Pivoting in the pandemic: How events companies can thrive

Found of Create Agency - Sam Fernandez

Auckland, New Zealand – Many industries have been forced to pivot in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic but arguably, none more so than the events industry. As we navigate unpredictable territory around social distancing, lack of close contact, and the risk of lockdown levels adjusting under our feet we are pleased to see a glass half full approach as events are postponed rather than cancelled giving NZ businesses a security blanket when planning for their event.

We saw amazing Kiwi individuals with a glass half full attitude creating amazing platforms such as Hooley creating a more collaborative approach to the events industry. This platform opens the doors for many events companies, and suppliers to team up, offer clients a wider range of services and encourage a marketing angle that has allowed events to continue. It offers offers benefits to both event professionals and businesses wanting to connect with their audience.

Hooley has inspired companies to keep pushing through the pandemic, through this collaborative approach and allowed like minded creatives to not only survive but build lasting relationships with fellow event professionals, suppliers and even new clients.



In true Kiwi fashion, the events industry continues to pick itself up, adjusting to the new normal while using innovation and creative thinking to come out on top. Auckland events company Create Agency pivoted to a more decor, installation based model during the pandemic while still staying true to their core values of being extraordinary every day.

With the majority of their clients hosting store relaunch and store openings, they were challenged to get innovative, pivot and help their clients gain traction through in-store activations and experiences, using a slightly different approach.

As most stores were still eager to celebrate their openings and relaunches Create Agency shifted the entertainment to be more focussed on decor and non contact ideas, which in result included a scavenger hunt for one of their supermarket clients, where customers could help themselves to a worksheet and answer riddles to reveal an item of food, which they then had to find in store, that food correlated with a letter which was displayed as a decal on the shop floor for kids to note down and spell out their final word! 

An incredible way to get kids excited about healthy food, and entertained while shopping.


Another example was the July 2020 school holidays, shopping malls had invested in school holiday entertainment for their visitors, as a result of being in level 2 lockdown, Create Agency were challenged to think outside the box. Rather than roaming entertainment and in-person events, they arranged take-home craft packages with instructions, templates and basic materials to be handed out following lockdown protocol. The craft packages gave the option to embellish your designs as much as you like, encouraging families to shop at the surrounding stores for the remaining craft supplies. A fantastic initiative for the business of the shopping mall and also encouraging families to spend quality time getting inspired by craft projects.


Create Agency, specialists in the event industry, and constantly innovating have managed to not just survive but thrive over the last year. During more restrictive times, balloon decor, custom photo walls and photographer packages for email retention, balloon twisting, and packaged craft activities as giveaways were at the core of their event work. And, of course, barriers, hand sanitiser, and registers all became par for the course. After all, events are designed to be in person and virtual options aren’t quite the same.

“We are entering a digital marketing world and while there is no escaping it,  we’re social creatures and we thrive on connection and freedom,” explains owner & Creative Director Samantha Fernandes. 

“Nothing beats in-person events and no matter what, I think they’ll survive, it will just take time and possibly in a new socially distanced format or creative thinking and that’s where we come in!”

With New Zealand’s flexible navigation through lockdown levels, many companies will still want the assurance of a flexible event management team that not only takes health precautions seriously but can also fulfill this with the right tools, systems and plans in place. 

Pivoting during a pandemic means staying flexible, creative and innovative above all else.


By Samantha Fernandes
February 2021

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