New Normal. Unprecedented. Crazy (Exciting!) Times. We are sure you have heard the above terms more than enough since March 2020. At Redstone, we have had the past six months to mourn, pivot, strategize and trial-and-error new ways of doing business. With August behind us and Labour Day in the rearview (so long summer), we are now settling into the Fall season and are excited for the opportunities that this “new year” will bring for conferences and events. Having gone through waves of emotions, mental states, business ideas, and plans, brought about by COVID-19, we are now settling into the here and now. Or as some may call it, the proverbial “new normal”.
According to Meetings Mean Business Canada, in 2018, business events had a direct spend of $33 billion, were responsible for 229,000 direct jobs and contributed $19.3 billion of direct GDP. That is impactful! As the pandemic intensified, it appeared that these successes were at jeopardy for 2020 and potentially even years to come. That is why through COVID-19, we committed to supporting our clients in a variety of ways to do our part to get the industry back on its feet. These initiatives included lobbying various levels of government, supporting the development of safe reopening guideline documents, and we have had the opportunity to completely reimagine events including hosting our first virtual trade show.
While meetings and events are shifting to a dedicated virtual or hybrid delivery model, they continue to have the ability to bring together like-minded people and foster community. We’re seeing this come to life through our experience organizing the first-ever, virtual Sponsorship Marketing Awards (SMAs). The SMAs are a cornerstone of the Sponsorship Marketing Council Canada and an anticipated event in the Canadian marketing industry every year. By utilizing a film studio to live stream the award show content to a remote audience, this hybrid experience promises to bring the industry together to celebrate the best-in-class sponsorship marketing campaigns during a time of uncertainty.
As we look forward to the next chapter and when “the new normal” will just be “the normal”, we’re excited to continue to test new event technology, introduce virtual-only experiences, as well as host some hybrid events which will feature live and virtual components. We are also reconceptualizing how to keep attendees engaged in these new formats and have incorporated elements, such as a virtual mixologist and branded delegate kits to bring excitement into attendees’ homes.
While the news coming out of many departments of the Canadian government are meek, we do not believe that meetings and events are going away – they are simply changing, forever. Events are the lifeblood of society, the way people connect, do business and forge relationships. We cannot wait to get back to meeting face-to-face (or close to it), but until that time that we are able to do so safely and responsibly, we look forward to supporting our clients as they navigate the ever-changing meeting and event landscape.
Redstone Agency is committed to the health and safety of our team, clients and all event participants. If your organization doesn’t have a plan to tackle the Fall season and beyond, we would like to help you develop one. Please reach out to Carly Silberstein, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-915-3020 ext. 101 and stay up to date with the COVID-19 Resources on our website.
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