The mere essence of an experiential marketing event industry is last mile driven i.e. creating experiences that cause a lasting and inerasable imprint on a consumers’ mind. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected all end-to-end businesses and experiential marketing industries are not left untouched. Whether they are small or large formal events, rural or urban campaign activations – this pandemic has caused a complete deferral of all physical brand experiences.
The brands associated with the experiential marketing firms have also been heavily affected, consequently causing their associate firms to an unforeseen disorder. The biggest challenge comes to the experiential associate of a Brand. With the regulations to be followed to tackle the current pandemic, there are restrictions in obtaining new businesses via experiential marketing which is in a more physical interaction space.
Hence, the allocation of budgets for experiential marketing for each brand is decreasing as we speak.
The challenges are not only restricted to the occurrence of new businesses. With the rise of the pandemic, brands are dissociating with their experiential partners which will create a challenge for all the firms to win back their accounts when the situation relaxes.
Rolling out of money is another challenge that the industry is anticipating.
For a smooth business operation to continue, a healthy rolling of cash flow is required. Due to the current scenarios, the money inflows have been discontinued until the offices and businesses restart. This has ultimately impacted the client payout cycles causing delays in the outstanding payments, which may eventually worsen the things for the experiential fraternity.
With the unsurety of the future, the question of survival of all small and medium independent enterprises in such a rattled stage is the biggest challenge in the experiential industry right now. Not only has this led the future of experiential SBUs in organizations to enter a state of jeopardy, but also the fear of job redundancy in the workforce has also arisen.
With the hunt on finding solutions to acquire business while being an integral part of the consumer’s journey, virtual experiences have been proved to be a substitute for remote experiences. Since behavioural patterns are parameters which help in designing experiences and brand engagements – the major challenge for the industry is understanding the consumer behaviour in the current social setting. Being the only social creature on Earth, human beings behave differently in different social settings. It is seen that the more social restrictions are imposed on human beings, it has brought more opportunities for innovation for them to stay socially relevant. Brands will further design engagements keeping these emerging trends in mind while taking necessary precautions.
These brand engagements which strictly depends on the pandemic and its future leads us to break the post COVID-19 time in two separate phases:
Phase I: Engagements following social distancing norms
Phase II: Back to regulated normalcy post pandemic
The upside at this uncertain time is the opportunity to gain consumer behaviour insight and be ready for what comes next.
Authored article by Aniket Sharma, Director & Co-Founder, 121XP