BEST COVID-19 BOUNCEBACK AWARD – EVENTS & CONFERENCES
The period of Covid-19 has undoubtedly been a difficult and uncertain time for all involved within the events industry. The Brand Experience team at Audience were faced with postponement/cancellation of all projects in March 2020, resulting in the need for almost all employees to be placed on furlough …fast forward to today, in which our YoY revenue growth has grown over 200% in the past year!
The delivery teams at Audience earned unequivocal trust from our client base during the pandemic, guiding them through the ever-changing world of experience creation, producing supporting tools, services and products. From hybrid, to online, to in-person, Audience have created client-firsts, industry-firsts and world-firsts, setting the benchmark across B2B, B2C and B2E for clients including Virgin Media and Deloitte resulting in feedback like, “We can’t wait to see what we do with Audience next.”
In lockdown, Audience created a multi-award-winning experience, the ‘Two Hearts Pizzeria.’ This world-first experience connected loved ones using holographic telepresence technology, powered by Virgin Media. This not only captured an incredible moment in time, it complimented the client’s ATL campaign ‘faster brings us closer’ seamlessly.
We’re only just getting started. Bring on 2022!
Bioscientifica – Society for Endocrinology Covid response – Skills Academy Webinar series
Bioscientifica manages events for the Society for Endocrinology, a charitable membership organisation who support scientists, clinicians and nurses working with hormones.
As a result of the global pandemic, the Society for Endocrinology was forced to cancel its calendar of physical events in 2020/21. This presented the problem of how best to meet the educational needs of members, many of whom were working in hospitals on the front lines of the COVID response. After consulting with their PCO, Bioscientifica, the SfE Skills Academy was created, aimed at clinicians, nurses and researchers at every stage of their career, offering valuable online learning opportunities and continued professional development. The series was phenomenally successful, offering the Society a new way to recruit members, but also the opportunity to better engage and support existing groups. Bioscientifica seamlessly managed the development and implementation of these new products, delivering not only more than 50 hours of webinar content, but developing an online repository allowing the audience on-demand access at a time that suited them. Given the pressures faced by the Society’s members, this agile and revolutionary response has proven invaluable to the continued professional development of endocrine specialists from the UK and beyond.
Bizzabo – Agents of Hybrid
Agents of Hybrid offered Bizzabo and its partners an opportunity to showcase a new type of digital and human convergence in real-time. Participants experienced new ways hybrid events can blend technology, production and strategy to create freer-flowing information exchanges, accelerate innovation and better align people whose visions have the power to change the world.
The 2020 shift from in-person to virtual highlighted the benefit of incorporating accessibility in events. Guests appreciated the wide range of technology and opportunity to promote inclusivity for everyone, regardless of how they attend events.
Companies presenting at Agents of Hybrid appreciated seeing things through a different lens, saying they hoped by looking at B2C brands from a consumer point of view that they’d find new, fresh approaches to delivering event experiences. Agents of Hybrid delivered.
Virtual/hybrid events face the challenge of facilitating networking among attendees. Agents of Hybrid presented strategies for offering enhanced networking opportunities and quality engagement everyone craves.
Agents of Hybrid was a true live hybrid experiment, and it was vital for us that we be completely authentic. We leveraged innovative technologies, looking beyond our sphere of comfort to create unified experiences and explore how human behaviour might engage with those technologies.
Borough Bench Media – Open Banking Expo
Open Banking Expo is a global community of Open Banking executives responsible for digital transformation across financial services.
Until the pandemic it hosted events in the UK, Canada and Europe, and in 2020 was forced like so many other event organisers to pivot its events to a digital proposition. Annual revenue almost halved across the three events due to market uncertainty, and sponsors who were hesitant to invest in virtual events.
Following intensive research amongst its community Open Banking Expo shifted to a community-led approach and launch more regular touch points to engage with its audience all year round.
So, in 2021 the brand launched podcasts, a TV series, live panel debates, quarterly virtual meetups and industry surveys and reports, all alongside its regional flagship events. As a result, it had the best year in its history in terms of revenue, audience engagement and client success.
While the past two years have been hugely challenging for Brandfuel, as for so many businesses, as a creative agency we have always embraced change, and for us, change has created great opportunities.
As our staff upskilled in the world of digital events, we have taken on new clients, projects and ambitions. Pre-pandemic, our average number of projects per year was 200; in 2021, we undertook 220. Digitally, we have produced award ceremonies, BBQ masterclasses, conferences, virtual exhibition stands, dinners, huge charity events and a three-day global summit run in five languages.
