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So what is the COVID-19 Events & Brand Experience Hub?

The COVID-19 Events & Brand Experience Hub is a selection of resources and insights our team has curated to help your brand navigate your way through events and brand experiences. 

Within the Hub you'll find the following... 

Frequently Asked Questions

The New Experience Report 

COVID-19 Podcast Learning Series

Sense Blog Articles 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

There's a sense of optimism in Australia that life is beginning to edge back towards normal as COVID restrictions begin to lift. As of June 12th 2020 Scott Morrison announced major restrictions on public gatherings to be scrapped as Australia moves towards the final stage of easing coronavirus restrictions, expected to begin in July. These federal recommendations will be actioned by individual states in the coming few weeks. 

The 100-person cap on all indoor gatherings, which was planned for stage three, has been scrapped. In its place a "four-square-metre rule" is set to be introduced for all indoor venues.

From July 1, NSW will also adopt the federal recommendations regarding outdoor cultural and sporting venues with a capacity equal to or less than 40,000 people. These venues will be allowed to begin operating again with a maximum occupancy of 25 per cent their normal capacity, to allow for physical distancing. This will mean that a venue with a 40,000 person capacity will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 patrons at an event, paving the way for the return of stadium concerts and sports matches. Such events will need to be ticketed, with allocated seating, to allow for accurate contact tracing should an outbreak occur. Venues with a maximum capacity of more than 40,000 people will remain closed for the time being.

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) have released COVIDSafe Guidelines for Business Events. The strategic principles were delivered to Federal and State Governments with the hope of instilling confidence in Australia’s business events sector so that COVID-19 restrictions can be safely lifted and the industry can restart.

We encourage you to involve us early in your project’s planning phase so we can help navigate the new COVIDSafe protocols. We’ll be informing our clients and posting regular updates as the regulations become available.

Please also refer to the Events Council and Government resources for the latest regulations.

If you're looking to do an event in 2020 there are a few points to consider. 

Events of more than 100 people, as per stage 3 of ‘3 step plan of CovidSafe Australia’, guests must enforce the ‘four-square-meter rule’ until we have received word from the government. The choice of the venue will be important for providing a suitable space to accommodate crowd control.

There is also increased awareness of hygiene and ways that you’re keeping your event safe. Doing temperature checks on arrival, asking guests if they hold any symptoms or have been with anyone with Covid-19. Ensuring guests use the COVID safe Government could be useful for ensuring the safety of guests.

If you’re considering 2021 events, we will have more progressive knowledge on where Australia stands with social distancing and COVID-19. There may be a larger number of people allowed in the space by then. This is not clear, however, conceptualisation and development of your event can be carried out with precision and detail knowing your business is being forward-thinking, observing the market as it comes out the other side. 

It comes down to what you’re trying to achieve and whether the circumstances are suitable.

It’s a good question. As the restrictions are lifted there are certainly opportunities for brands to communicate with their audiences face to face. However previous behaviours may no longer be applicable. Everyone has approached COVID differently. Some are still uncomfortable to leave their house and remain digital, while others were the first ones out when restrictions eased and long for that face to face engagement. We would encourage any brand to ensure they review the strategy and objectives when thinking about engaging their audience. Who is your audience? What are their current behaviours? Before you can decide if a face to face execution is going to meet your objectives, you need to understand your audience now, and post-COVID. That research will help us design you the best experience to reach them. 

While technology improves our ability to meet in this day and age, it can not replace the many benefits of face to face interaction, whether that be 1.5 metres apart or not. Apart from protecting confidentiality, the sharing of data and content (with online restrictions), staging an event also allows participation, physical interaction with content. However, probably the most important benefits of meeting face to face is building relationships, the opportunity to convert into sales and allowing audiences to get a true sense of your brand. 

Sense will continue to work within our clients budget parameters considering all of the new COVID safe protocols and considerations.

Circumstances for events and brand experiences are continuously changing, making it challenging to achieve the same ROI on a smaller scaled event. With different circumstances, your ROI is naturally going to be different from your former strategies and events. There are however other ways of achieving a strong ROI for the concept you do move forward with. 

To do so, Sense will always consider the variables in place and what this will achieve for your brand. 

From a business perspective, it will be important to consider when you execute your campaign or experience as timing and restrictions will affect what you’re able to do. We encourage you to get in touch with us to arrange a workshop to discuss alternative ways to engage your audience and achieve your key objectives.

We are lucky to live in a society where technological advances are enabling us to stay connected whilst not physically being connected. Social media and technology has become an important source of our daily lives that provides context as all communities are forced to move online. Even today as society is reopening many will continue to work from home. 

So what are the ways in which we can ensure attendees feel connected whilst physically social distancing? As stated above, the obvious is connection through technology, examples of this include:

  • Create more personalised one on one interactions at your events
  • Deliver a hybrid experience consisting of a physical and digital component; virtual events via live stream or group chats and forums, or providing a hybrid solution so those uncomfortable attending in real life, have the opportunity to engage. 
  • Digital games, to remove personal contact but still keep attendees engaged
  • Social media and other online forums for attendees to share their experiences
  • Creating a playlist to stream, inviting guests to simultaneously listen to the same music on their devices during your event
  • Sharing ecomaps to attendees to provide information; Who can help you? Where can I source this information? Etc

You can see more on how Sense is staying connected here. 

