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Evolving the Events Business: Bibi Brown shares her thoughts on the Good Revenue podcast

Recently, our COO Braughnwynn “Bibi” Brown sat down with Neeta Bidwai for her podcast Good Revenue to discuss the recent evolution of the event industry, both post-pandemic and in an ever more eco-conscious atmosphere, as well as TENCUE’s strategic approach to setting ourselves and our projects apart from other creative production agencies. Below is an excerpt from the interview.

Neeta Bidwai, Good Revenue (GR): What is the events business like right now and what has it been like coming out of COVID and whatever we’ve been going through the last couple of years?

Bibi Brown, TENCUE (BB): It’s really dynamic. It’s a really interesting time. I think because of COVID and we were all isolated and in our pods and everything else, people are excited to come back. They’re loving the IRL, the connection that happens that really you can’t replicate or duplicate that on any other platform. It’s also dynamic in that there’s lots of transition and interesting things taking place. We’re seeing a lot of intersection happening between in-person live and virtual. Now everyone wants these hybrid events, though that’s dying down a little bit. There’s AR and use of technology, we’re seeing all of the creative design and functionality, sustainability and eco-conscious practices that are emerging more and more. 

And then, of course, we’re trying to accomplish all of this within budget constraints. So while the world kind of took a pause when we all came back [to] live events, budgets stayed flat, understandably. Businesses had put a lot on hold, products didn’t get released, some things didn’t thrive, and there was shrinkage, but everybody else also needed to come back so you suddenly saw increase across the board by like 20+ %—in venues, with your food and bev, with A/V, with labor, all of these things. So suddenly what you could afford in yesteryear, you can’t afford the same thing today. And that has been a bit of a challenge.

GR: Yeah, there’s so much in that too. And it is interesting, it really feels to me like the pace of life has really accelerated coming out of COVID. I’m sure you feel that way too. And at the same time, events is such an interesting area, because, to your point, there are the budget pressures. I also sometimes wonder about the saturation, because it does sometimes feel like there is just a lot going on and, whether you’re an attendee or a potential corporate sponsor or a host, there’s just a question of how to maximize ROI. And I realize some of it will depend on your goals and objectives, but how are you thinking about this and how do you try to help your clients when they’re trying to stand out and they’re trying to navigate through these budget pressures?

BB: Yeah, that’s a great question because you’re absolutely right, it’s very saturated. You could go to an event 365 days a year. There is always something. [laughs]

GR: It could just be your job. [laughs] I’m sure it is someone’s job. 

BB: So with our clients—and we have clients that run the gamut, from doing user conferences where they are more revenue generating to internal conferences where it’s channel partners or it’s a sales kickoff or something like that—regardless of what it is, the approach should always be the same, which is “what’s your why?” What is the driving force, what are you solving for? Know your audience, know what their pain points are, and making sure that your event delivers on that, that it satisfies something. And then you sprinkle in surprise and delight, because people need that, we want that. Content is still king, it’s still really important, but your experiences are like your queen. Your experiences, which are inclusive of everything. A lot of people call them activations, in today’s world. And that is true, it is a moment, whereas experiences can be a little broader than that. It can range the gamut from the email that they get to register, to promote your event, to opening doors, to mainstage, breakout sessions, your one-to-many content versus your one-to-one moments that you can create. 

So we really work with our clients to guide them through that process, and thinking about how do you make it valuable, how do you create this halo effect? That’s the beauty of events, because they’re in-person, and you’re touching, feeling, experiencing everything, multi-dimensional, multi-sensory, you get to, throughout the year, reach back to the corners of your mind and recall some content that you saw, recall some value that you had, something that can influence a decision that you make, the way you respond to something, in addition to bringing a smile to your face when you look back at your IG pictures, and you see that moment that you got to have, or think about the drone light show that you saw in the sky. All those kinds of things. And so we really like to work with people on that, so that there is still an opportunity if you are on the revenue side of things, to still drive business. It’s still possible, even with saturation. Thinking of, what sponsors do you bring in, what partners do you have, what are the ideal alignments that help continue to tell your brand story, and really make it of relevance to the people around you and to your audience.

To listen to the full podcast, including more content on revenue generating events versus brand events, operational excellence, and fostering a customer-centric culture, click here.