Blog Tape

by | Apr 2, 2024 | Communication

Navigating the current ‘turmoil’

I want to address the elephant in the room; there are a lot of people out there talking about the demise of the events industry.

The UK is in a recession, despite what the government is saying but don’t let that send you into a tailspin. It’s easy to get swept up in the doom and gloom of economic downturns, especially when social media seems to all be about struggling events industry businesses and job losses. But amidst the chaos, there’s something we need to remember: tough times are part of the natural ebb and flow of the business world.

The country is grappling with the rising cost of living, and it’s no secret that many businesses, including a prominent AV company, have recently shuttered their doors. Add to that the flurry of mergers and acquisitions, (as we’ve seen with AMEX GBT acquisition of CWT) which unfortunately cause layoffs due to role duplications and cost cutting exercises, so it would be easy to feel like the industry is on shaky ground. But let’s take a step back and ask ourselves: why is this happening now?

The cost of living is squeezing margins and putting pressure on supply chains, which in turn impacts on the suppliers and venues the agencies rely on. Clients are tightening their belts and don’t want to pay for these increases so many agencies are feeling the pinch and working on very small margins just to keep the cash flowing in.

But now is not the time to throw in the towel; now is the time for what we do best – innovation and strategic thinking.

The smart agencies are re-evaluating their approach, questioning old norms, and finding new ways to deliver value to their clients. Maybe that ten-day activation doesn’t need to be so extravagant, or perhaps a smaller-scale event could pack just as much punch. The agencies who are charging for their time and expertise, and not simply relying on margins are steadily winning. It’s about focusing on what truly matters – the messaging, the legacy, the creativity – and asking the tough questions.

Let’s not forget why this industry is worth fighting for. The UK is a global leader in events, and we are finally starting to get the recognition we deserve. From the King’s coronation to the Queen’s funeral, so many recent high-profile events have helped everyone get recognition: “look Mum, this is what I do.”

Brands are also recognising the power of experiential marketing like never before not just to get customers’ eyes on the prize but also their hands on the brand! Getting a physical product into a consumer’s hand can only be done by our industry, and more brands are creating experiential activations to create content for social media, advertising, and marketing. Events are leading the marketing mix.

Large corporate organisations are fighting battles with their teams to get them into the office, so internal comms and the creation of employee touch points are more important than ever, and we are the industry who can help to unite and motivate a disparate workforce.

Budgets may be tighter, and the landscape may be shifting, but events are a vital tool for engaging audiences and bringing people together.

So, let’s stop focusing on the negative and start thinking about what we can do. Yes, businesses may fail, but that’s just part of the cycle. And as for those LinkedIn posts from people doing really well, take them with a grain of salt. Social media may paint a picture, but it’s not the whole story.

Both my businesses are busy at the moment placing people in experiential and event agencies who are growing their businesses, so there are companies out there who are doing well. I’m optimistic about the future, because in times like these, a little positivity can go a long way.

So let’s roll up our sleeves, embrace the challenges, and keep pushing forward.

And above all don’t panic…

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