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“Growing appetite” for live events in 2021, says Brands at Work

There is a “growing appetite” for a return to live events, according to agency Brands at Work.

Managing partner Karen Kadin (pictured right) told Conference News that while demand for live is obviously low in comparison to pre-Covid times, there is an encouraging increase in confidence towards the end of 2021, such as a 500-person live event planned for Q4.

“There is definitely growing appetite and confidence for a return to live [later in 2021]. Not quite on the scale of past events in the thousands, but for up to 500 pax UK audience sizes in Q4, and a bit smaller in Q3,” said Kadin.

She said regardless of format, every event they are working on has some manner of “virtual backbone”.

Kadin noted that her agency has continued to see big demand for online experiences. “Interestingly, we are seeing a trend for more communication virtually. What used to be an annual in-person event is now happening twice in the year online. A January kick-off and a May or June follow-up motivational booster event, for example,” Kadin added.

“There is greater confidence for live in the UK later in the year, with our international clients favouring smaller scale hybrid events with the ability to scale up or down according to the evolving landscape,” she said.

One hundred percent of Brands at Work’s client work in the first half of 2021 remains online, with what Kadin described as a “steady build-up” from Q3. Kadin re-emphasised that hybrid would remain an element: “Our pipeline of events in September and beyond is looking fantastically busy which is really encouraging; those events are being planned with a hybrid approach.”   

When asked if she had spotted any patterns with regards to event planning, Kadin said it was less to do with overall sector and more down to an individual company.

Recruiting to meet expectation 

Kadin said that Brands at Work has emerged from the pandemic as a “stronger agency”, and as a result has made six new hires to handle increased client expectation. “We more than weathered the storm of 2020 and came out of it a better agency: stronger client relationships, stronger financial performance, stronger cultural unity, stronger strategic acumen, stronger range of skillsets and innovation,” she said.

“We are positive about the progress in vaccinations in the UK rollout, a bit of a brave gamble to delay the second shot that has appeared to pay off. We are desperately craving human connection and the magic of in-person events so the steady trickle of briefs for live events later in the year has us all feeling hopeful and excited.” 

Last week, agencies including Strata Creative Communications, Oddity Events, Top Banana and DRPG all reported an increase in live experiences towards the end of 2021.

Pictured: Brands at Work managing partners John Birger and Karen Kadin