We are almost through 2022. A change from the previous two years (thank goodness) but 2022 brought us concerns as well as high points. It was another tumultuous year, but as always, I am looking for the silver lining. And yes, there were some. It is through these silver linings that I see how 2023 will look and I will discuss that in next week’s TMC.
What and where are the silver linings from 2022? But before I address those silver linings let’s look at the stories of 2022 that have created these silver linings:
- The supply chains continue to cause us anguish in persona and professional worlds
- There has been a greater divide in our peoples than ever before – we have gone from “we are in this together” and banging pots and pans from balconies to celebrate our front-line workers to anger and convoys and divisive talk and actions.
- Inflation has spiraled as the FED and the Bank of Canada continuously raised interest rates to contract the inflation which in turn has devastating impact on the economy
- There is an imminent recession on the horizon
- In Canada we have record labor shortages affecting everything from healthcare to hospitality to tourism and of course the sponsorship and experiential marketing industry!
- The Hockey Canada fiasco! (I don’t think I need to say more.)
Here are a few of the top good experiences from the year that is almost passed… the silver linings. And they are worth celebrating!
- Probably the best thing to happen in 2022 is the “re-opening” of our industry and the experiences we have been able to engage in once again. This has meant stadiums could be filled to the brim and concerts and theatres packed to the rafters. It meant that we could hug and hold people again and shake hands. We were born to engage and be with others and this opportunity was returned.
- Though the point above happened, not everyone was ready to re-engage. I attended many conferences and events where some still masked (I still mask when I travel on planes and trains and public transit) and others who let you know where their comfort level lie with touch and personal space. Though we have become divisive (mostly due to political rhetoric) we seem to have a clear sense of respect for others’ boundaries. Those that want to mask and not shake hands are allowed to do so, but even more importantly we respect their choice and are glad they could attend and share in person all the same!
- Though not all our arts productions and conferences and concerts and festivals reached pre-pandemic levels, those that attended were elated to be with other people to celebrate the experiences together. This was a huge step forward and provided some sense of normalcy for all of us.
- Truth and Reconciliation continued to stay a part of our daily lives. 2021 was really a year of eye-opening for our non First Nations peoples with the “discovery” of the graves from the residential schools. And 2022 became truly the start of learning, understanding and engaging in the truth. Once we can accept the truth we can move forward with the reconciliation. This year brought a lot of light to the truth and made sure it was not passed over.
- Sponsors came back to the field. For many of these brands they came back at previous levels of investment for others it is a gradual return. But there is much more scrutiny now though (just like in 2001, 2008 and 2015). When they retract, they come back with more metrics and more analysis. And for those properties that are effective and efficient, this is a good thing.
- Technology continues to abound. We are seeing way more integration of tech into activations and data collection for sponsors and properties alike. More QR Code based engagement taking consumers to gaming or AR experiences to learn more and engage and provide much desired data to the sponsors.
- We continued to deepen relationships (well, at least the successful organizations have). We went further in relationships in 2022 than ever before. Perhaps because that was necessary during the pandemic, and we chose (again the smart properties and brands) to continue this practice which has paid off in spades.
I believe 2020 opened our eyes to new ways of thinking, new opportunities, and a glimpse into the future. 2021 allowed us to nurture those learnings, adapt them, and put them into practice, even if it was just a start and not fully accomplished. But 2022 has allowed us to be part of the future, today! We are now on the road to rebuilding the sponsorship and experiential marketing sector and it will be bigger and better than ever was delivering incremental ROI for those brands and properties that do it right!
Farewell to 2022 and thank you for what you have given us these last 12 months. I hope we all can take these silver linings and build on them. See you next year!
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