In the last week it has felt like we might all be riding the final big loop of the 2020 coronacoaster. As the country sunk back into a national lockdown, insecurity and seasonal depression, who knew that just around the corner was the news have all been waiting for; a vaccine is imminently close! We’ve even had the green light for business events, as long as the location is in Tier 1, so as the festive season hurtles towards us at pace, we look at how the astute marketer can start planning IRL engagements for 2021.
After the year we’ve all endured, the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is good for the soul. As marketers we should embrace this optimism, however approach it with caution and careful planning that allows us to flex and pivot – skills that have no doubt been honed and challenged in 2020. Let’s hope for the best, but plan for the worst. No one knows whether this will go away entirely, but we do know that consumers are crying out for social interaction, which presents the perfect opportunity for brands to pick up where we left off in March, with a range of considered experiences designed to re-connect at long last.
The definition of brand experiences has evolved over the last year, and the sensible marketer will consider big ideas that can flex between physical and digital engagement. Concepts that can work in real life or online, or indeed as hybrid experiences. One clear outcome of the pandemic has been the shift in consumer habits. We’ve all changed the way we socialise, consume content and experiences, and the era of hybrid and digital events is here to stay. Concepts that work in multiple formats, and under various states of legislation, should be a gauge of creativity for marketers and front of mind when commissioning creative proposals, and the incremental exposure that can now organically be delivered by embedding an at-home digital layer into every experience will only increase a brand’s ROI.
The imminence of a vaccine combined with lockdown fatigue may encourage consumers to rush back to events, venues and festivals as 2021 progresses but many consumers will be conscious of a complete switch back to pre-pandemic normality. Experiences should be designed with this in mind. Consumer confidence is key and will take some time to get back to 2019 levels of socialising, however it is critical to offer reassurances to consumers that events or experiences are being executed in responsible and considerate ways.
Flexible pragmatic planning
Making plans that are intrinsically flexible, in both schedule and strategy, will help to adjust should the climate change, with minimal exposure to costs. If we are to take one learning from 2020 it should be to make sure we are prepared for every eventuality. The pandemic may have a longer lasting impact on logistics planning, so factor in disruptions and prepare in advance. Smart production phasing and contingency planning when contracting partners, will help to manage the liabilities for brands in the instance of postponement, lockdown or cancellation.
The team at Hyperactive HQ are on hand to support your planning for 2021 and beyond. If you would like to explore how brand experiences can enhance your 2021 plans, we would love to hear from you.
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