Riding the post-COVID Growth Wave

Industry Watch | August 15, 2021 | News

Deepak Choudhary Independence Day

India is celebrating its 75th Independence Day today, on August 15, 2021, with the usual pride to mark its freedom from British rule. Despite being a momentous occasion for the whole country, this year’s celebrations are definitely a lot subdued, owing to the country still emerging from the pandemic which got the world to a grinding halt. Even as the virus is continuing to have it’s impact, we are seeing a strengthening of global industrial activity, the return of consumer demand, and growing trade momentum.

The event management fraternity should act now to protect their employees and customers—and prepare now for the world beyond coronavirus. If you miss the boat now, newer entrants will soon enter and establish their presence in the industry that’s always looking for change. As the Indian economy is just beginning to pick up, company leaders have to look forward and make strategic investments right now to put their business in a stronger position when customers return.

The coronavirus lockdown meant people couldn’t participate in location-driven and community experiences, but consumer demand will rebound with increased vigour when things stabilize. Entertainment providers can increase resilience if they connect with consumers, give them a reason to return, and use technology to reduce risk at their premises and improve the guest experience. Even as companies adopt more digital experience tools, investing in data and consumer analytics capabilities will set you apart and help you create a long lasting impact on the business.

The key to recapturing demand is investing for the future. Currently, most organisations have pressed the pause button on any new significant investments. However, the way they use their limited resources during this downturn will determine how these organisations fare coming out of it. Those that stay engaged with consumers, provide compelling reasons for them to return, deploy technology and use data analytics to address customer needs will put themselves in the strongest position. Now, as vaccines continue to roll out and stadiums, amphitheatres and auditoriums gradually return to full capacity, everyone is looking ahead to how brand sponsorships and consumer experiences will look like in a post-pandemic world.

Firstly, content will always be the king

This is not new, but more than ever content is king. We always knew that the topics and the speakers would drive people committing to an event, but even without the physical event to show up to, and the commitment of the expensive ticket and a plane fare and a hotel, it’s really about the content that got consumers to sign up for virtual events. This trend will continue, and creating engaging content is going to be another challenge where consumers are going to be distracted with their ever shortening attention span and the constantly increasing virtual touchpoints at their fingertips. So, ramping up your content game will ensure that the events will leave a lasting impression on the attendees, and help your organisation grow in the coming years.

Hybrid experiences are here to stay

This pandemic has shown consumers that they can continue doing their loved activities with varying levels of satisfaction from the confort of their homes. This has created a new segment of consumers who are going to be even more difficult to convince for attending an event in person. Event organisers have to now focus on two consumer sengments: the one they’ll activate in-person at the venue, and the one tuning in from home. Considering consumers’ varying levels of comfort with attending events in person, it’s more important than ever to balance engagement between the two crowds.

Technology will play a larger role

This is the era for technological innovation. Whether it’s keeping fans safe through touchless solutions or getting their hearts thumping through virtual reality, innovative technology solutions are springing up everyday from different parts of the world with breakneck speeds. In such a connected world where it is impossible to predict which solutions will catch the fancy of consumers for how long, organisations have a supremely tough task of figuring out which one to invest in. Despite the challenge, every organisation has to ramp up their ability to deliver the latest technology solutions, and will have to invest in educating the existing teams on the latest trends to at least be a part of the story.

Sponsors will get more selective

With sponsors looking for amplification along with engagement, the reach offered through on-ground events due to the health and safety protocols might not be sufficient for brands. Event organisers have to innovate and create more engagement opportunities without comprising the experiences for consumers and brands alike. This is where hybrid events are going to benefit a lot, where a segment of audience experience the event in-person and a larger segment outside of the usual catchment area for an event is experiencing the same event on digital platforms.

Health safety is the key to pulling in audiences

Organisers will have to be more careful on how they manage the COVID regulations and ensure maximum safety not just for the attendees but also the crew which puts up these events. In an era where every misstep is trending on social media, brands and talent will always be wary about their association with events which haven’t done their due diligence of maintaining health and safety protocols. This is the one of the key aspects that the industry as whole should focus on over the next few months which will ensure that attendees feel safe to step out of their comfort zones for attending public events. 

Deepak Choudhary: Even as the virus is continuing to have it’s impact, we are seeing a strengthening of global industrial activity, the return of consumer demand, and growing trade momentum.

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