How the prolonged COVID 19 will have a huge impact on the event economy, global and local enterprises

– By Aniket Sharma, Co-Founder, 121XP
The very nature of experiential marketing event industry is last mile driven i.e. we design
experiences to reach directly with the consumers in a very physical tangible way. The current
pandemic has impacted all last mile business and we are no different. It has directly resulted in
shelving or postponement of all on-ground experiences be it large or small format events, rural or
urban activations, or even retail & shopper driven experiences.
Most of the brands we work for have been directly impacted and caused for all business to a sudden
unplanned halt needless to say it is going to have a direct impact on all marketing and advertising
efforts and budgets which will directly impact the dependant experiential agencies. What won’t help
the experiential agencies cause is the fact that for most brands experiential is an afterthought
decided by the left over budgets after spending on traditional media channels. Add to that nobody
has any clarity when the nightmare will be over and what is the gestation period for consumerism to
be back into action. It could be anything from 6 months to 18 months for things to normalize, that’s
assuming Corona is out of our lives by the end of the June quarter. In such uncertain scenarios the
challenge of survival for the small and medium independent (including start-ups) organization
remains pivotal and real. Not just the smaller independent agencies but the future of the
experiential SBU’s in bigger group organizations will also be in jeopardy and will definitely attract
shrinkage. The threat of role redundancy for the staff, unit, and SBU’s as a whole is as real as it has
ever gotten.
Clarity on the revised experiential plans from the brand partners for the year are going to be
extremely crucial for annual agency prospecting and planning. Price wars to win accounts post the
pandemic are a real threat too and can have devastating impact on the industry as a whole. The last
but not the least challenge I would like to highlight (like in any other business) is about the rolling of
money. Smooth operations especially in our industry depend on healthy rolling out cash flows.
Current disruption has also affected the client payouts cycles and monies have been put on hold till
offices and businesses resume. Delays in these outstanding payments will further complicate things
for the experiential frat.
However, saying that human beings are social creatures and socializing is a basic human instinct.
The more social freedom is curbed the more people will find newer and innovative ways to stay
socially relevant with hygienic twist. Brands will further design engagements keeping these emerging
trends in mind. Engagement precautions will be more strictly followed by brands when designing experiences.

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