Eubea Exclusive: Björn Wigforss (Nokia) talks about the evolution and problems of event industry nowadays
Björn Wigforss (image) started his now fourteen years in Nokia as Customer Trainer and Training Group Manager in the Networks unit. In 2003, he moved on to the area of Industry Relations. From 2005, Wigforss has worked in various Services Marcom management positions, and in August 2010, he became Nokia’s Global Events Director.
Wigforss will be part of this year’s EuBEA prestigous jury, a team of international opinion leaders and representatives of the international events
sector, who will reunite in Malta from 11th to 13th October 2013.
Why is it important to participate to the European Best Event Awards?
For several reasons – on several levels:
Most importantly, it is of utmost importance to celebrate success: We
all want to make progress to help people and organisations get more out
from the events. The Awards help to stimulate innovation and sharing of
best practices within the events industry – across the diffferent
industries in which we operate!
From an European perspective, I do see lots of merit in European Best
Event Awards – it is one of the ways to stimulate growth and engagement
across the European region, country by country, industry by industry.
On a more personal level, it is an amazing opportunity to meet and share
experiences with like-minded professionals. It is also great to witness
the wealth of innovation that happens during a year.
What is the evolution of event industry from the creative and productive point of view in your country?
I see two strong trends today, which can seem contradictory:
The first one is about the personal touch – the need to meet in person. This might be a reaction to the ever-increasing digital presence of companies and individuals. For a few years, the trend was to figure out at how organisations could move their events online. However, I see more and more signs that we are re-discovering the value of “real face time”. My prediction is that the attention and investments will shift towards hospitality and exclusive summits, often organized around bigger events such as sporting events and major trade show (which will continue to increase in importance).
The second trend is around technology. It is striking how fast technology that fits well into the area of events is developing, and how existing technologies become more and more affordable. It is also interesting to see how crucial role mobility has at events. People expect good network connections, and the usage of delegate event apps is increasing quite a bit year-on-year. It is a truly fascinating time for the events industry, where a lot of experimentation with new technologies happen right on the trade show floor – and beyond.
The trick is to keep the events personal and human, whilst deploying new engagement technologies.
Which are the current problems of the event sector?
I see three big areas:
1. It continues to be the ability to motivate investment – it always comes down to ROE/ROI. A credible model for estimating ROE/ROI is needed, and it is not a one-size-fits-all model – it needs to be tailored for each organisation and each event project
2. For the industry overall, it seems that there is a level of consolidation under way: Very few new event formats appear and remain, and the leading events maintain and even grow in importance. The reason why this is a problem is that we do need new formats and new ideas to develop further: The harder it becomes to cut through with a new idea, the fewer new ways to engage will arise
3. Within some corporations the events execution is closely linked to the brand, campaign and product marketing of the company – as well as the PR and communications activities – this is how it should be. However, in worse cases the events execution is an add-on activity, largely outsourced and fairly inconsistent in quality. The problem here is that companies need competence not only in project management of events, but also people with a thorough understanding of the business the company is in. It is only when you have both parts working together – to simplify the “right” content with “flawless” project management, that the formula can be solved.
Which are, from your point of wiew, the most used types of events in the last years?
This depends very much upon which industry you’re in. Within the converged Mobile and Internet sector, where I am operating, I see two trends: more of dedicated, company-specific events – both launches and hospitality/business summits and consolidation and concentration of the industry trade shows – the big ones are getting stronger, and the smaller ones (including new initiatives) have a harder time cutting through.