Lisa Hannant, group MD at Clarion Events, who played a role in the creation of exhibition return frameworks for both UFI and the AEO, steers Clarion towards a new era post-Covid-19.
Along with all of our industry peers we are heavily engrossed in figuring out what the new normal will be.
Following the initial frenzy of activity and the extraordinary work undertaken by our teams in rescheduling shows around the world, we are now very much focused on the reopening phase and what recovery may look like from an operational perspective and from a long-term customer value proposition.
While trends are emerging, there is still no clear answer. What is certain is that waiting for a full set of facts to emerge before determining what to do will be too slow. We have to take steps now to both build confidence and value for our customers at our future shows, which will mean a complete rethink in many areas. And, we are certainly open to that at Clarion!
The way in which the whole industry has responded and has come together has been truly inspiring. While we have always had incredible relationships across the industry, many of which have been developed over many years (and hours spent in various bars around the world), recent months have seen this displayed tenfold with huge amounts of collaboration and openness between organisers and partners globally as we adapt.
I have had the pleasure in recent weeks of working with colleagues across the industry in contributing to the UFI Global Framework and also developing the All Secure Standards, which is a framework to help us visualise and implement a safe and secure environment for our customers. Communicating how we, as an industry, can deliver this is critical to our reopening.
I am delighted that governments and authorities all over the world have acknowledged that we can begin to reopen the doors to our events and take steps to minimise the risk of further infection.
Of course, while industry collaboration has been essential to deliver All Secure, we also see this period as a great opportunity to develop competitive advantage. Our internal collaboration efforts are focused on creating even more value for our customers now, while we can’t run physical events, and also long-term as we reopen.
At Clarion, we are taking everything back to basics to understand how we deliver customer value. We are collectively thinking beyond the sale of space and building a co-creation culture within and across our teams and, as a result, innovation, smart thinking and results, are being driven across the entire organisation.
Being agile and learning in an ever-changing environment is how we are going to need to operate in the future and to continue this in a meaningful way we are developing cross portfolio and cross geographical strategies which best serve the customer and their likely change in expectations.
Doing something developmental has given us a real positive energy and, with everyone working remotely, it’s given us a great opportunity to connect globally. But mostly, the advancement of our digital and tech capability as part of our return to live offering, has been exponential; then thinking and discussions are light years ahead of where we were even a month ago and there are more new voices joining the conversation every day.
So, while the past months have been some of the most challenging ever, the spirit in which we have come together both internally and as a collective industry shows that, through collaboration, we have the ability to influence and make long lasting change which is desperately needed to kickstart our wonderful industry again.