Why Small and Safe Experiential Activations are the Next Step for a Recovering Event Industry
As we sheltered-in-place, my family attempted to escape from reality by watching some reality TV. At one point in the show, a host announced to the contestants, “You are free to go on to the streets of Paris as you please.” I was immediately wracked with anxiety.
That the previously simple act of stepping outside and talking to people could create such a visceral reaction is just a small illustration of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. Countless jobs are affected, everybody’s daily routine is disrupted, and there is also a systemic impact on our worldview.
The one constant that everyone is looking forward to is the time when this pandemic will pass, and normalcy will return. However, there is sure to be an acclimation period as people slowly become comfortable gathering in public again.
Event planners, corporate marketers, and experiential agencies are facing a difficult question: What will the near future of events look like after months of sheltering-in-place and social distancing?
The likely answer is that, similar to the overall public, events will need an acclimation period. It means, at first, many gatherings will be smaller, more spread out, and in the open air. Since we should be popping our heads out of our hibernation holes as the summer months begin, open-air events will be welcomed. Personal engagement will be more important than ever, but planners should be prepared to accommodate an entirely new set of needs.
We the time comes, we would like to offer our line of Express Portables as an ideal solution for re-familiarizing the public to events.
Some ideas for using our Express Portable structures when we return to a new normal include:
Express Portable A, which can be used to distribute product samples, sell merchandise and tickets, provide information, and gather registrations. Originally designed to sell food and merchandise, the Express Portable A features a hinged window that swings up, clearly indicating when the structure is open for business. This feature is also useful for anyone still nervous about crowds because the window creates a barrier that allows conversation to continue while creating a natural social distance.
Since the Express Portable A is a fully enclosed eight-by-eight-foot pod that can be climate controlled, it keeps staff comfortably out of the elements. The Express Portable A is ideal for any activity where staff members need to interact with the public and would otherwise be sitting for a long time outside.
The Express Portable B and BX feature a lockable, sliding door and front and back panels that can be clear or opaque. These structures were conceived as portable offices, and they are perfect for a quiet, private space to get some work done.
However, they proved to be too versatile for just a single application. Because the structure shuts out much of the outside noise, the Express Portable B is an innovative solution for broadcasting both video and audio productions. It’s also an ideal location for one-on-one interviews and to hold a small meeting of two or three people.
The Express Portable B can also be used as a portable retail window display. Because the structure is entirely secure, products can be displayed in an open area without worrying that someone may tamper with the display. The structure is wide enough for brands to create dynamic tableaus that showcase their products in real-world scenarios. It is also possible to incorporate experiential techniques into the portable retail window display, such as including a QR code so someone can learn more about a product or even make a purchase.
Express Portable BX is slightly larger than the Express Portables A and B. This allows for slightly larger meetings of two to six people or for more room in smaller meetings, which may be a priority. The Express Portable BX can also be used as a mobile showroom that enables a brand to set up a gorgeous merchandise display nearly anywhere.
Another use for the Express Portable BX is a trade show booth. Once trade shows are up and running again, the economy will still be recovering and competition will be bigger than ever. The Express Portable BX is an incredibly eye-catching structure that dramatically stands apart from the other booths. This distinctive look can give a brand the edge they need over the nearby competitors.
The buildings in the Express Portable line can be fully assembled about 10 minutes by two to three people. The structures feature a unique flat-pack, fold-up frame, which means it easily raises from a completely flat structure. The frame is comprised of sturdy aluminum with an integrated galvanized steel floor system that effortlessly clips into the frame – no nuts and bolts required.
The frame is then enclosed with what’s known as an AirCell. The AirCell is a double layer of coated fabric with a securely bonded trim that fits tightly in channels running along the aluminum frame. Once secure, the AirCell is inflated with a motorized pump. The pressurized AirCell creates tension that gives the Express Portable line rigidity and strength. The AirCell is also responsible for these structure’s unique, attention-grabbing appearance.
In fact, Express Portable line can be completely branded. Typically, the entire exterior of the AirCell is wrapped in a dye-sublimated fabric. Decals can also be placed on the front and back walls, even the Plexiglas, so it is still possible to see in and out.
Most deployments of the Express Portable line can be set up in a variety of different environments, including uneven surfaces like sand. The units can also be rigged with electricity and outfitted with climate control systems.
We know times are currently difficult, but difficult times don’t last. We are looking forward to a break in the clouds when we can all get together again. And, when that time comes, our skilled staff is ready to get back to work and help bring people together again.