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.
The German events and hospitality sector is opening up somewhat slower than other European markets, but there are still plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about the future. Elevate’s Chief Growth Officer, Jonas Willuhn, and Managing Director for Germany, Sarah Wangler, explain why.
New opportunities on the horizon
“Although our infection rates are lower than some of the other countries, safety comes first here, and we aren’t expecting to see any major events taking place in 2021”, says Jonas. “Several of Germany’s largest outdoor celebrations, including Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest, have been postponed for a second time.
“As a staffing agency, the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has made us rethink our strategy, and we’ve had to explore alternative opportunities out there. We’ve focused on and thrived within the beauty market for years, but it’s an industry that relies heavily on physical interaction. Our activations have previously involved inviting customers to smell the perfume and wear the products, and we haven’t been able to do that for the past year and a half.”
Non-essential shops have remained closed for most of the pandemic, but grocery stores have stayed open, and Elevate has succeeded in tapping into new possibilities there. It’s collaborated with Payback in Berlin, a loyalty system that rewards customers for spending money with certain partners.
“That’s worked well for us and will be an area we look to develop in other markets”, explains Sarah. “For now, we’ll continue to form new relationships with brands outside of the German beauty market, and that’s something very exciting for us.”
Virtual technology is another area that will play a significant part in future activations, and it’s something Elevate was already working on pre-pandemic.
“We had virtual brand ambassadors five years ago, which were perhaps a little too early for the industry at the time, but now there’s a real market for it. We’re helping brands and agencies explore these types of opportunities, and I can only see them becoming more popular”, says Jonas.
The way we approach diversity is changing
Diversity and sustainability are two major areas that Elevate Germany will be focusing on as it moves forward.
“Sustainability was a hot topic before COVID, but we’re all human, so there’s always a risk that brands will return to previous behaviours that weren’t so environmentally friendly”, explains Jonas. “Still, we’re seeing more and more companies wanting to prove that they’re actively doing something to shrink their carbon footprint, and that’s something we can play an important role in.
“If we can show clients that our activations are less damaging for the environment, everybody wins. This is even more relevant for the beauty market, which perhaps has a greater focus on sustainability than some other industries.”
“Lack of diversity is also an issue that brands are keen to address”, adds Sarah. “LGBT rights are already huge in Germany and have evolved significantly over the last few decades. However, certain areas such as gender, racial, and ethnic equality still have a long way to go; this is something that we are acutely aware of as a company and want to support our clients with.”
Expect to see much more from tech startups
With around 500 new companies appearing each year, Berlin is already recognised as Europe’s top city for startups. It’s these businesses that are putting more money into their marketing than anybody else.
Companies like HelloFresh, Teraki, and FreightHub call the city their home, and it’s hardly a surprise. With a successful infrastructure in place for financing and funding, numerous incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces, Berlin is buzzing with creative entrepreneurs.
“This will be a massive market for Elevate Germany and something that we’ll be focusing on heavily over the coming months”, says Jonas.
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.