As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus of communication agencies has seen a major shift. Colja Dams, CEO of the agency Vok Dams: “At the beginning of the year around 30% of our events were digital events, but between March and the end of May this shifted to almost 90% digital events for obvious reasons. Now with the Covid-19 measures slowly being relaxed, we are currently experiencing a strong increase in clients requesting a mix of live and online formats, the so-called hybrid events.”
Irrespective of Covid-19, he is convinced that hybrid events will have a significant impact on the future development of the event industry, as they enable parallel live participation on site and online from anywhere in the world. At the same time, such formats, just like digital events, require completely new concepts and methodologies, both in terms of content and technology. Simply taking a “live” event and producing it online is not enough and will not take advantage of the online communication potential. Clients are increasingly coming to this conclusion as well and inquiring about the hybrid expertise, be it as event technicians or concept designers, or when simply looking for new solutions and possibilities. In a way, the pandemic has been a catalyst for digitalization developments in the communications sector that would have come in the near future anyway, but probably a little slower and less intense.
Another confidence booster is the fact that the event industry has come up with strong hygiene concepts to make live events possible again and with success: the first events are already taking place in China and Europe – albeit often on a smaller scale than before. Colja Dams: “We have recently trained hygiene specialists for events at each of our locations worldwide, which allows us to develop safe and legal hygiene concepts in-house together with the local authorities on site. The pandemic has undoubtedly shaken up Vok Dams as a company but we are also confident about the future of the live events industry. Events will continue to be social, personal and live. Provides the essential drive in marketing and conveying and anchoring messages. Even with social distancing and hygiene rules in place, face-to-face communication remains fundamentally important and effective. We all are social animals to the core and therefore always find a way to – safely – connect and interact.”