BLOG AND EMILI / Events and Covid-19: from offline to online and back, or not?

Events and Covid-19: from offline to online and back, or not?

digital events: Kohler
Events and Covid-19: from offline to online and back, or not?

The health emergency stemming from the spread of Covid-19 has altered the habits of all of us, in every sphere, from personal life to work.

For a digital agency like AND EMILI, adapting to the new smart working modalities, which we were already exploring, might have been somewhat easier. However, there are activities whose digital transition is far more complex. But not impossible! Necessary, wholly or in part.

In this post, I will delve into the transition from physical to digital events, a shift made compulsory during the lockdown phase and still crucial now, to adhere to safety measures and social distancing, and to limit international travel for event participants.

Photo- by -Andrei-Stratu -on- UnsplashPhoto by Andrei Stratu on Unsplash

The world of trade fairs

The Italian trade fair sector generates an average of 60 billion euros annually. Between March and June 2020, its revenue was essentially nullified. Offline events were far from being an outdated concept, with an estimated 50% of Made in Italy products being exported following contacts and orders made at trade fairs (source Il Sole 24 Ore).

Both entire trade fair events and individual exhibitors have adapted and responded by taking their fairs digital. Cosmoprof, for example, was one of the first events to create an alternative platform to the physical event, focusing on generating business contacts and leads, in addition to offering the opportunity to participate in educational events. Product exposition turned out to be less significant in this experience.

An experience of AND EMILI in the new course of the trade fair sector was the creation of a virtual space for Kohler (read the complete Case History) as a substitute for participation in the Eima event. The Kohler Virtual Booth combines the features of a virtual stand with lead generation activities that compensate for the typical commercial contact so effective, as we know well, in offline events.

Through an immersive 3D reality, guided paths, and multimedia content, the virtual fair visitor discovers the products in detail but can also take a further step: Kohler Virtual Booth acts as an advanced landing page aimed at maximizing contact opportunities. The most important objectives achieved by the virtual space are contact requests, demo calls, or attending online workshops.


AND EMILI specializes in development and strategic consulting for digital channels.

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Phygital Fashion Weeks

Now, let's look to another domain, that of fashion, where Made in Italy reigns supreme on the global market, manifesting through grand events, such as the Fashion Weeks that grace the world's metropolises.

“The 2nd Confindustria Moda's Economic Survey on Textiles, Fashion, and Accessories (Tma) revealed that 86% of companies in the second quarter of 2020 experienced a turnover decrease exceeding 20 percent.” (from Il Sole 24 Ore).

Global fashion brands necessarily had to introspect to find ways to convey their artistic vigor and the concept of seasonality, which we've learned to perceive as more nuanced during a pandemic. Among them, Dior, which last year created an evocative and immersive short film as a substitute for its haute couture show, collaborating with director Matteo Garrone.


Subsequently, many brands officially transitioned their Fashion Weeks to digital formats, often opting for the phygital approach: physical events held behind closed doors, broadcasted through digital channels. However, some brands chose to abstain from participating in the fashion world’s flagship events in any form, canceling shows without replacing them with digital events.

Reflecting on the Future

Covid-19 has been a part of our lives for about a year, allowing us now to reflect more broadly on the theme of offline and online events. We believe that such a prolonged period of physical distancing will mark a profound shift in our approach to mobility, to the workplace, and to physical events.

How many considerations will we make before organizing in-person meetings, now that we have worked for a year, and effectively, from a distance? How many professionals will still choose to travel, when presented with the opportunity for one-on-one digital meetings with other professionals and participation in high-quality online events?

The post-pandemic period will likely usher us to a more digitized world; this transformation is already evident to all. We believe the cultural shift after a year of the pandemic cannot be underestimated but should instead be anticipated by companies and embraced as a new opportunity.

AND EMILI focuses on development and strategic consulting for digital channels.

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