Experiential Marketing agencies struggle to stay relevant amid Covid second wave

Expressing their concerns over a drastic dip in on-ground activities, industry leaders share that the second wave of Covid has brought uncertainty in terms of resuming business activities

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Published: May 20, 2021 8:40 AM  | 3 min read
experiential marketing

While early 2021 came with much hope for the event industry with live events allowed to take place, however, it all turned to be short-lived when we look at it now.

The second covid wave has once again put businesses on the backfoot and if we talk about experiential marketing agencies that were hopeful of a good 2021, the forecast is now that of gloom and doom.

Deepak Pawar, MD Midas Next and Director, Streamy.in, says that a drastic dip in on-ground activities has brought a dead halt resulting in loss of jobs & revenues.  

“As certain markets began to open at snail's pace, so did we hope for our industry too but the advent of the 2nd wave toppled hopes and aspirations of our Industry's professionals, once again delaying the recovery process. This situation again gave rise to the survival of the fittest & experiential marketing agencies have fought tooth and nail to sustain their position on the industry's map. “

“If you ask me how my team and I are still sailing in this storm, to this I would say we have planned quickly, taken adequate resources to execute this plan and rolled out the same into the market in the virtual space offering brands and our clients a platform to connect with their audience through different mediums”, added Pawar.

The story is no different for other players in this domain. It is important to mention that the event and experiential marketing sector is one of the biggest sectors with close to five crore people employed. Now the second wave has put many livelihoods at risk.

Ankur Kalra, Founder and MD of Vibgyor Brand Services, says that the second wave has brought uncertainty as far as resuming business activities is concerned.

“A lot of agencies innovated and were doing fine till last year - the months of January/February looked very encouraging but the second wave has changed everything, it has brought a huge amount of uncertainty along with. Our agency had restarted hiring and adding positions early in 2021 since we were very optimistic about this year, but March brought everything to a standstill. The wedding agencies had their hands full by the beginning of the year but they too ran dry by early April. So overall, it is extremely uncertain at the moment, we are hoping that there will be some improvement in the second half of the year.”

If we talk of brands, in our conversation with marketers, most of them were hopeful of resuming spends on experiential in the second half of 2021. However, with the second wave shutting down businesses and vaccines in short supply, it looks unlikely.

“The first wave pushed us all to change and adapt to different modes and methods of doing events. The second wave has numbed us all. At this point in time, what is most important is the sanity of the team and making sure everyone’s morale is up. It is a crisis situation not just financially but mentally and emotionally too, for all”, explains Nanni Singh, CEO, Showcase Events.

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