Photo Credit: VOK DAMS

The German events industry has been hit particularly hard by the Corona pandemic. An industry with around 1.5 million employees and a direct turnover of almost 130 billion euros and. As a result, the industry is asking attention for its plight and government support with large-scale demonstrations in Berlin under the motto #AlarmstufeRot (#redalert).

VOK DAMS Worldwide is one of the leading live marketing agencies in the world and headquartered in Germany. Founded over 50 years ago and with over 200 employees at 19 locations around the world, it had its fair share of global challenges throughout its existence. Financials crises, SARS, terror threats and erupting volcanos, the agency knows how to tackle tough situations but – like everyone else – never experienced anything like the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Colja Dams is the CEO of family-owned VOK DAMS Worldwide and clear in his approach to the crisis.

“The pandemic is by far the most serious threat to the live event industry since I joined the company 25 years ago. Many companies will unfortunately not survive the total loss of income for so many months and for these, we all come together in the red alert movement. But for us, the direction is clear: we will survive and all our efforts are focused on that.”

“VOK DAMS has been at the forefront of digital event solutions for a decade and a true believer in the power of hybrid event concepts. Therefore, we could offer our clients online alternatives for their offline-planned events from the get-go, when the pandemic hit earlier this year. Since then we have created and produced a large number of digital and hybrid events for our clients and achieved great results together with our clients and partners.”

Colja Dams, Photo Credit: VOK DAMS

“The shared “experience” of a live event has an additional emotional and dramatic dimension that we cannot emulate online”

“Nevertheless – we know it from television programs, sporting events and media presentations – the personal connection, the shared “experience” of a live offline event has an additional emotional and dramatic dimension that we cannot emulate online and cannot do without in the long run.”

“So it’s not surprising that a growing number of our clients are again asking for our support to plan “real” live events in the second half of 2021 as soon as the news broke on the progress of the various COVID-19 vaccines. With test results very promising (90% effective) it’s not a surprise that not only stock markets are up but that companies are (carefully) returning to large scale live events.”

Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

Q: So there’s light at the end of the tunnel?

Colja Dams is adamant about this. “Yes, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Next to the return of live event RFPs from our German multinational clients (who need to plan far ahead), we have already been producing live offline events in China since September. Still with strict health and hygiene measures but back to live nevertheless. And indeed an even stronger digital component. Hybrid events are definitely here to stay but the recent developments have shown that we as people like to be social and have great experiences together in the real world.”

“We continue to offer the full range of communication options, be it offline, online or hybrid. An array of services that we have mastered perfectly. And we are pleased that our customers are now planning more long-term again. We are ready to go back to live with them.”