With the relaxing of the shelter-in-place restrictions, small, in-person experiences are resuming and presenting both physical and psychological hurdles for event planners to overcome. In addition to the safety protocols events adhered to before, the COVID landscape is now impacting these as well as presenting new health concerns to plan for.
Several months into the pandemic, and our industry is at a turning point. We’ve nearly exhausted the event formats that quickly pivoted to the virtual space. Attendees have serious Zoom fatigue. As we push the boundaries of our creativity, we’re left wondering: Is it possible to create virtual forms of events that rely on in-person connections and experiences for the cozy confines of your home?
How do you market a place that can’t welcome visitors in the traditional ways? That’s the challenge we have faced as many locations, from cherished community hubs to converted event venues, have shut down due to COVID-19. Very quickly, we’ve set aside the rulebook we once used to attract audiences in favor of something much deeper: How can we connect to the soul of a place and the emotions it evokes? How can we nurture a dialogue that will inspire trust and loyalty?
The events of 2020 have shaken the entire world. For businesses and brands, the first few months of quarantine have, in many ways, felt like “The Great Pause”. Coined by Stuart McFaul, CEO/Founder of Spiralgroup, this moment has given brands permission and space to reset and reflect. Is our current vision statement really reflective of where we want to go? And in other ways, The Great Pause has forced brands to find new opportunities and explore new territories. How much more deeply can we get to know “the individual” and the subgroups that they represent? As communicators and architects of engagement, we’re relaying the foundation and retooling our tool belt.
Events take a village and when we bring them to life on-site, our team is largely made up of freelancers who lend their unique expertise and experience to the success of each project. Our often years-long working relationships have truly made each freelancer a part of our DPEM family and we could not do what we do without them. We trust them to execute the vision by understanding the goals of each event, using their knowledge and expertise to make it the best it can be, navigating the curveballs, and acting on behalf of DPEM. As we continue to explore the changing event landscape, we wanted to check in with our independent contractors who are, by nature of their chosen professions, experts at pivoting.
The recent months have left us all wondering what the future of the events industry looks like. Our business is centered around building connection through engagement and experiences, which are most often in the form of an in-person event. With the tidal wave of COVID-19, the live experiential industry came to a screeching pause and left us scratching our heads with the question: without live experiences, what are we the experts of?
2020 has been a whirlwind of pivoting and crisis management. Virtual is just the newest challenge in storytelling and audience connection and brands are struggling how to navigate the current event landscape. We tackled these questions in DPEM Explores, a weekly conversation series that discusses different issues facing our industry with a curated group of experts.
We miss you and hope you are doing well. As we transition from shelter-in-place to our new normal, we are looking to help you navigate forward. We’ve been guiding clients as they wrestle with decisions on postponement versus cancellation, proactively developing both virtual and hybrid programming, and strategizing new engagement programs from the ground up. While I hope that we can soon get people safely back to work, I know that the need for engagement and connection is more important than ever.