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NYC Company that Specialized in Digital Experiences for Years Discusses their Pivot During Covid-19

HYPNO Co-Founder, Champ Bennett moves quickly to find digital experience solutions for their event industry clients.

Written by: Emily Dahlquist

On April 21st 2020, Production Department goes behind the scenes with HYPNO, one of the United State’s top experiential companies that specifically specializes in unique camera and digital platform experiences; to find out more about their seasoned approach on working with event industry clients who are wanting to dive into the digital world.

“We just genuinely want to help. These are our customers who are real people and have real jobs too, we want to help them maintain their jobs.”

Company Changes

HYPNO had to shut down both their Brooklyn and L.A office as well as furlough half of their staff, but the company isn’t letting that stop them from pushing forward. Company leaders are focusing their team on setting themselves up for the next 6 months.

Champ: “We moved quickly on making adjustments, which was kind of a shock to the team and then a week or two later we really realized, this is so much bigger than events, it’s the entire economy. It’s looking like events aren’t coming back any time soon.”

“Once the economy and world is on a 6-12 month hold, things change forever.”

Innovation and Creativity as a Service

Champ: “I don’t think I have ever been on so many calls. Back to back with all of our customers.. and all of our customers have asked the same thing, ‘how do we engage the community, and how do we create content?’ Everyone is in scramble mode, but also looking for digital solutions. We realize we can offer our creativity and innovation as a service.”

Champ: “The brands that are that are thinking on their feet right now are looking at the future. Even though there will obviously be economic constraints, I think events will be back stronger than ever, but they won’t look the same.”

Following Industry Leaders

A lot of companies are wondering what to do next, where to pivot, and how to handle all of these things in the “present” moment. Since there are no set industry standards, or new regulations in place yet - all we can do is estimate and assume.

Champ: “I suspect big companies like Facebook will end up paving the way for how the future looks and how people respond. Smaller companies will follow suit of the companies who have resources.. vendors and companies will be fighting for those budgets.”

Experiential v.s Digital

Experiential hasn’t always been a trend, but over the past 10 years brands and companies have been dumping billions of marketing dollars into this avenue of “advertisement” of their products, services and ideas. We live in a digital world, where experience is a luxury. What does it mean when this “luxury” becomes out of reach?

Champ: “Experiential has grown so much because it’s an anti-digital, anti-social media platform. People are now going back to rely on digitally finding ways to connect and build community, since that’s the best they can do right now.”

“All innovation will come from how to bring communities together.”

Perspective on The Future of Live Events

Including risk mitigation and crisis strategy will be a critical part of future pitches and discussions with clients.

Champ: “The biggest fear will be that companies aren't doing their diligence in keeping their spaces safe, keeping them clean and virus free. We are suggesting to all of our customers who are opening up spaces in the next 6 months to a year, that they have to lead with the message of ‘this is a safe and clean experience.’ Also, showcasing the steps they take to ensure their guest’s safety. Some will be from government standards and some will be culturally driven.”

“Everybody has a part to play to get this going again. We must align ourselves with our customers.”

HYPNO’s Approach of a New Digital Community Platform

Champ: “We took our value proposition and thought ‘how do we pivot that to the virtual world.’ What we do best is we help attendees, guests, fans and communities create content that is inspired and driven by a brand and a message, or topic. We took this same concept and put it online so it is accessible by phone or laptop - it does the same video processing - we can add brands, filters, and effects. It creates a space where you feel like you were a part of a group. That's the most challenging thing right now for the live event industry - is that the whole reason people go out and attend events is to connect with each other in a real way.”

HYPNO created CAPSULE, an online platform to create communities for brands, organizations, and other industry or organizational leaders. It brings anywhere from 10 to 2,000 people together to create visual discussions around specific topics, questions, or themes. The brands can create a CAPSULE, brand it, and suggest questions and prompts to its community. Some people are even utilizing this platform to create unique birthday experiences; sharing emotional moments digitally to friends and family.


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