By Deepak Choudhary
As the nation grapples with the mayhem caused by the novel Coronavirus, not only is the physical and mental well-being of individuals that is getting affected but the economy is also facing the brunt of this menace.
The event industry is no stranger to this trend, with the announcement of the lockdown, the sphere of outdoor entertainment came to an absolute standstill. As per a recent report published by the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), the Indian event and exhibition market is bound to experience an Rs 1 lakh crore hit this quarter. The prevailing scenario put everyone, right from the artists to the organisers in a baffled state of mind.
However, it is rightly said, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Similarly, the event sector made space for numerous innovative ideas such as hosting events in such a way that viewers can enjoy the performance of their favourite artist right from the comfort of their homes. As per an analysis presented by Ernst and Young (EY), 94% brands aim at exploring the sector of digital IPs for the purpose of improved consumer attraction and retention in the new normal. Further, around 85% of these companies are taking active interest in developing the digital IPs, while 90% have identified alliances which will help them provide the same.
With these figures in mind, one must note that the dynamic sphere of events will not always have a digital orientation. Several experts have suggested that a gradual transition will be witnessed, which will entail three primary phases – phase 1 will be the initial 3-5 months, boasting about online events, followed by phase 2 for the next 6 months, marking the slow as well as contained start of physical experience with limited attendees, and finally the phase 3 which will follow in another 6 months to a year, wherein the entire industry will be bouncing back stronger and better. However, aspects such as consumer safety and personal hygiene will be the priority of organisers amongst other facets.
After all, these unprecedented hours require unmatched solutions and here are some ways in which the industry is driving home the new normal:
The myriad technological disruptions have enabled the seamless online conduction of events, seminars, conclaves, meetings and conferences, involving a large number of participants. There are several platforms, used for hosting such activities, which offer features such as live as well as pre-recorded content, simultaneous running of varied breakout sessions, space for sponsors to showcase their products and services amongst others. Further, the ability to access the information later, even though the event is over, tends to be a great delight for the audience. Additionally, the user interface of these events is so robust that it provides the viewer with a very realistic experience.
The conventional events could be characterised by multitudes of people, a large arena and a stage where the artist is performing his/her act. However, on being asked, numerous individuals mentioned that they could not enjoy to the fullest as they felt disconnected or uncomfortable by the overcrowding of the venue.
The events which are being organised in the corona era, successfully overcome all these flaws and provide consumers with the opportunity to enjoy the show from the comfort of their very homes. In addition to this, many instances have been noted wherein the artists have honoured the requests made by the viewers. The personalisation quotient is further boosted, as the new arrangements provide an actual glimpse into the life of one’s favourite performer.
Transformed experiential marketing
The ideas of the past like a box at Centre Court at Wimbledon or the French Open, or at the finals of the T20, have witnessed a dramatic transition to concepts which are rare and niche. Organisers are focusing on experiential offerings which are exotic and closely tied to the pristine history, dynamic culture and legendary heritage of the world that we live in. For instance, tomorrow’s events will allow one to immerse in experiences wherein companies provide exclusive opportunities to a select set of individuals, to witness the glory of the lions in the African savanna or groove with the playful dolphins in the European waters.
Modern advertising techniques
The current times have noted the rise of advertising methods which are highly consumer-centric, dynamic and engaging. With consumers being restricted within the confines of their homes, their usage of social media has increased. In the wake of this trend, several organisations are resorting to their online platforms to generate awareness, drive traffic, promotion of upcoming virtual events as well as enhancement of viewer participation.
Finally, the biggest change that the new normal has brought with itself is the re-establishment of the world as a global village. However, this time it is a virtual village that connects all those who are sitting at their respective homes waiting for these hours to pass. Virtual events are a sigh of relief as they emerge victorious in the battle against geographical barriers. As a result of this transition, individuals across the globe can experience the performance of their beloved artists.
Improved physical experiences
With the event industry knocking at the door of a complete restart and the absence of a suitable vaccine, organisers need to pay utmost attention to consumer safety. Individuals are bound to see a dramatic rise in terms of hygiene, be it at the venue, warehouses or even in terms of the deliveries happening for these events. It is a well-established fact that the virus has instilled fear in the minds of millions and people are afraid to be present at places where they might have to face a crowd. Hence, in the post Covid era, only those will succeed who are able to make their audience feel safe. This can be ensured by using active communication channels and empowering the customers with policies such as easy cancellation of bookings.
It is safe to say that businesses are no longer money making endeavours, rather they are gigantic empires possessing sensitivity that helps them cater to the smallest needs of their consumers whilst establishing a comfortable environment for them. Finally, organisations should strive towards creating communities, both digitally as well as physically. These communities facilitate improved cross selling, increased loyalty and enhanced testing of new products.
The author is founder and director of Event Capital