to the survival of any business, especially during such an unpredictable time. Victoria and Erica are exceptionally proud to not only have kept up, but to have grown as well through partnering.
“With the right execution, hybrid events can offer experiences that are more colourful and vivid than solely physical ones”.
Their teams are experts in the execution of virtual and hybrid events which gave them a strong foundation to build on when physical events were put on hold. Customers and audiences however, were less familiar with this arm of events. Often coming to them with briefs that essentially asked them to put a physical event online, the last year has been about being brave enough to provide counsel and develop events that are not just online; but optimised for a digital experience. Of course, it’s by no means easy. In addition to the fact that they have an exhaustive list of variables and technical difficulties to deal with, they’re engaging the crowd in a totally unique way, with a screen diluting the “human” element of events. In their eyes, there is no one-size-fits-all that is viable for every digital event. As in the physical world, choices should be made cautiously, executed with accuracy, and consistently with audience in mind. As Maya Angelou said, “people remember how you make them feel”.
They endeavour to make live, virtual and hybrid events the most captivating they can be. There are benefits to each. However, the real magic of a hybrid approach is that you can create an intimate in-person experience while sharing that experience with a mass, digital audience. Consider the possibilities: a small number of individuals physically present in the room, while hundreds stream online from anywhere in the world. With the right execution, hybrid events can offer experiences that are more colourful and vivid than solely physical ones.
As creative organisations, Dreamtek and Liberty & Co. realised that to truly reach their full potential and develop their offering for this new, post-pandemic world, they would need to upskill and develop themselves first. That’s what the partnership is really about. Two sets of expertise and experience coming together to create something stronger.
Challenges lie ahead, but it’s also a priceless opportunity to drive growth and innovation into the industry. They are all too familiar with the struggle of creating events that meet consumer expectations while being commercially viable. Hybrid events offer the opportunity to bring a whole new set of tools to the trade. The future of entertainment is hybrid, and an exciting future it is.
Victoria Neeson is the CEO of leading global video production company, Dreamtek. Since joining Dreamtek in 2010 as an employee and equity owner, Victoria has grown the company from a 6-person operation to a multimillion-dollar leading production company, with over 140 staff members, working with prestigious clients such as Google and Facebook.
Following her own experiences of gender inequality in the earlier years of her career, Victoria has endeavoured to create a culture of hands-on leadership and opportunity, for example with the Power Women initiative – a series of networking events that focus on delivering greater innovation and performance by driving diversity across all sectors within the technology industry.
In her spare time, Victoria enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two daughters and taking the family dog, Hunter, on walks.
Named one of the Top People in Events and Most Innovative Experience Makers by BizBash, Erica Boeke is the CEO and founder of Liberty & Company, a creative agency and consultancy devoted to experiential storytelling.
Prior to founding L&Co. In 2018, she ran Condé Nast’s experiential division, and held lead marketing roles at Fast Company and The New York Times. Erica began her career in journalism, receiving her MS from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She has written two books on politics and sports, and optioned a TV series about the summer she and her dad ushered for a minor league baseball team.
Her true passion is bringing together her incredibly talented, award-winning network to create extraordinary events that create true impact.