What’s next after the pandemic, Alexander Vogel?
What’s next after the pandemic, Alexander Vogel?
Billion-dollar losses, layoffs, bankruptcies. The impact of the pandemic on the entertainment and event industry has been a frequent topic of controversial dispute in recent weeks and months. Often, there has only been a fine line between general social responsibility and justified concerns of members of the industry. In the meantime, we are in the second year of the pandemic and the advancing vaccination campaigns worldwide are fuelling hopes that the end of the tunnel is at hand. Time to look ahead, because we, too, can hardly wait to work with our clients again to implement communication concepts that go beyond digital alone. What will the events of the future look like? In what form will communication take place? What role will sustainability play?
Public Link spoke with three partners and event experts who venture an outlook on the future of the event industry.
Alexander Vogel, managing director of the Berlin communications agency “26zehn,” expects a greater awareness of ecological issues and is convinced that the hybridization of events will play a key role in the future. Together with his agency, we managed the last event before the outbreak of the pandemic in spring 2020. It is therefore only right that he is also the first person we talk to about the time after Covid.
We can agree that 2020 was a gloomy year for the event industry. Nevertheless, every crisis also brings new opportunities, and so the current pandemic is creating the necessary pressure to rethink. As a creative agency with a focus on events & live communication, we want to take advantage of that and have already positioned ourselves more broadly as an agency before the pandemic.
Tailwind for greener digital events
Fortunately, the pandemic hit us at a time when large parts of the world were already connected with high-speed internet and had the technological capabilities available to bridge physical distance and work remotely effectively. Technology is becoming more powerful and the options for meeting are currently more plentiful than ever before.
But the focus here is not only on the resources of time and effectiveness, but above all on the environment and our footprint. If we’re honest, it’s been clear to us for a long time that flying halfway around the world for a meeting, a symposium or a short visit to a trade fair is neither effective nor timely. Hopefully, this will continue to be limited in the future as we continue to focus on digital and hybrid solutions. The realignment of values that is currently taking place is accelerating the discovery of innovative approaches to solutions and the development of sustainable information and communication technologies. Wise use of technology is more important than ever. In this context, the hybridization of events will certainly play a key role. The combination of live events and digital interaction is already enabling completely new formats.
Key elements: Hybridization, digital events and precise planning
For us as an agency, one of the key factors for the successful organization of an event – in addition to compliance with hygiene standards, which is now a standard part of our work, and the development of creative event concepts, smart security and prevention concepts – will also be the precise planning of the event after the actual event. This refers to professional, targeted data management, which represents clear added value for both the organizing brands and the event attendees. In future tenders and pitches, this additional aspect will play a key role alongside the actual development of creative overall concepts, customized staging and individual event design.
Making digital options an asset and rethinking time scales
Less physical presence also means more space. By relying on less space for digital event concepts, multiple events could be held simultaneously at one location. In addition, it would be conceivable to hold individual events over a longer period of time in order to generate adequate visitor numbers again while meeting hygiene standards. Numerous agencies and companies are also taking advantage of the currently available space in their business premises to set up professionally equipped studios and produce more of their own formats.
But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: virtual interactions cannot ultimately replace human ones, not in real life and not in live communication either. Instead, the focus is more than ever on the quality of the encounter. The desire for closeness and overcoming distance enjoys top priority. Networking on the sidelines and spontaneous exchanges are still an inherent need. We are currently making this challenge our mission. We are looking forward to the future, while also returning to classic event formats.
Alexander Vogel is Managing Director at „26zehn”. The communications agency from Berlin is known for its cross-media expertise and clear philosophy: according to the agency, every project starts with a white sheet of paper, 26 letters and ten numbers. Its clients include WallDecaux, ADAC, XING and the Bayer Group.