The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode 67 · 5 months ago

Greater Engagement in Higher Ed Through Virtual Events


Since the pandemic began, we have had to adapt to a new online environment, but platforms like Zoom and Microsoft teams aren’t giving us the human touch that we need. Remo is an interactive virtual event platform that empowers users to create natural interactions in online settings. 

Hoyin Cheung is the Founder and CEO of and is on a quest to humanize the virtual experience. In today’s conversation, Hoyin talks about how Remo’s immersive environment has found a way to increase engagement and create better experiences for online Higher Education events.  

Join us as we discuss:

  • How Remo works and how it differentiates from a platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 
  • How Remo is utilized in Higher Education and how it increases engagement between faculty, students, and alumni. 
  • The challenges of Hybrid events and Remo’s plans to overcome them. 

You're listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, donor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. If you're looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the Higher Ed Marketer podcast. I'm troy singer here with Bart Kaylor. Each week we interview Higher Ed marketers that we admire for the benefit and hopefully the betterment of the entire Higher Ed Marketing Community. Bart, today we get to talk to Huan Chung with Remo, and his quest is humanizing the online experience, and I think I can speak for both of us that we are very impressed with how he's trying to humanize higher ed events that are either hybrid or completely online. Yeah, I think it's Um I think we've all experienced in the pandemic the frustration of, you know, utilizing different you know productivity platforms such as zoom or teams to try to really Um experience or create experiences for prospective students or alumni and one of the things I really like about this it kind of ties into so many other times that we've talked about, whether it was Ethan Beaut at Bom bomb or whether it's just, you know, some of these other with with platforms like Zeem me, with community, the idea that everybody wants to have community, everybody wants to share an experience, whether it get's a, you know, an event or whether it's a virtual tour or whether it's a you know, how do I figure out where to go to college? We all have this desirous humans to share in that, and so I think this is just another tool in that tool belt of how we can leverage that's different, these different technology platforms to create those shared experiences. Ohian does a good job of explaining the benefit too different department in the hired community, and then we also have him demonstrate via video, and it's our intent to have links in the show notes of the platforms that this podcast is distributed through that you can also look at those. So, without further ADO, here's our conversation with Hoyan Chun. We're looking forward to our conversation about humanizing the online experience with Hogian Chun, founder and CEO of Remo, Hoi, and if you would please tell everyone about remo and the solution that provides and your role at remo. First all, thanks, guys. Thank you so much, Um bar and troy for having me on. Super excited. Yeah, I'm the founder CEO of Remo. Remo is a online or virtual, immersive platform. We are the best guest experience on the market right now for virtual, very immersive and human life, virtual events. Um, to kind of describe in a very simple way, imagine you're like using Google map and you're scrolling into the map, like zooming in, and when you zoom in, you might see a building and imagine you could zoom in further into that building and see the actual tables in that building, and then you can even see a bunch of circles on it. So it's kind of like an overhead view of the map and you can see a bunch of circles of people's faces and if you click onto a table, you will see the videos of the people that are sitting at that table. And so what we what we do is you can move and you can have authentic conversations with different people in this space, and that's what we focus on. Thank you, and later on in the episode we're going to have an opportunity to see exactly how this looks, as you usually mimic and replicate the schools that you are holding these events for. They look very similar to the real buildings, the real insides of the buildings,...

...and we want to give people examples of that. The reason why we're having you on the PODCAST is we've had a couple of other podcasts on humanizing humanizing comflow, humanizing communication, and I know it's Bart's belief that marketing and Higher Ed can get a little impersonal. So how can we personalize it? And we know that remo does as much as they can to work within the Higher Ed space of improving the engagement, getting that engagement lifts. So let's talk about how remo can work and how the difference is differentials itself from a platform like zoom. Yeah, so remo is Um to kind of put it simply, like we put the movement in the hands of the guests. So the guesses in the driver's seat, they're not a passive guests, audience member. They're they're not just like a passage in the roller coaster, like they're controlling the roller coaster itself. So, because you do that, um it's also required for them to turn on their microphone and camera. So once you do that, and no two percent of the people that go into a remote event turn on their micing camp's umber one. And because of that, that leads to three point two x way more engagement, because now you have an active participant. Like there's no scenario where that person can look at their email while they're doing an event or you know they're they're just doing something else that it doesn't really allow them to do that because you have to respond to the people that are actually talking to you and also you can actually go and seek out different people. So that's like one aspect of it. The second aspect is that it's a very customized floor plan, and the customized floor plan, which allows a lot of universities to replicate their real university Um buildings and layout, for example, makes it feel really real. So a lot of some of our universities use have digital programs like a digital online NBA s or just a digital courses. So by having the campus, it makes the student feel more like, Oh, I'm actually attending something. It's not just some oh like a U Demi course or, you know, like like just some random course online. It's it's not to say that those courses aren't great, but it's just like you pay so much money to go to university, you want to feel something little bit more better experience. So a lot of people use us for a variety of different reasons. Um a lot of it. What we're really good for is breakout sessions and networking, and that is where we're very, very strong at. That's great. I love that idea of being able to kind of create that, that digital version of the reality, because I think that sometimes, I mean, you know, we're not getting into, you know, necessarily talking about metaverse here, but that's that's really what has been going on with online game for twenty years now. I mean the idea that I'm going to experience and honestly it's gone on longer than that. It's like, you know, hey, I remember back in the eighties when I was, you know, pole position in the arcade. I mean the reason people like that is it was a it was a steering wheel, a pedal to on the floor and I could experience what it was like to raise a race car in a very you know eight bit method, but I think that the idea, that that's why it was popular, that I could, I could experience that. And I talked so many times about how prospective college students or any student has to feel like they emotionally can experience something. And so whenever I talk to schools, it's like, you know, when you show your photography, don't show buildings and don't show empty classrooms, show people in it so that people can say, Oh, I can see myself there, I can, I can picture myself there, and it sounds to me that's a lot of what you guys are doing with with the idea of of humanizing these events. And it's just a really quick follow up there. Like so you talked about games, right, like typically, game designers design games and immersive environment. It's like it's like their full time job to dedicate their entire...

