Interview with John Cox, Director of DCE Agency
What does it mean to you to be a 2020 Winner in the World Exhibition Stand Awards?
I’ve been in Events for as long as I can remember, but to have started an Agency with Amy Trevethan two years ago, it is an amazing sense of achievement felt by us both to win not one but four awards.
What changes have you implemented during Covid-19?
The impact of Covid 19 has been hard hitting, but we decided early on that we had to adapt and overcome to survive and thus we started a business called Custom Voyager, Custom Voyager is an events platform that operates in the Covid safe virtual world. We have created a completely customizable platform that is proving to be different to the competition and thus we have landed some blue chip clients and we are currently hosting their events, its been a learning curve but we have learnt a lot over the last few months and we have even tailored the platform to be a hybrid so when events do return we can use Custom Voyager to mitigate some Covid restrictions, for example if the event is in Europe and China has a travel ban, the visitors can dial in remotely to camera feeds at the real exhibition.
What changes do you expect to introduce looking ahead in stand design and experience as the events industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic?
We believe face to face cannot be replaced but we also believe Covid will have an impact for years to come and also some companies may now look at the cost of trade shows in more detail and approach them differently. For example sending local teams to the events to save cost and to avoid Covid measures, resulting in less actual visitors. To combat this we believe booths will be smaller and they will invest more in technology to capture not only the physical visitor but also the virtual once. Custom voyager can use cameras and tv screens on the booth so that visitors from outside the event can dial in navigate the virtual space and attend meetings, demonstrations or theatre seminars all from their home or office. The hybrid benefit is that the local team can do the face to face and physically test handle equipment while their colleagues can watch and talk in real-time about the pros and cons of the product.
How do you think events are going to change as a result?
Smaller more localised events, I also think companies will quantify their visitor potential buyer prior to the show. The show will become the face to face aspect of a process that will focus on social campaigns use of hybrid platforms for pre show PR events and marketing campaigns with the show being the place to close the deal in person.
How are these changes going to impact on stand design?
More open plan, smaller stands with more intimate meeting spaces, increased product demo areas as hands on is a must when it comes to buyers making final sign offs. Greater use of tech to capture the visitors not attending.
What are you most looking forward to about events returning?
Getting on a plane, hugging people I havent seen for, well it feels like years, the buzz of the deadlines.
Who’s been your lockdown hero?
This is an amazingly hard question as #wemakeevents have shown some great examples of people diversifying and just getting on with it. @bruno Roquette from standbuilder for his diversity and ability to carry on smiling.