Ruth Hirst On How Synergy Effect Is Adapting To New Challenges In 2024

Ruth Hirst On How Synergy Effect Is Adapting To New Challenges In 2024

Sydney-headquartered brand experience specialists, Synergy Effect, has launched a new world of innovative event solutions in response to top business challenges.

WLT sat down with Ruth Hirst (pictured), winner of the Entrepreneur/Founder winner at this year’s Women Leading Tech Awards and director at Synergy Effect, to discuss how the company is adapting to the new challenges facing the business.

WLT: Can you tell us about the background of Synergy Effect and what the company does?

Hirst: For a quarter of a century, we’ve been creating brand experiences – including events, conferences, and incentives – that go beyond the ordinary and are designed to educate, connect, inspire, and ignite. At the heart of our mission is a commitment to helping leaders and brands build thriving communities, engagement, loyalty, and trust while increasing sustainability, equality, and diversity.

We’re passionate about starting conversations around how immersive online and hybrid multi-site brand experiences can reduce the carbon footprint of an event by 50 to 99 per cent and significantly boost inclusion. We’ve been recognised for this with a Gold Medal by EvoVadis for Sustainability – incorporating environmental and human rights – positioning us globally in the top 5 per cent of events management businesses.

We strive to exceed global benchmarks for quality brand expression, design, and imaginative experiences. Our record of delighting over 125,000 guests at events over the past 20 years and winning several awards – including the National Winner of Best Live or Hybrid Brand Event at the 2022 Australian Event Awards for First Impressions by Galderma, demonstrates this commitment. Earlier this year, I was also honoured to be named a 2023 Atlassian Women Leading Technology winner for Entrepreneur/Founder, recognising our industry-leading work.

Can you tell us a bit about your role within business?

As co-founder and director of Synergy Effect, I’m focused on starting conversations about the new world of possibilities for brand experiences and our solutions that help resolve business challenges. Spotlighting event possibilities to leverage technology, drive engagement and enhance inclusion is something I discuss daily – encouraging businesses to look at solutions to engage with all their customers across the region simultaneously with an immersive, consistent brand experience.

I provide a complimentary one-hour Discovery Session to organisations seeking to discuss how events and incentives can help further their strategy and vision. In this session, we look at the needs or challenges, run through solution option examples, and discuss the initial brief.

Synergy had a recent shift in how you approach event planning. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

So much has changed in the events space, with the options for an event ranging from 100 per cent in-person, to in-person with online attendance, to multi-site hybrid with all localised events engaging with the same top brand-centred presentations and experiences, to 100 per cent immersive online, and beyond. Our approach to event planning starts by discussing the business, its needs, challenges, and goals. We find out how many people are in the organisation or customer base and the diverse locations the potential audiences are based. We share insights into the diverse range of event options and ways to embed engagement and two-way communication into the experience right from the start. Together, we discuss a dream vision for the event and begin building the event experience centred on brand and engagement. Throughout the concept planning process, we encourage our clients to consider extending reach and inclusion, furthering engagement, and consciously working on sustainability solutions.

Why was it so crucial for Synergy to adapt its processes as the world changes?

How we live and work has changed significantly, creating challenges for businesses and great opportunities. This is true for all of us in the events and marketing industry and our clients. We have recently launched a range of new solutions specifically designed in response to critical business challenges.

Five of the most common business challenges we are hearing are:

  1. Customers and staff are based all over the country, the region, and the world.
  2. Largescale needs to educate and upskill ongoingly.
  3. Struggle to make connections and distinguish brand, build loyalty.
  4. Finding impactful ways to champion the environment and corporate social responsibility.
  5. Tight budgets and time pressures.

Our new range of Connect360 solutions has been specifically designed to:

  • Address remoteness and accessibility for local, regional and region-wide attendee inclusion.
  • Educate customers and staff instantaneously in real-time.
  • Bring products and solutions to market quicker.
  • Remove distance as a barrier for delegates and local/international speakers.
  • Make better use of everyone’s time.
  • Reduce per-person costs and extend guest number possibilities, maximising ROI.

What challenges are facing the events industry regarding female representation, and what is being done to rectify this?

As a female in the event industry, I’m committed to mentoring and inspiring other women to strive towards their professional goals. As a mother and a professional, I understand the challenges of juggling work and life, and I am committed to furthering flexibility, inclusion, and diversity in all workplaces. At Synergy Effect, we do this through our flexible, hybrid work policies and championing this across industries by highlighting more inclusive event options that remove borders and allow for a greater diversity of speakers and options for attendance so people can juggle the demands of their lives. This industry has many opportunities to work across diverse service areas that make up the industry. Whilst project delivery needs are often high, flexibility can be built into many roles to keep the team strong, deliver personal best, high client service, and relevant training to stay updated with skills to respond to current demands. In short, the industry experience and rewards delivered make it all worthwhile.

In my experience, women are well represented in the events industry, with opportunities to take centre stage, provide leadership, and grow together throughout the years.

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