...lives to do that. Now we're asking educators to do that, which they have not they probably haven't spent any time doing that, and that's quite difficult. It's challenging. And so what remo offers is you mentioned metaverse, like you know, you're right, like people have been developing games for a long time. metaverse is just the new buzzword for that, which which is great, but we offer a very simple solution, something that's more tangible and it's not too gamified, you know, like as you play like counter strike or world of Warcraft, that might be a bit too much for the average person to kind of interact with, to game like, and so we don't want to alienate those people. We want to make this as easy as possible for the masses to adopt. I love that. I love the fact that you know, you're you're basically using the same platforms were already used to, you know, and I used the word zoom generic. So the idea that we are, we're all used to that. With the pandemic is that, you know what, we couldn't get face to face with people, we couldn't engage in physical environment, so we started doing, you know, basically the facetime zoom type of platforms, which is great, it's I mean, I'm grateful for that, but it does lack the that idea of an immersive environment. I mean I'm looking at a Brady Bunch, you know, screen and things like that, and so we've got to figure out ways to take it to the next level and I really like that, some of the things that you're talking about here, because I do think that starts to humanize it even more, not necessarily from the fact that I mean it's humanization to say I can see you and I can you know you're in Hong Kong right now, I'm in Indianapolis. For having a conversation. We can see each other's body language to a degree, but yet we're not in a in a physical space that we're sharing that, but this kind of starts to create that in our minds and I really think that's a pretty exciting thing. If you would hoh, you and please give us an example application to how this is utilized in Higher Ed. What the part that's you typically help and how to increase their engagement. Sure. So, Um Remo is very flexible Um and that allows us to fit into the workflows, into the major challenges the university has. So we have a few. One is we our layout can be used as a job fair, so employers can um don't have to fly in, they come in and they can sit at their table for like an hour and they can get their candidates, they can see and ask them questions, and so it's situated where like when you when the candidates come to your table, your video is already on and you can see them. So it's almost like you're basically there. Um a lot of job fairs, virtual of job fairs. It's like maybe they'll have the employer logo, but there may not may or may not be somebody there, or they just chat. So we mimic that part. So that's one Um. The second is people use us for poster sessions. So I'm sure you guys are familiar. Like poster sessions is like it's kind of like a trade expo, but with like you know, it's very similar to a job fair, if you think about it, where each graduate student would sit at a big table basically, and each table has its own white board. So they put their entire poster on that White Board and people will come and, Um, you know, with travel restrictions and also budgets, people who want to give grant or looking for collaborators can then come to those tables and then easily looking for projects, looking for collaboration extremely easily out of her mass basis. Post session is another one. Third is Um alumni networking, for just networking events. Is More of a simpler one and also for enrollment. So for prospective students who are looking at different universities, don't come and they don't have to fly. They don't have to flying is a pretty big step, but they might want to learn a little bit more without...

