. Why community will pave the road to recovery | Meetings & Conventions Asia

Why community will pave the road to recovery

Competitive barriers lowered for mutual benefit as the event ecosystem shifts.

Agency leaders say there's a growing sense of how co-creation and community sustain and boost the events sector.
Agency leaders say there's a growing sense of how co-creation and community sustain and boost the events sector.

With thousands of events cancelled worldwide, ongoing disruption to business travel and uncertainty as to when physical meetings can safely resume on a global level, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the events industry.

Just as events bring people together, there is a growing sense of how
the power of community among industry stakeholders — with agencies collaborating and co-creating on projects for example — could help sustain and boost the sector.

At Jack Morton, expertise and resources across all departments have been pooled together. The agency, part of IPG, has also worked with sister agencies across the network on multiple projects.

“We’re bringing our skills in experiential and hybrid experiences to clients during this challenging time,” says Natalie Ackerman, EVP of Greater China at Jack Morton Worldwide. “We’re constantly sharing best practice and pulling in expertise from our global network to help clients.”

Others are seeing a growing trend where traditional competitive barriers
are being lowered for mutual benefit, particularly when it comes to working out how to safely and effectively reopen countries for events.

George P. Johnson’s Singapore team has worked closely with the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), along with other competitors, to work out how and when to reopen Singapore for events.

In the wake of mass event cancellations, competitive barriers fall away as agencies work together to find solutions.
In the wake of mass event cancellations, competitive barriers fall away as agencies work together to find solutions. Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Likewise in Australia, GPJ along with other industry agencies and stakeholders has held meetings with the Prime Minister and other government leaders to collaborate and ideate solutions for the industry during and post-pandemic,” says Ben Taylor, chief executive officer, APAC at GPJ.

With virtual events taking the lead — for the present time, at least — Taylor has also noticed a shift in the ‘event ecosystem’.

“We’re working much more closely with other agencies that the client employs directly, whereas previously we have each maintained our own swimming lanes/channels,” he says. “Events in many cases have been better integrated into marketing campaigns, driving the need for collaboration across digital, advertising, PR and social agencies.”

Debbie Evans, managing director, Asia Pacific at Freeman believes there will be a marked increase in agency partnerships.

“For event organisers, the cost of organising a show and its long-term sustainability/viability have always been a significant barrier to entry,” she says. “Companies have become more open to co-locating their events in order to bring greater value to the target audiences and differentiate from competitors with quality content and attendees.”

Ultimately, she adds, leveraging one another’s specialist skills and expertise helps to create a better outcome for clients as well.