In February 2020, experience staff had our busiest year forecast yet – we were in the middle of a hugely successful London retail pop up store and were quoting for the Tokyo Olympics. Seemingly overnight – sparked by the cancellation of Mobile World Congress – the world and experiential events stopped. Twelve weeks have now past and it’s been a challenging and brutal time but also the valuable time of reflection for us as an agency. Things we took for granted – from international travel to hugging a friend really do seem so simply valuable now. However, things do sometimes need to change and stop for us to progress. It’s been important to recognise what is truly valuable to us and how we can grow and continue. We also have watched with interest the spark in digital events and Zoom and the online connection it can bring. From VR experiences to the integration of live social media channels and communities at events – combining the digital and real-life world was already growing in experiential. This has undeniably brought a change and value to events. Continuing the creative digitalisation of events and live streaming moving forward will mean that brands can access and promote their event to wider communities and followers and this can only be a good thing. However, I feel from the lockdown photoshoots on doorsteps to Zoom fatigue – what can’t replace and what society is craving is human connection and interaction. Events and experiences connect brands emotionally with their customers. We have been really lucky to work with brands who spread kindness and build community through experiential events and we really want to support the return of this safely.
It is undeniably going to be challenging and a new norm and brands are going to have to adapt while we overcome this time but re-connecting with community safely is an important step in not only re-building brand loyalty but in re-connecting society. Simple things that we took for granted such as physical consumer engagement will undeniably need to be managed and venue size will have to be considered. Outdoor venues and smaller pop-up areas will be easier to manage for instance and sampling may need to take place from bins instead of direct hand to hand interaction while we move through this time.
I do however feel there is another positive – this will also make many agencies step up in their care and management of the health and safety of staff. There are still countless agencies operating without employer’s liability insurance for their staff in the UK and there are also agencies employing freelancers directly abroad. Risk assessing events for health and safety – ensuring proper uniform and clean environments can only be a good thing for brands and staff. We have also been considering a few measures to assist our clients and staff to run an event safely while social distancing and covid-19 restrictions are in place including;
- Risk assessments in line with the HSE guidance
- Increased hand washing and guidance
- Enhanced deep-cleaning
- Supply of powder-free surgical gloves
- Supply of anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitiser and gels
- Infrared no-touch hand sanitiser dispensers
- Hand wash logs
- Social distancing floor tape and signage
- Infrared no-touch thermometers and temperature log sheets
- Weekly wellbeing assessments
- Health questionnaires and staff check-ins each day
Ultimately, the safety and health of our staff are paramount – many of our staff are also currently on our furlough scheme which we were keen to support but would like to get our staff back working safely. We believe our brands have important messages to promote and communities to support and build. We really hope that with a confident and sensible approach – experience staff can support and help the experiential and event community return back to the norm over the summer and for the remainder of 2020.
experience staff are a worldwide event and experiential staffing agency employing promo staff and brand ambassadors for global brands. With local offices in London and France – we are growing as an agency and promote legal staffing, kindness and community in experiential.