Our client base went from 20 in 2020 to 45 at the start of 2022. Our turnover for May 2020 was £31 million; this dropped to £2 million in 2021, but it is on track to be over £33 million in May 2022.
Our full-time staff numbers were 56 staff in March 2020. After just five redundancies that year, we now have 60 full-timers with five open positions still to fill.
Throughout the past two years we have worked tenaciously to prioritise looking after our staff, freelancers, suppliers and clients, and the evidence of growth everywhere means that investment has paid off.
Maverick Live – A Covid-19 Success Story
Covid 19 was a very a very difficult time for our industry; however, we are pleased to share with you the successful journey of Maverick Live. Born in the pandemic around a pub table, 5 top live events professionals came together to take advantage of this chance opportunity.
With a structure of an equal 5-way equity split and initial investment of £0 with nothing but our time, belief, and determination we were off.
We are proud to be offering clients a full 360 event production service with a core team of just 5, delivering core services of project management, AV production, digital, design and video.
Securing clients like Hyde, Bentley, Very Group, Brakes, AG Barr, Redrow, NHBC, Biffa and Reckitt to name but a few, we started off in the virtual world and are pleased to be back delivering in person events.
Closing out our first year in November 2021, Maverick had achieved a turnover of 650K across 32 clients of which 70% have or are in the process of doing repeat business. Now in year two and are on target for a £1.5M turnover, are securing a large premises and making key hires.
2020 was looking to be a record year. 2019 was a period of significant growth and by March we were well ahead of our financial objectives. We’d also taken on 2 new staff at the end of 2019.
We were very confident we’d established a capable creative event agency and were totally confident in the quality of the team.
And then the pandemic hit. Everything cancelled and we had nothing on the books.
Our 2020 plan went out the window. We’d worked hard over 6 years to get the business to this point and believed wholeheartedly in the strength of the current team. Stopping – permanently or temporarily – was out of the question. But there was no question, we would have to adapt.
Our first action was to communicate firmly our number one priority – to survive with both our business and team intact. Our Vision, Mission and Values – adventurous, smart and passionate – would drive our collective will to explore solutions and evolve.
Everyone played a role in developing a new plan – generating ideas to both create opportunity in the short-term but also get the company in the best possible shape for the future. Keeping in touch with clients was a priority.
Sense Media Group – AutoSens / InCabin
In 2019 Sense Media Group was a fairly simple event business with just two large conferences taking place in Brussels and Detroit each year. The last 2 years have been disruptive, challenging, stressful, scary and a lot of other adjectives I can’t write in the public domain!
However, as we forecast in our strategic team meeting in May 2020, we have emerged stronger, more robust, and with greater potential – by listening to our customers, studying the changing market dynamics and innovating internally.
Sense Media now offers not just physical conferences, but also an expert-led online training academy; regular online mini-events; an indexed, searchable library of online content with over 1500 videos from conferences dating back to 2016, all delivered on a full membership platform website that provides added value for our customers while also enabling rich data harvesting for ourselves.
In addition, as part of a record six-figure sponsorship deal, we have launched a new brand, InCabin, spun out from the existing AutoSens, giving us the potential to double our event revenue inside 3 years.
Throughout, we have built stronger and deeper relationships with customers at all levels, while retaining a high energy in-house team.
Wilmington Events, EMEA
Prior to covid-19 HSJ Events delivered a mixture of events to the NHS and wider UK healthcare sector. The team had the additional complexity of their audience being at the heart of the pandemic response, so attending an event, whether virtual or in-person was not their priority when covid first hit.
They were forced to reschedule, cancel, and pivot events to create a new event schedule, which included a cautious return to in-person by mid-2021.
They delivered a socially distanced Awards on 29 June 2021, that 550 healthcare professionals attended. They then went on to deliver 2 awards, 1 large scale congress and 1 summit back-to-back in September, exceeding attendance, revenue, and feedback targets set across all events.
HSJ Awards welcomed 1,550 attendees in November 2021, to share successes and best practice, but more importantly shining a light on the incredible work carried out by the NHS over the past 2 years. The event was a true celebration and reconfirmed the importance of live events to everyone attending.
The post-covid outlook for the HSJ Event Team is one of optimism and confidence off the back of their success in 2021. The team didn’t just survive covid, they thrived.