One Industry One Voice is evolving to become a data-led communications hub for the industry. Founder Rick Stainton explains the next step

Since its formation in July 2020, cross-sector coalition One Industry One Voice (OIOV) set about bringing together the seven core events industry sectors, defined as business and consumer brand experiences, live music, exhibitions, outdoor events and festivals, weddings & private events, sports and cultural activations, government/third sector events.

Its aim is simple in principle: to promote an active coalition of events industry associations, businesses, and event professionals to ensure stronger alignment and more effective communication, to champion wider awareness, understanding and engagement of the whole events industry – internally and externally.

Now it is time for the next step: to harness the power of data and connections.

OIOV is transforming into a dynamic, forward-thinking, more structured, and appropriately financed organisation, developed in partnership with the University of Surrey whose events management faculty is rated first in Europe, to deliver a comprehensive communications hub alongside an industry research and evaluation platform.

This will enable OIOV to showcase the power of events and range of sectors, expertise and networks. Secondly, it will demonstrate the broad range of skillsets and career opportunities, alongside diversity, inclusion, and sustainability programmes.

Thirdly, it will support existing trade associations and organisations by signposting to their information, resources, and campaigns. It will also research and communicate the social and economic impact of events across the UK.

Lastly, it will apply for circa £1m funding from independent sources including the EU Horizon fund, which has been successfully granted to the University for associated projects and programmes.

OIOV’s new revolutionary digital platform will essentially be the go-to comms hub for anyone that wants to learn more about the wider industry. Rich in content and kept current, it will work in parallel with an engagement app that all event professionals will be encouraged to download to their phones once launched later in the year.

“OIOV’s new revolutionary digital platform will essentially be the go-to comms hub for anyone that wants to learn more about the wider industry.”

This comms hub will promote the variety of tools and resources available from across the whole industry, providing insights and connections that will build on existing industry content sources brought together in one place, rather than conflict with or duplicate them. It will be used to promote closer collaboration, as well as supporting trade associations by signposting to their sector specific organisations, resources, and content. It will concurrently support better engagement with wider communities and key stakeholders outside the core industry, including educating next generation talent and encouraging inbound investment from a more robust understanding of the value of events.

This multi-platform approach also allows industry-led input of data from the app users into the multiple research focus areas. These can be standalone analysis projects or supporting existing association/industry bodies’ research as a complementary resource.

Most importantly, it will be completely free to all users, independently funded, and designed as a resource for all event institutions and professionals to personalise their engagement according to their needs.

Initial work has been completed on an operational model, data capture methods, and development priorities and taskforce members and association supporters have been presented the plans resulting in very positive feedback of support, with a few questions and constructive suggestions which are essential and encouraged.

If you’re not aware of the work to date, please visit and/or follow on social media channels as the plan develops to launch in the coming months.

Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill is among the many to support the project. He said, “Following an extremely tough trading period for businesses, supply chain and workforce, the one positive take from such a devastating time is the sense of community that has galvanized people across sectors, even ardent competitors. The One Industry One Voice group has exemplified the true meaning of collaborative working and sets its stall out to collectively retain the cross industry working practices that we have so longed for, prior to this pandemic.”

Production Services Association chair Dave Keighley commented, “My view and that of the PSA, is we support OIOV in this mammoth task with the aim of creating a data hub for the whole events industry, it can only be a good thing. As the industry moves forward post Covid it is essential that we have the tools to help us grow and most importantly open up our industry to the wider world. We need to have a resource that efficiently guides new comers to the best places, be that companies, venues, associations, key individuals, etc.etc. to have access to accurate and current information about how our world works and how best to get involved. The PSA is ready to help in any way we can and we wish you all the best with your work over the coming months.”

Industry-wide support

So far it has received unprecedented support from all the main key associations, hundreds of leading businesses of all genres and sizes as well as industry leaders from across the seven main sectors. Some have rightly suggested it is “very ambitious” to unwind decades of institutionalism found in some corners, particularly those perhaps with a historic inward focus within this often disparate and fractured industry.

The status quo was ultimately exposed as the pandemic required clear, consistent, collaborative messaging from well organised industries that were most affected by the trading restrictions and associated lockdown measures. This had to start from within the industry, as to then provide the same professional and impactful messaging to key stakeholders in the outside world.

Many of the associations across the industry worked brilliantly and tirelessly representing and showcasing the impact on their own sectors, but there was no existing forum for them to align, work closer together, share plans and insights so as to further boost all their work – effectively leveraging the power of unity as other industries such as travel, or hospitality have done for years.

This was not just my view. At its inception, BVEP chair Simon Hughes and I spent months asking thousands of businesses, associations and event professionals across the core sectors for their views; 99% responded with the same opinion and agreed on the need for something to change.

There was a consistent ask for an evolved collaboration to showcase the wide spectrum of businesses and expertise within the £84bn events industry, the world leading diverse skills its 1.5mn event professionals deploy and the broad range of experiences created, alongside the key contributions to society and the economy with credible and consistently quoted data.

This core ask is exactly why the challenge and hence the ambition is so big, relevant and important for the future sustainability, reputation and understanding of the unrivalled ‘Power of Events’, for the benefit of all that work to create live experiences and the next generation looking for a career in events.

Over the last 18 months, a fast-developing informal structure of support has centred around the OIOV taskforce and action groups consisting of associations including BVEP, LIVE, AEO, AEV, ESSA, MPI, HBAA, NTIA, WhataboutWeddings, AIF, PLASA, PSA and many others. Support has also come from the core industry media publications and shows, including International Confex, The Meetings Show and IMEX, as well as many industry leaders from outdoor events, live music, corporate and experiential agencies, organisers, suppliers, and venues across the UK.

This has been operated on a purely voluntary basis with all supporters donating their time for free, working on a virtual basis with no centralised team or infrastructure – but now it needs to evolve to be fit for purpose for the future environment post pandemic and beyond.

The future is now.

This article was published in the winter 20/21 edition of Access All Areas. Read it here, and/or subscribe for free here.