...that full cost commitment and this is a fantastic way. And the best thing is you get to talk to someone like you get to talk to alumni, right, and that that makes the sales pitch much more human and much more attractive, because now students can make and get a better impression. So the ones that we've worked with for enrollment, they said that they're like enrollment numbers have gone higher than they that were before because they were able to put a face to a name. That's great and I think it goes back to that just what you said there the three end. What we've been talking about the entire time is the idea of humanizing it, the idea that I can put a face to a name, I can put a face in them and an experience and and an emotion to, you know, what historically might have been a chat or something like that. I I've got a lot more a lot more of my senses are engaged and I think that's really, really great. Let me ask you just a follow up question on some of these types of events. Do you ever do any kind of hybrid where you know there's there's people coming in, but then there's also people about those real tables or you know that we described earlier? Ye, so we do. We do do hybrid Um. We we also serve several other segments outside of Higher D and so we have had hybrid events there, from our perspective, hybrid events, at least from the customers that we're speaking with. It depends. It really depends on how fast the universities are retrofitting their classrooms and their their their facilities. It's it's happening right now at a fast pacing. Corporate so they're adding their up their upgrading their equipment in their meeting rooms, but at universities it's it's still kind of taking some time. I mean there's just more there's just more classrooms right it's gonna take more time. So it hasn't been as fast. And the second thing is is that I think they're all trying to figure out hybrid. They're all trying to figure out how to make it work and I gotta tell you, like hybrid classroom is a really tough problem. Truly making it hybrid, not just some streamcast, not just some streaming. That that's that's not that's just streaming. That's not a hybrid event, that true hybrid event. It's very, very difficult and I think we need a little bit more I think there's some people that are doing it, but I think there needs to be more time to kind of see it really mature and make it a really good experience. Yeah, because I can, I can imagine in my mind. Um, you know, we're using the table example earlier. You know, we've got a got a haul. You know, maybe it's even like the idea of a college fair. You know, you've got this hall, you've got all these different places. But but if if all of the the the admissions counselors had a laptop and they were connected to their microphone and their their their video, kind of like what you've said, and they're interacting with the people in front of them, but they also interacting with the people that are on the laptop, that starts to create a little bit of that sense of I'm there, but no, don't help me understand. No, no, no, no, I'm I'm a hundreds of agreeing with you. I think that, yeah, it's it's really hard. I mean and in that situation where we actually advise is don't do it, like, don't do that, like you're gonna be first of all, running an event is already stressful, and then you got to run a virtual and a physical like one person, like that's just I would never do that to anyone. So what we've seen, UM is people is run two parallel events and there's two separate teams that do that. And so that's where hybrid gets a bit tricky, because people think hybrid is like, Oh, it's one team do two things, or it's one budget, same budget, and I can do two things. What's starting to become reality is not. No, that's not it's you need more budget, you need more people if you want to do like a really well executed hybrid. And a lot of medium, small medium sized companies don't have the uget. They don't do hybrid. So Large Corps... people with the budget, like they really really want to do it really well, then they can do that. That makes a lot of sense because, I mean, even as I'm starting to kind of think that through, just what you said I mean, let's say that I have a preview day where I have, you know, students come on campus to do the campus tour and talk with professors and do some things like that. But if I were to do a second version of that preview day with a different team, with a different set of professors, with a virtual environment, I can create the same experience of doing the campus tour, you know, through through three d through virtual through all that, having those staged professors virtually available to have those chats, but it's not relying on that same team to figure out how to do it. And I think what what's happening, what's going to happen, is people realizing that they're actually two different audiences. People who come physically, which maybe live nearby Um can drive, versus people who are like international students, maybe in Canada or on the other coast, or people in small towns that don't have the budget. Then they can participate and that amount number of people may be bigger in terms of numbers and for university to be able to scale that kind of marketing effort, I think is is may actually may actually be even um much more interesting. That's great. That's great. Thank you, Ohigan. At this time we're going to ask you to show US exactly what this looks like and what this experience via remo would be sure. So you can see here, this is the main hall for the Carlson School Management at University of Minnesota. So this is what it actually looks like and this is the photo. This is this is an actual photo and this is what they created virtually. So you can see how there's like these little tables here and you can adjust like the table names. They even got the little ball, the same metal ball, there as well. So that's one and then here's the second one, which is Nsu Florida. This is the again, like the main hall of this building, and this is the virtual version of it. So they've got like this middle, uh, this brick wall or gate here as well. And those people who are just listening to this and not seeing the video, basically we're looking at photographs that are converted to virtual environment and just how accurate they look and how they actually make you feel. It's a very three dimensional model, much like you would see in architectural renderings and and things like that, and we'll ask you to please go to the show page wherever you access this episode and we'll have a link to what this looks like. Oh, you know, are there any other examples that you can share or anything you would like to add before we move away from this portion? Yeah, I mean I think so. A lot of the universities that we're talking with they are doing they're doing several things, like some of them are creating online programs, like strictly online programs. Some of them are doing like part time like I'm sure you guys know, like part time Mbas and stuff like that, which which the participants are more distributed, they're not always at the same campus all the time. So a lot of them have started to introduce this because they want their students to really feel like they're they're they're they're, they're actually there. And I think campuses, from what they've told me, is so important to them, like of course right. They spend so much money building it Um. They need to give that, they want to share that with with their students, and so this has been very effective for them to feel that. We've also had another large Ivy League university that uses us and they will have buildings for their alumni networking, where the buildings are, the actual building names that they take classes in, when...

