2020, well thank heavens that is over, a year that has brought more challenges than we could ever have thought possible back in February. The month of March 2020 will be one that those working in our industry will never forget, despite how hard we will try to do just that!
As an industry built to adapt and respond to challenges they are usually ones that we feel in some semblance of control over, whereas this year has at times felt like we were not in control of our own destiny, and indeed we simply did not know what was happening from one month to the next. But, at the very least, we now go into the New Year with some light at the end of the tunnel following the recent commencement of the vaccine rollout. The success of which is vital for the long term viability of live events and face to face marketing.
Despite the pandemic putting the brakes on, a lot has happened in 2020 and the industry has not stood still. We have seen agencies adapt, merge with competitors, and embrace new ways of reaching an audience. Alongside this several dynamic start-ups, often being formed from the ashes of sad business closures or shrinkages, have been launched and are now shaking up the market.
If 2020 has achieved anything for the better, it’s been a catalyst in helping some businesses review their fundamental reason for being, and put them in a much better place to approach the new future. We may all be sick of the words ‘pivot’, ‘virtual’ and ‘Zoom’ but without them we would have just stood still and relinquished all control of our fate. There have certainly been positives amongst the incredible challenges we have faced.
For us at Purity we have faced the issues confronting us head on, made difficult decisions when needed, and most of all taken a good look at ourselves and analysed where we want to be from 1 to 5 years down the road. A long term view is essential in keeping your sanity, especially when confronting something that in the end will likely continue to directly impact on the business of face to face experiences for at least the next 2 years.
So we have concentrated on the positives, and not complained too much about the lack of a Christmas party, and instead focused on looking forward to our summer 2021 party! Which will be VERY big!
1. You can plan ahead and in as much detail as possible, but sometimes life throws you curveballs. Being responsive, adaptive, and flexible will pay off in the long run.
2. With that same viewpoint, and like a scout says “always be prepared”, we will be implementing a number of contingency plans in 2021 to consider all possibilities.
3. We can work effectively without being in the office 5 days a week. However, the social and convenience aspect of working as a team under one roof certainly has its benefits and we do really miss this. So a hybrid more flexible way of working is likely to be our future.
4. Learn to embrace change. We’ve been thrown into the ‘new normal’, without much warning or consent. However, we have pulled through and created a new routine. Let’s now call it the great reset of 2020.
5. Emphasised the importance of having a solid roster of amazing clients. When March hit our clients were incredible throughout that first quarter of Covid, making sure that even for cancelled campaigns we were covered for the time spent planning, and for events such as the Euros all cancellation fees were willingly covered by clients. In what was a tough year commercially it has made us value these relationships more than ever. We want to say a big thank you to all our clients and suppliers for your support this year! We look forward to continuing to deliver exciting campaigns with you in 2021.
6. This is less of a lesson but more of a promise – 2021 will be bigger and better than ever. People are craving experiences, events and live interaction. It’s going to be a huge bounce back for this industry and we are very excited about being a part of it.
7. We learnt what an amazing industry this truly is. The live events industry has proved itself to be resilient and willing to work together to survive and push themselves forward. Witnessing UK agencies, venues and individuals all pulling together as one to fight the cause has truly been inspiring, and makes you realise that the industry will continue to evolve and grow with so many incredible people involved within it. We will never forget all the venues being lit up red to highlight the Red Alert for the UK events industry. Respect to all those involved and to the industry as a whole. We are proud to be part of it.
8. Having long term, accurate, cash flow management is hugely important along with having an amazing finance manager/team (respect to Sally and the team at Fortus!). Also a quick nod to the Furlough scheme, another word we have learnt to embrace and, even though many sadly still fell through the gaps, it has been a vital tool for saving many jobs in our industry.
9. How much we miss working with our incredible promotional staff who are part of the Purity family. It has been an extremely tough year for them, we have really felt for them, and cannot wait to get them back out into the field as soon as possible.
10. How to make the perfect banana bread! We are going to have so many office treats when we are back together in the same building! The teams baking skills have amazed.
We hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year. And we look forward to a bright and positive future!!! Take care and stay safe.