The news of cancellations of massive events begin to appear in the world media. Perhaps one of the most impactful is the cancellation of the Consumer Electronics Show. CES, as it is commonly known, has been one of the great electronics exhibitions of the year. It is traditionally carried out in the first days of January of each year. In addition to being one of the major electronics exhibitions, it is the one that opens the year and therefore the trends in electronics and consumption for the rest of the period are presented. CES organizers recently announced that the Expo will be moving to a fully digital format for its 2021 version, so there will be no return of physical exposure in January.
The 2020 version of CES was held in January in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was one of the last major massive business events to be held when the pandemic was just growing in Asia and parts of Europe. Another event of the global technology industry that did not suffer the same fate was the Mobile World Congress, a mobile phone expo that traditionally takes place in Barcelona. The MWC in Barcelona was one of the first major global exhibitions that was canceled in February 2020. Cancellations of major events due to the pandemic were just beginning.
If we give “fast foward” to what happened next in 2020, we will see how practically all the great events in the world were canceled one by one. Some event planners hoped to resume their events in the second half of 2020, but those hopes faded. Even in countries where the pandemic has subsided and cases are declining, massive events are still canceled anyway. The stories of cities around the world that reopened « too quickly » and then had to close again are taking place on several continents.
A similar phenomenon is happening with teleworking or home office. Some announcements begin to be made by large multinationals that the home office will continue, in some cases, for at least another year. Google recently announced that it expects the vast majority of its employees to continue to telecommute until at least July 2021. It is highly likely that many large multinationals will make announcements similar to Google’s. Of course, Google belongs to a sector in which implementing Home Office schemes is relatively simple. Work in technology companies is largely intellectual work, which is done through the internet, computers, and cell phones. Therefore, thinking about a prolonged quarantine is not so disruptive to normal operation.
While some of the changes appear to be irreversible, we can expect events and office work to return after the Pandemic has subsided to manageable levels. The most optimistic scenarios lead us to at least the first half of 2021. Perhaps in some cases we will have to wait until 2022 to have a normality more similar to that prevailing in 2020, before COVID-19 broke into our lives.
Reflection is, from a digital marketing standpoint, it pays to move aggressively toward a 100 percent online communication platform. Regardless of the return to the new normal, to events and offices, digital schemes will have gained a space as marketing tools from which they will not be displaced in the short term. The number of face-to-face events is more likely to never regain its peak in popularity. And teleworking is also very likely to become a reality for millions of people who now spend hours commuting to offices.
The world has already switched to digital and the Pandemic has only accelerated that trend. It would be worthwhile for us to conquer spaces for our brands in that cloud called the Internet and not to wait for the return of face-to-face.
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