If there is one thing certain about the Experiential space post Covid-19, it’s that nothing is certain. There is much speculation and a lot of discourse surrounding a switch to digital, but beyond that, there are unknowns that brands will have to confront. The first brands to step up will be the ones rewarded in both earned media and brand loyalty. Even if it is not perfect, (and what is?) it will be inspiring and followed by others.
While shifting messaging and experiences to the web is the current trend, people will continue to seek community IRL– It is our nature as social creatures. And there will be pent up desire for real world experiences after having sheltered in place for so long.
Some of the ways brands are continuing to engage their customers currently include providing home delivery kits designed to be utilized in conjunction with a digital content piece. We will see the return of delivery systems of an earlier age such as the Ice Cream Truck, Bakery delivery service, the Milk Man etc. Many brands will consider Home Parties like those that helped launch some of the largest MLM companies in the world.
What we don’t know is what the long term effects of the virus will be, including whether there will be a vaccine developed and when. Will we be able to acquire immunity? What restrictions will be put into place and for how long?
In the interim, we know that as soon as we begin to commune in public, it will be in phases and hygiene standards will be scrupulously applied. Hand washing, face masks, disinfecting protocols and physical distancing will be standard operating procedures. Any experiences will provide clear communication about the safety precautions taken and employed. Generous amounts of sanitizer, gloves, masks and washing stations will be a routine line item in any budget. Security and trained staff will need to monitor guests and staff and creative measures will need to be taken to ensure sufficient space to discourage close proximities between guests.
It is also likely that in the early stages the number of individuals permitted to congregate will be much smaller than we are accustomed to. Therefore, you can expect creative ideas around smaller, yet more frequent gatherings. Some countries have repurposed streets and roadways to become pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfares. If all attendees are arriving by bicycle, there will be more space available for distancing, (not to mention the benefit of reduced emissions) and likely make more venues usable that may have been overlooked in the past due to limited parking etc.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and necessity is the mother of invention. I look forward to how we as an industry respond in service to our larger community. One thing I do know is that BeCore is already thinking about these new ways to celebrate and strengthen community and connection.