By Dayna Gilchrist
Mid-July: 100+ days into quarantine and I am reflecting on some of the lessons I have learned over the last few months. Like so many others, I have gone through so many emotions. I have struggled with the reality that is our current life. I have taken time to evaluate what the future holds for Hype! and the live events industry, and have come up with some predictions of my own based on conversations with colleagues, clients, partners, and friends in the industry. The setbacks we are experiencing now are preparing us for The Great Reset.
The Great “RESET”
As we enter the next phase of COVID-19 recovery we are hearing a lot of people refer to it as the “new normal” but it is difficult to think of what we were doing before as normal with everything that has come out in the last 3 months. We have experienced some of the most difficult times as a country and we are about to enter into The Great Reset.
Coming into 2020, many were referring to 2020 as the “The Year of Focus”. When we have perfect eyesight, meaning everything can be seen clearly whether it’s near or far, 20/20 vision. Ironically, what we didn’t know was that we were in for a full awakening! As if the world was saying, “Hey you haven’t been listening, so we are putting you in a timeout until you get back on track!” And it’s not to say we have all been bad or that we deserve any of this but I do think we can use this as an opportunity to RE-FOCUS and RESET.
Maybe we were getting in over our heads, maybe we lost sight of why we started. I can only tell you how I feel and for me, I think this reset is an opportunity to reignite my passions. If you ask anyone that knows me, I have always been passionate about the work but this forced downtime has challenged me to push outside of my comfort zone.
For Hype! it’s about establishing a new way of moving forward and what I am finding is taking a few steps back is exactly what we needed. Strange, right? How is going backward progress? I think for Hype! and the events world it’s going back to basics. Remembering why we are here and talking with our clients and brands about what their goals are. Stripping down the “glitz and glamor” of the events and finding safe & effective ways to get the job done. Resetting our clients and our team’s expectations.
Back in January 2020, I wrote a post detailing my predictions for the Experiential Marketing Trends of 2020 and most still hold true, but how we execute them has changed.
- Stay-able Experiences: Though travel is currently put on hold, people are finding creative ways to get away locally and explore their own backyards. Community is strong and brands are finding ways to intercept them where they live, play, and work.
- Advocacy: Black Lives Matter, Diversity in the Workplace, Equality- these are topics that are top of mind for all brands. Giving consumers a channel to show support for a cause they feel strongly about is important for both the brand and the consumer.
- Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality: Although VR & AR are not new trends, virtual has seen a resurgence in recent months. We are all getting a little burnt out from Zoom meetings, but we will continue to see brands create small events and cast the net virtually to larger audiences.
- Pop-Ups & Immersive Environments: These are quickly evolved into Drive-In Theaters and safer pop-up experiences all over the country. It started with birthday parades in your neighborhood, then cul-de-sac gatherings (from a safe distance), now Wal-mart is hosting drive-in theaters, and Live Nation is popping up all over town with small concerts. People want to come together safely and celebrate together!
2020 may have shifted a bit but we are becoming more focused on community and keeping things smaller and safer for the time being. It may feel like we are taking a few big steps back in the experiential world as we rebuild our footprints and our campaigns but we are creating better connections with our consumers. Steve Jobs famously said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” The idea behind the concept is that, as much as we try to plan our lives in advance, there’s always something completely unpredictable about life.
What seems like a defeat at the moment- COVID-19 and the mass cancellations in our industry — can turn out to be the exact RESET button we need for huge success years from now. You can’t be too attached to how you think your life is supposed to work out and instead trust that all the dots will be connected in the future. This is all part of the plan.
In short, have patience and trust whatever is happening is happening for your own good and the good of this industry. Trust in the process and eventually things are going to work for you in an unimaginable way!