...when the alumni come in, they're like, oh, I remember this building, that I went there, and that drives donations because they're able to remember back. Oh yeah, I remember taking that certain class there, you know. So so it drives donations about way too as well. That's interesting, is and and just before we kind of move on, it just generated an idea because, I mean a lot of schools will spend a lot of money on their marketing campaigns, for capital campaigns. So, you know what, I'm getting ready to raise million dollars and we're going to have these three buildings on campus that that are going to be part of that. Imagine if we did a virtual event where we actually hosted the event in this yet to be built building that, you know, we have these tables and we have all of our donors who can mingle with each other and talk with each other. That seems like a great use case to me. Yeah, great, absolutely, Hoian, as we in the episode, would like to give you an opportunity to either a share of final thought or something that we did not touch on that you feel would be important, or if there is a piece of advice or something that you could offer around online events that would be beneficial to our audience. Yeah, I think when you think about online we all um can begin to think a little bit more open minded, to think that, and it's it's really actually an experience, just like how you would design a campus tour or you do an alumni luncheon. Right, you would not take your alumni to McDonald's, you would take them to a place nice where you would give them a good experience. And Zoom and Microsoft teams are great, but they were designed specifically for productivity office meetings, not for an experience. And so when people ask me what's the difference, and that's how I say it, it's it's we need to kind of think about how can we create a better experience, because that better experience drives engagement and at the end of the day, engagement is what drives everything else. It drives donations, it drives student participation, it drives enrollment and it drives qualified candidates because they learn more, they understand, they can talk to people, and there's different ways to do that. One is creating immersive environments like like what I just showed, these incredible environments where people can immerse themselves in second is creating. When we talk about interaction right now, a lot of people say, Oh, we'll have chat or we'll do polling. That shows engagement, and I said, yes, that's great, Um, but you can do more than that. And the more than that is doing a workshop, doing a breakout where people break out into different tables to then do a task together. And that takes a little bit more thinking and I think it works well for higher it, because that's what you know. Higher it is, like you know education is how do we craft great learning experiences with people I can understand and work together? And if you apply that to the events, Um, that is where you get a lot of engagement. So breakout sessions where people have tasks to do and you go into each of those tables drive up engagement through the roof and and that is that's basically my best tip I can give today. Thank you very much, and I think we've done as good a job as we can to describe and also give examples of how impressive this platform is. But a I encourage everyone to go and investigate remo ooian. If someone wanted to reach you and look up remo, what would be the best way for them to achieve that. So they can go to our website, remo dot c Oh um, and also you can come reach me personally on my linkedin...

Um and I can share my linkedin with you guys. Very good. Again, thank you for your time. Thank you for letting our constituents know about this wonderful resource. Bart, what are your final thoughts before we end our episode today? Well, thanks so much for for being on the show today and one of the couple of things that I wanted to just point out was we keep going back to this idea of we're all humans and we we thrive. I mean, we've all experienced the fact that, okay, we've lived through a pandemic. We took for granted a lot of things that we have with our relationships, with who we are, how we experienced the world together, and I think that one of the things that we all yearned for and longed for was this idea of getting back to, you know, air quote, what's normal and the idea that, you know, even with the idea with these virtual platforms. I really liked Jyan's comment about the fact that zoom and teams are kind of created for productivity, but I think that we need more than that when we're talking really kind of having shared experiences, and I really like that this solution is out there, the idea that we can create shared experiences. While, while a lot of people are eager to get back out to, you know, in person conferences, you know, different ways of events and things, there's gonna be a certain percentage of people that are still a little bit hesitant. And even going into the future, I think people are going to be they're gonna realize that they they have their own preferences, whether it's their personality, whether it's just health issues, whatever it might be. We're going to need to be able to basically um accommodate different types of personalities, different way people want to engage and and and I really like that this is one of the elements in your tool belt. We often talk about what are all the tools that higher ed marketers can have when they're looking at, you know, calm flow and they're looking at ways to engage with people, when they're looking at events. This is just another tool. And and how you use that tool. I mean you're not going to use a hammer to try to, you know, screw it uh screw in. You're going to use a screwdriver. But this is an idea that, when you have this need, let's turn to this part of our tool and and those are out there and I really like the idea of really being able to use this and really improving the humanization of things and really being able to improve that shared experience. Bart thank you very much for that wonderful thought into bringing our episode to a close. This episode has been majorly sponsored by Zemi, where students share stories and connect and exclusive college communities. It's also supported by Kaylor solutions and education marketing and branding agency and by Think, patented, a marketing execution company combining print and technology for better engagement. On behalf of my co host Bark Kaylor, I'm troy singer. Thanks again for listening. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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