The coronavirus pandemic may be far from over, but the world is learning to adapt. Restrictions are being eased where they can, including the much-anticipated return of events. However, the uncertainty surrounding future lockdowns and a need for more health and safety measures has bestowed a new set of unprecedented challenges upon brands and agencies. In this article series, Elevate’s global team leaders outline some of the key considerations for marketers over the coming months.
As France eases some of its tighter COVID restrictions, including the requirement to wear masks outdoors and the halting of an eight-month-long nightly curfew, things are beginning to feel much more positive for the country. Managing Director for Elevate France, Julie Reed, outlines some areas she wants to focus on as the events and hospitality industry begins to open back up.
A strong demand for freedom
France is now very much on track to reopen. Smaller events can take place again, and we expect things to feel more normal by early July. As the rules permit larger attendee numbers outside, we’re seeing plenty of outdoor events popping up. They’re a safer option which means there’s been considerable interest in them. Unless restrictions change at the last minute, things for the event industry are looking up.
The French presidential elections are next year, and reopening the country is a key political topic right now – that’s why I’m confident we’ll see a big push for freedom. When you go out in France, it’s clear that people are craving those face-to-face experiences again.
However, COVID compliance officers will continue to have an essential part in any event or activation plan because the industry needs to show that it’s still in control. We must ensure that people are social distancing, wearing masks, and having their temperature taken. The newly-available Digital Green Pass will also require checks, and these are all things that Elevate Health can help with.
Wellbeing and sustainability are the big winners
Coronavirus has had a devastating effect globally, but it’s given people time to stop and think. Wellbeing is a huge thing that’s come out of the pandemic, and it’s an important focus for me. We’ve all recognised that we should be looking after ourselves and others more, and brands that align with those values will connect with audiences on a much deeper level.
Sustainability goes hand in hand with this. People have been able to reconnect with what’s important to them, and I can already see brands and agencies promoting these topics.
Having a reduced capacity at events can help strengthen these messages and should be viewed as an opportunity for everyone. It’s not simply about seeing hundreds and thousands of people in one go; it’s creating a meaningful engagement that’s important.
As we can’t have too many people through the door at once, brands may have 10-15 minutes with a single person, and they can be a bit more selective about who they want to target. It’s a chance to relay your brand message, build a real connection, and convert someone into a loyal customer.
Opportunities for brands around Paris 2024
Although restrictions are in place now, it’s unlikely that they will be here to stay, and people are starting to look further ahead. Forbes even reported that French business confidence rose more than forecast in June to reach the highest level since 2007 thanks to the reopening of the economy.
In three years, the 2024 Olympics will be taking place in Paris, and there will be plenty of business and job opportunities created as a result. Despite the financial impact coronavirus has had, the city still stands by its target to generate €1.1 billion in sponsorship revenue streams through various partners.
Organisers of Paris 2024 have said that they will be placing sustainability at the heart of the project. If brands want to get involved, they need to start preparing.
If you’d like to find out more about how Elevate can help you deliver events and experiences in a post-COVID world, you can get in touch here.