Written by Susanne Bensdorp, Content Producer


The new year is already underway, and we can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for us! Four of our experts got together to discuss trends and developments in 2021 and share their vision.

Allow us to introduce:

Barbara Verougstraete                                                                                                                              Strategic Planner in Brussels, working at The Oval Office for six years

Patricia Vergeer                                                                                                                                          Creative in Amsterdam, working at The Oval Office for five years

Ronald Bekius                                                                                                                                                  Client Service Director in Amsterdam, working at The Oval Office for a year and a half

Line Reynaert                                                                                                                                                Client Service Director in Brussels, working at The Oval Office for five years

"A campaign must be supported by experience"

Barbara: For me, the value of experience has really come to the forefront in 2020. We have become more aware of what really counts and have learnt that an experience doesn’t always per se have to be a live moment. Despite all the restrictions, we’ve continued to experience all kinds of things. The strong distinction between live and online has disappeared and I would like to take that into 2021. We are going to show clients that experience driven is much broader than purely a live event. 

Patricia: And the term “live event” has become more unique because we value it more. A meeting with seven people was suddenly special. We were pushed to create an experience with minimal options, meaning you become more creative. Now we can only meet up with two people, can we do something with this? It’s not without reason that we are a creative communication agency and find solutions everywhere, not only in a cool, live event but also in the online world. For example, the hybrid event we organized for Great Place To Work was a huge success!

Ronald: We are now of course in an extreme situation, so these may not be the solutions you would come up with when the world is once again open. But what we had, everything always live, will never return. A shift has taken place that presents many possibilities. We have learned that small things contribute to the big picture. 

"Experience is the new branding"

Line: Exactly, it is precisely those small touchpoints, those micro moments, that you have with your target group that have become so important. In communication campaigns we create a lot of different contact moments between the brand and the target group. All these moments give the target group a certain feeling, which is why it is so important to turn those small moments into an experience with the right message. That is where you can make the difference as brand, experience is the new branding. Brands that are not concerned with experience are really falling behind because this is the future. 

Ronald: Which is why “experience driven communication” is also 2021! 

Barbara: But don't just apply experience because you have to, then it comes across as forced. You want the experience to have meaning or purpose and be impactful. You want to create a feeling that sticks around. To do so, you need to know what will appeal to the target group, what they respond to well. That is why at The Oval Office we always start based on facts and analysis, so that we can come up with well-founded advice. 

"Live and online are intertwined, you can no longer see them as separate entities"

Ronald: I do notice that for the client it sometimes feels like we are taking a few steps back. They often approach us with the question, for example, of whether we want to organise a particular event. We go right back to start, what do you actually want to achieve? From there we build a strategy, then a concept and only then the method. That can of course be that event, but this is often integrated into an entire communication campaign. 

Barbara: It is important to be much more campaign oriented.

Patricia: Yes, because something one-off is not at all as captivating as several long-term moments that will affect you. And therein look at the human problem that needs to be solved. If you keep that in mind, you will think much more broadly and you can come up with a long-term strategy in which you can create multiple creative experiences. In this way you create a long-term affinity for the target group with the brand. You must create a little crush, otherwise it will be a one-night stand, it’ll soon be forgotten and then you move on to the next. Ultimately you want to become happily ever after life partners!  

Line: What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

Ronald: That online and live truly come together in 2021. Target groups are becoming more dynamic and they demand a combination of personal contact and technology, where they want their expectations to be met. And I want to walk around at an event again, where everything around you breathes the same brand. I am really looking forward to the sound, the message, the smell, the speakers. 

"Clients call us because we’re the ones that dare to say, is this really the way to go?"

Patricia: A real trend now is to invest a lot of time and craft in making communication manifestations. Last year we created a beautiful spoken word for a client. We used the best artists, the most appropriate writers, the best composers, film, lighting, sound, everything came together. It wasn’t live, but it was a high-quality masterpiece. This is something I want to do a lot more in 2021. 

Barbara: I look forward to collaborating even more with other areas of expertise and colleagues. Last year, developments brought us closer together in creating experiences. I found that very inspiring, with all those different perspectives and approaches. I'm looking forward to it, 2021! 


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