The size and DNA of experiential agencies will witness a paradigm shift in the post Covid world: Sanjeev Pasricha
The industry is on a pause for a moment, taking a breath, introspecting and then remodeling & reinventing itself after assessing the situation.
Much has been written about the impact of COVID-19 on our industry. Undoubtedly the loss is huge and the ramifications are here to stay for the next few months before businesses return to normal.
To understand the road ahead and the way to recovery for the events and experiential agencies, we spoke to Sanjeev Pasricha, Managing Director and CEO of CS Direkt & VP, EEMA about the impact of this pandemic.
Here is what he had to say:
How is the event industry braving the coronavirus crisis?
The live event industry is still coming to terms with the unprecedented shut down of the experiential ecosystem. The business has come to a grinding halt as this point of time, yet the industry at every level is assessing the situation and trying to remodel itself.
Various business models are being explored. Right from using various forms of webinars to virtual events to digital entertainment and virtual weddings, the industry is innovating to cope up with the current situation.
The various stakeholders of the industry are using these times to reskill and remodel the business ecosystem. But these are uncertain times and the industry is yet to discover the magic bullet. The impact of Covid 19 has been catastrophic on the events industry financially.
Tell us about some of the initiatives undertaken by EEMA to address the financial distress which the industry is facing?
EEMA being the nodal body of the Experiential Industry has been fairly active in three key areas in the current scenario :
1. Representing the industry at every level in the government to address the problems and the issues faced by the industry.
2. Upskilling the industry by holding webinars and virtual events called the Future Ready Series.
3. Imparting knowledge and sharing new perspectives by inviting opinion leaders from various fields in the Knowledge series that is being conducted by EEMA.
4. Hosting Power Talks Series that allow EEMA members to have an open dialogue with the government offices and its representatives.
What are some of the expectations from the government?
Majority of the industry comes under the Small or Medium Enterprise Category (MSME) and together the industry impacts more that a million livelihoods. We certainly look up to the government to come and offer assistance through the following measures:
~We appeal to the government to make all due payments to the executed events, done by the industry so that the cash flow is maintained.
~We would like to see soft loans being made available to the industry, which are collateral-free , enabling the industry to pay up the other stakeholders like employees and vendors/ partners.
~The long-pending income tax refund process to be completed immediately for infusing some breathing space for the industry.
~Loans to be issued to the companies for future contracted projects.
~Relief on the GST charges for a few upcoming months.
We hope the government will take a fair call on the above issues faced by the industry despite the multiple challenges it faces today and will support the new phase of the industry.
Is the industry prepared for a longer haul if the lockdown persists?
Typically the industry is on a pause for a moment, taking a breath, introspecting and then remodelling & reinventing itself after assessing the situation.
Restructured work, redefined roles coupled with reskilling of resources is going to be the future of work. Work from home will be the new norm. To be able to take advantage of this, re-skilling and up-skilling becomes critical for both employers and employees.
How will the road to recovery pan out for event industry players in your view?
All said & done, the road to recovery is going to be long and lonely for the industry and full recovery may be perhaps a few years away, but the signs of improvement will be seen in the first half of the next calendar year.
The world would see increased use of virtual technology for meetings, events and expos. The social events space would be faster to recover as the weddings will start to pick sooner than other marketing activities involving experiential partners.
Will the current situation be a turning point for event and experiential players?
The impact of the pandemic on the global economy has been unprecedented. The size and DNA of the agencies in the post COVID will witness a paradigm shift not only in structure but in the approach and the service offerings.
Rethink, Recalibrate and Re-Invent will be the culture of the new form of industry that will emerge after the lockdown and in the post COVID era.
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