The majority of British businesses (93%) say the absence of live events and experiences since the start of the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on their staff engagement/internal communications, according to a survey conducted by the #WeCreateExperiences campaign.
Officially launched this week, #WeCreateExperiences, which aims to raise awareness of the power of business events to educate, inspire, celebrate, support society and add value, also highlighted the importance of events and experiences for mental health and wellbeing.
The survey of around 50 UK business leaders, revealed as part of the campaign launch, highlights the value of events to businesses and why it’s vital they are brought back quickly and safely. Three quarters (75%) of business leaders say the absence of live events and experiences had a detrimental impact on the marketing of their business and 96% say events and experiences add value to their business.
More than one in three of senior decision makers said that on-site testing would give them most confidence that live events can return safely and 74% expect them to be back by either the second or third quarter of 2021.
The first phase the #WeCreateExperiences campaign is targeted at the business community, urging them to deliver trade shows, conferences, product launches, charity fundraisers and other live events in 2021 as they are given the green light to resume. It will educate decision makers about the economic impact of live events; reassure them they can be staged safely; and inspire them to start planning and briefing now for events and experiences that will grow their business.
The campaign video includes contributions from rugby World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson and Will Greenwood; double Olympic champion Daley Thompson; astronaut Tim Peake; chefs Angela Harnett and Tom Kerridge; comedian Rory Bremner; events promoter Harvey Goldsmith; and leading charities.
Simon Hughes, co-founder of the #WeCreateExperiences campaign, said: “The events industry is ready to get back to work and to play its part in rebooting the economy. We are known internationally for our world-leading safety standards so we can be trusted to stage safe events that will help businesses grow and showcase their work, charities to generate much-needed revenue and allow all of us to experience the pleasure of the real, rather than the virtual world.
“Our industry provides employment across the UK, creating opportunities for young people, generates £165bn in trade and touches millions of lives through business events and exhibitions, festivals, weddings and community and charity events. Our message to the business community is: we know you have missed us and we are ready to welcome you back in 2021”.
Professor John Drury, who leads the Crowd and Identities Group, at Sussex University and sits on the independent SAGE group, added there is extensive evidence showing that emotions and groups are good for peoples’ mental and physical health. “Attending live events not only brings us joy but is good for wellbeing,” he said. “This is not just a matter of lifting people’s spirits. The economic cost of mental ill health in England has been estimated at £105bn a year. Through bringing joy, live events make a vital contribution to both our emotional and our economic wellbeing”.
The events industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and a survey of more than 1,600 businesses which will be presented to ministers, reveals the toll it has taken on the mental health of events professionals amid a collapse in income and mounting redundancies:
- 83% say they have struggled with stress or anxiety
- 41% say they have experienced symptoms of depression and 7% have experienced suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
- 57% have experienced feelings of loss or failure
The survey of event owners, organisers, agencies, suppliers and freelance workers lays bare the impact of two lockdowns and other restrictions as more one in three have seen every scheduled event cancelled since the coronavirus outbreak:
- 71% of companies have seen their turnover drop by 60%-100%
- 33% have only enough capital to last for up to three months and a further 39% can only last for up to six months
- 64% of organizers cannot run any of their events sustainably under current restrictions, which permit a maximum of 1,000 in Tier 2 areas, and only 6% can make a profit
- 22% of companies have reduced their headcount by more than 40% since March
To mark the launch of the campaign on Monday, event professionals shared stories of their favourite events and experiences that they have helped to create across social media channels using the hashtag #WeCreateExperiences.
#WeCreateExperiencesis the latest campaign to be supported by One Industry One Voice, a coalition of events industry associations and businesses, representing thousands of agencies, promoters, organisers, venues, suppliers and freelance communities.