Looking Back to Look Ahead – A Reflection on 2021

Looking Back to Look Ahead – A Reflection on 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the incredible transformation and growth we experienced this year—as an industry and an agency—and we’re looking ahead to 2022 with optimism!

How it started – The 2021 Digital Dive

Early in 2021, event professionals, on a quest to overcome Zoom-fatigue, dove deep into the digital space to find new ways of producing events that were fresh and engaging in a virtual-only world. The result? Brands forged deeper into digital-first event strategies, explored emerging hybrid architectures, and embraced a new era of brand communities. These digital experiences created flexibility and increased attendance by removing geographical barriers for brands.

How it’s going – From Hybrid to In-Person

As parts of the world began to open up and vaccines became more widely accessible, the industry shifted from virtual to hybrid events. Through the exploration of future experiences, including what’s next for virtual events, event professionals learned how to engage virtual and in-person attendees simultaneously. And when travel restrictions began to lift even more, health and safety plans were put in place to ensure the show floor was ready to welcome event professionals back on-site. Moving to in-person events required event professionals to flex muscles that had been dormant for eighteen months, but this was a challenge we fully embraced.

Where it’s headed – Hybrid is Here to Stay

In-person events continue to gain momentum, but attendees have mixed emotions. Some are ready to welcome in-person events back with open arms, while others prefer to keep their distance and join virtually. Either way, one thing remains the same, attendees still crave connection and content. This is the beauty of a hybrid event. It allows attendees to choose how they participate in events in real-time. But, it’s more than just a win-win for attendees. Incorporating digital components into in-person events also helps brands reach more people on a global scale. We will continue to see brands offer hybrid events in 2022 and beyond.

Awesome Talent Will Help Along the Way

Reflecting back, it’s incredible to revisit how drastically the event landscape changed, and how quickly the industry was able to adapt through human perseverance. As with nearly everything about the event industry in 2021, the common denominator comes down to the people. People in the right roles, people with vision and determination, people willing to take risks and create new ways of doing things, and people producing memorable experiences regardless of the platform.

In 2021 we added a lot of new people to our team to make that transformation possible. We welcomed 159 new employees this year and promoted some pretty awesome talent. Here is just a few of the talent changes that are helping drive our company into the next chapter.

Mitch Barns was named CEO. “The common theme throughout my career has been helping clients build their brands and improve their ROI. That’s what The Opus Group does, by being strategically-led, creatively-driven, and operationally excellent,” Barns said.

Caryn Mambro was promoted to Chief Creative Officer. “I see 2022 being a year of rebuilding even more than 2021. We have to bring emotionally compelling stories to life to keep attendees interested. I’m excited about this next chapter and look forward to making moments that matter and evoke human connection,” said Mambro.

Lauren Smith was appointed Executive Vice President, Head of Talent & Development. “People are the heart of any organization, and the changes coming to the world of talent & development are exciting. I look forward to working with the amazing team at Opus,” says Smith.

Across the industry, the influence of our teams continued to grow. Amanda Lane was elected to the Experiential Marketing Measurement Coalition (EMMC) and Dena Lowery was elected to the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) Board of Directors, both serving as experts in their field for the industry. And our teams came together to launch an already popular new newsletter, called XO.

Our people and our agency are being acknowledged by the industry for the work we’ve done in 2021 to drive success for our clients like Google, Amazon, and Salesforce, to name a few. Our President, Kim Kopetz, was named one of the 100 most Influential People in the Event Industry. Our Vice President of Technical Solutions, Todd Moritz, won Top Show Pro, and Lisa Doughty, Creative Director, won a first-ever Top Women Marketers award. To cap it off, Opus Agency landed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies, Event Marketer’s It List, and Chief Marketer’s 200 Top Marketing Agencies.

2021 was a remarkable year and we’re optimistic that 2022 will be even better!

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