Consider your objectives and whether or not a face to face is suitable for you right now. 

The same rules apply to your content and key messaging for events as they always have, now there is simply more precaution. You can find out more about persevering event strategies that continue to stay ahead of the curb in our 2020 in The New Experiences report. 

This is a guide our team has been dedicated to curating with expert opinions, analytic insights, and our own professional experiences. We highly recommend you download a copy and see for yourself. 

We can assume more pre-production and planning time will be required to ensure all COVID safe measures, including mandatory and recommended control measures are in place. However, don’t be discouraged as we will guide you through this process ensuring you are legally covered but also that these measures are integrated into the event experience as seamlessly and painlessly as possible. 

Given the change in people’s working conditions (ie. working from home, less commuting on public transport, less interstate travel) we will encourage less face to face meetings. Video calls will be utilised for meetings and site inspections. We will also present regular updates and post site inspection findings (information, photos etc) as we usually do.  

The key things we will consider in event planning include:

  • Physical distancing 
  • Customer journey
  • Hygiene 
  • Working arrangements and event scheduling 
  • Contractor and supplier management   
  • Health monitoring 
  • Training 
  • Planning, communication and consultation

Firstly, it’s important to check the current and most up to date information on restrictions based on each individual state or territory. We need to adhere to laws set out at a state level, depending on where the event is being held.

It’s natural to feel concerned. Ultimately, attendees will make their own choice to attend the event. Our job is to make the environment as safe as possible for everyone. 

As of today, as the business hosting an event, are required to:

  • record contact details of attendees (and all those involved on site, i.e staff) to assist health authorities with contact tracing if an outbreak occurs.
  • Regardless of a pandemic, WHS requires you to take care of the health, safety and welfare of your workers, including yourself and other staff, contractors and volunteers, and others (clients, customers, visitors) at your workplace or event. This doesn't change, however, everyone at your event is more aware and cautious of this.
  • For good safe work practices in place and laws that still apply to events during COVID and beyond, see here.

 

Industries may choose to self regulate so a ‘new’ industry standard may form out of the COVID restrictions and government advice. It’s important to remain reactive to the evolving situation and ensure the safety of guests, workers and staff are the first priority when organising an event.

If you are not able to eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, you must minimise that risk, as far as is reasonably practicable. Here are the main ways to do so:

  • practice physical distancing  
  • practice good hygiene (e.g., encourage this at your event, ensuring access to adequate and well-stocked hygiene facilities)
  • Requiring attendees/staff  to stay home when sick or feel unwell.
  • Cleaning the event space regularly and thoroughly. 

For more information, refer to Safe Work Australia. 

Safety has always been a top priority at Sense. Our projects are assessed individually with advice from our go-to safety manager, Momo Vassilev as well as other expert stakeholders when required. 

There will be a lot more to consider during the planning and delivery of future projects to adhere to government restrictions and health & safety guidelines that line up with COVIDSafe protocols.

Checking these boxes will be important to ensure everyone's safety but it doesn’t stop there. The design of the space can also contribute to creating an environment where the audience feels safe and can immerse themselves in the experience and engage with the content.

Sense is committed to taking all necessary precautions as recommended by relevant state and federal authorities protect businesses and people coming together.

We will keep our clients informed as the new guidelines become available.

Our advice is to put a temporary pause on your plans and talk to us, things are changing day by day as new information comes in and we watch how the hospitality, tourism and other sectors respond as we move into stage 3 restrictions in early July. We are monitoring closely what other brands are doing around the world. We’re working on new formats, processes and designs to help our clients navigate through this and return to business sooner or later.

Get in touch with us to arrange a workshop to discuss alternative ways to engage your audience and achieve your key objectives.

 

The New Experience Report

What's inside?

  • Key societal shifts and trends taking place around the globe
  • A new experience framework for delivering successful brand experiences
  • ‘Best in Class’ examples of experience design
  • The necessary experience tactics to succeed

Download your copy

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COVID-19 Podcast Learning Series

Sense’s 'Behind The Experience' podcast, hosted by co-founder and director Mark Bennedick, puts the spotlight on our industry's best talent and interviews forward-thinking leaders of innovative, purpose-driven brands making an impact with brand experiences. 

In our COVID-19 learning series, we’ve curated some of the best business minds from companies like Adobe and Atlassian to understand how they’re handling business, as well as globally renowned experts in behavioural science, innovation and creativity. See our recent episodes below. 

 

Sense Blog Articles

We're all learning and understanding what The New Experience is together. Through the Sense blog we will be sharing regular findings and insights to help your brand navigate the changes with events and brand experiences. See a few of our recent blogs below.