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Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021
Experts from the experiential and live events industry tell us what 2021 will be all about

Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021

Experts from the experiential and live events industry tell us what 2021 will be all about
  • As we enter a brand new year, our Trends series will help us crystal gaze into what the year holds for us.
  • In today’s feature, experts from the experiential and live events industry tell us what lies ahead in 2021.
The year 2020 was difficult for most mediums but mediums that operate on the frontlines of human engagement and connections were perhaps hit the hardest. Take for instance the experiential and live events industry which came to a complete standstill.

The lockdown period saw the events industry innovate, giving way to a large number of webinars, online discussions and live chats and shows, just to make sure that the industry stays active. However, the effects were felt more adversely by the thousands of people who work in the industry as daily wage workers. The smaller agencies and businesses in the domain also struggled through the year.

Currently, the organized experiential sector is pegged to be around Rs 7,000 crore in size. However, according to most experts from the industry, its actual size is substantially larger, if one would take into account the unorganized side of it.

Therefore, it is imperative for the industry to not just innovation but to come up with disruptive ideas to future-proof itself and to make sure that more such pandemics in the future don’t cripple it.

We reached out to some experts from the industry to understand their areas of focus for 2021 and the trends they think we should watch out for. Here’s what they had to say:

Roshan Abbas, MD, Geometry Encompass

Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021

Brands will follow a live and virtual strategy to reach a bigger audience. Events will be produced as TV specials are with a live experience and a broadcast experience for the internet. The line between televised events and live events will blur even further. An incremental 30% revenue will be added to the space with these experiences. Brands will stitch social commerce into all experiences. Those who do it with the least amount of friction and the maximum engagement will emerge victorious. E commerce stores will become experience commerce stores using every trick in the event playbook to attract consumers.

Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts

Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021

Even as the global economy contracts, artists and artisans try and break down the virtual ceiling, looking for innovations and possibilities to survive and sustain their livelihood. Perhaps, it is time to step back, reflect and view the world in crises and find, equitable and sustainable opportunities for all.

‘Intimate and focused’ could well be the new mantra to replace ‘bigger and brighter’. Solo performances could bring talent and excellence back to the spotlight.

Innovation in social and cultural celebrations focusing on the arts to provide a sense of place, identity and tradition, are the need of hour. AI and virtual reality could help traverse the world instead of the flatbed or the cramped seat.

As we look to 2021 with hope of a vaccine to solve our immediate predicament, the fact is that the road to recovery will be long and arduous. Those who have access to capital and have the agility to innovate will emerge stronger from the experience, the rest will need to reinvent their world.

Dalveer Singh, Head of Experiential Marketing – APAC, Dialogue Factory

Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021

The year 2021 will be about sale, sale and more sale! We should ensure that nothing is able to distract us from the sole aim of advertising, which is sale. And this will start with brands, if they are able to sell more, they will be able to afford different partners. We, as agencies, publishers or people who create brand solutions have to create solutions single-mindedly keeping in mind strategies that will drive sales. And it is sales that will enable us to keep going in a big way and it will give us that boost we need to do what we want to do. This will help us come up with innovative ways of reaching out and doing things at scale. Everything will come back to the objective of whether I am able to create solutions that are saleable, sustainable and cost-effective, because in the end, whatever we do, it has to drive sales. And that is what will work for all of us.

Swaroop Banerjee, COO, Zee Live

Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021

The pandemic of 2020 disrupted the way we live, work, and socialize. It gave way to a new normal, which every industry whether big or small adopted to maintain business continuity. The entertainment industry was no different too. Fighting against the tide, we too at Zee Live had to find new and innovative ways to keep our viewers entertained while meeting our business goals.

Now looking ahead to 2021, adopting a virtual route will continue to be imperative. Maintaining a strong digital presence, including live/online streaming, pay per view in one’s business portfolio will be the way forward. With the pandemic still raging across the country, it is essential that we as the leaders in the entertainment industry should be able to provide our viewers top class entertainment while keeping their health and safety a priority. Keeping in line with this thought, we are bringing in our A-game as we continue to collaborate with the largest music icons and create live original content for Zee Live.

2021 worldwide is going to be about digital live entertainment and we will see a gigantic shift in this direction and we shall also see a trend where we will have a sizable arrest of audiences who would consume live entertainment,while audience will flock in large gatherings when safe. Therefore, we are investing heavily in this direction.”

Sukrit Singh, Founder, The Platform

Experiential: The trends to watch out for in 2021

The trend today in the experiential industry is to announce that WE ARE BACK (or will be).

Noble and preachy, to say the least, from an industry that has ruthlessly culled its workforce. Global networks shutting down companies, entrepreneurs abandoning teams overnight –and I believe the worst is yet to come.

The lesson of the past and the trend of the future isn’t technology or virtual – but the human story. I salute those who never hibernated, retrenched or bitched and moaned. I urge the industry leadership to ask themselves…

Did we stand up for our teams? Is there anyone in our team who suddenly felt forsaken and abandoned?

Did we hoard – at the expense of others? Or did we share whatever little we had?

Doctors saved lives. Did we save livelihoods?

2021 is here! The date has moved; the year has changed but challenges remain. Let’s not hide behind the pandemic and rebuild our human capital – it’s the only asset we have had. Our crazy work culture and ethos is fueled by the passionate misfits who unconditionally stood by us as we built the industry.

The big trend for 2021 is the change of guard and the emergence of a stronger, more committed experiential leader and organization. So goodbye – fly by night operator, good riddance ad-networks(neither of you were here for the people or the work anyway). In 2021 my generation (you know who you are) passes the baton to the next. Godspeed to them - build with your people - an experiential industry that can withstand the next pandemic.