Series #fmbewords: Post COVID-19: The case for forward event planning and scheduling

boats bestAndy Dixon, CEO, Scene2, discusses how post COVID 19  decent lead times will need to be preserved in order to allow digital and virtual mixed events to succeed to best potential

This unusual pandemic situation has seen brands cutting long term live budget, spending less on live events – why would you think of committing early budget to face to face campaigns when no-one is closer than 2m away and mass gatherings are banned?

The immediate, and hopefully short-term, shift has seen brands looking to digitally based events and spending budget with digital agencies, along with an increased focus on social media. Social media has indeed been a collective best friend to us all and will continue to be in the future, but it should not be necessary to choose between digital and live events – when the two work well together, the results are impressive.

Live venues have already lost revenues from hosting events and income from beverage and merchandise sales but the question is whether event organisers will be cautious before signing venue contracts and committing to live events in the future. Will this shift to virtual be seen as normality? There has been a universal ‘just in case’ hesitation which, as we know in our business, means delayed decisions resulting in unrealistic production lead-times and for the live, face to face events. For venues some organisations have been slow to agree postponements and cancellations. As an industry, we are all in this together and so a united, reasonable and supportive attitude is what will get us all through.

Even once the economy is back on its feet, will lead times be lengthened again or will we be so used to working to the wire, even more than we were before, that this will be the normal expectation? At Scene2, we are a company that prides itself in producing high-quality work, often working within tight lead-times but we will not compromise on quality, so what does this potential shift mean for us?

Post COVID-19, we need to ensure that our industry doesn’t lose the companies and individual expertise that already know how to collaborate. Inevitably, clients will be more cost-conscious moving forwards and look for clear ROI before committing to budget spends. We need to work together to reshape how events are done, incorporating “digital” into live event productions.

Post COVID-19, I think that virtual will come into its own, however working collaboratively with live events, our industry will have more value than ever before in bringing people together and creating memorable experiences.

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