Special Events Blog
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19th Annual 50 Top Event Companies

Though the COVID crisis has packed a punch, these big companies have been nimble, finding solutions to deliver events with impact.

Once again, Special Events Magazine profiles the biggest players in event development and production. The challenge this year: how to forecast the future when no one could have predicted we would be where we are right now. But these companies could not have grown to the stature they have without meeting challenges—read about their smart strategies here:

AgencyEA
Chicago
www.agencyea.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Gabrielle Martinez, Fergus Rooney
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 40
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $25 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS "The year 2020 has seen an evolution of service offerings to include more opportunities to provide virtual and hybrid events and experiences for our clients," management says. "In tandem with this shift, Agency EA is launching two new service offerings early fall of 2020. The first will focus on a high demand from clients for content development by offering studio broadcast production complete with a full-service green screen studio and webinar production services. The second will be brand consultancy focused on strategy, design and message development for new and existing clients." The team stays busy with the Target national stores meeting, Salesforce Cloud 100, Samsung NEXT, and Obama Foundation Summit.
TOP TRENDS “The global pandemic has accelerated the shift to virtual," management says. "Post-pandemic, this shift will remain a part of the experiential and live event landscape, with all future events including a virtual component. In this new 'hybrid future,' brand reach and audience size will become much broader. Marketers will create experiences that target more people than ever, capturing and holding attendee attention will be the new metric for success. Brands and their agency partners will innovate constantly and evolve experiential in this new direction at a rapid pace.”


Allied Experiential
New York
www.alliedexperiential.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Matthew Glass
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 500
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $26 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The Allied Experiential team has continued to build its partnerships with multiple divisions of Amazon, producing a large-scale event for P&G during the Super Bowl; a launch event for Lady Gaga’s beauty brand, Haus; an immersive tea party to promote Focus Features' "Downton Abbey" film; and an Amazon Alexa Smart House pop-up in New York. The team also activated events for Hulu, Audible, WeTV, Circle K, Two Lane Beer (with Luke Bryan), and HBO. On top of all that, the team increased its staff by 30 percent and has moved into a new office and warehouse space in Los Angeles to accommodate growing client programs.
TOP TRENDS "While 2020 has been challenging for the industry, Allied Experiential has successfully transitioned from in-person events to live, online events, reimaging existing tours and events and translating them to virtual experiences like live streams, microsites, and other online programs," management says.


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Ashfield Meetings and Events/Spark Thinking
Fort Washington, Pa.
www.ashfieldmeetings.com, www.spark-thinking.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Gavin Houston
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 500 to 700
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $120 million ro $150 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS "This extraordinary year has tested our clients, suppliers and teams like no other," management says. "While an unprecedented number of meetings, live events and congresses were postponed or cancelled, many clients took the decision to pivot to virtual or hybrid meetings, and our teams responded exceptionally. Impactful and effective virtual meetings have been the outcome for many clients, and we’ve inevitably seen this area of our business grow exponentially."
TOP TRENDS Look ahead to the "blend": "In a post-COVID, pre-vaccine landscape, the future will be about providing attendees with choice: those who want to attend in person, versus those who have got used to virtual alternatives and prefer their convenience," Ashfield says. "We see the industry looking to a blended approach--a combination of virtual experiences that complement or supplement live, face-to-face events." Because safety and health will be essential concerns, "Ongoing training alongside well-being support and initiatives will be paramount to success."


Balich Worldwide Shows
Milan, Italy
www.balichws.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Stefano Core
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 8 to 10
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $60 million to $70 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The global pandemic prompted Balich to reconfigure itself into four entertainment business units: institutional ceremonies, events, immersive shows and special projects, which include interactive icons such as the "Tree of Life," the icon of Expo Milan.
TOP TRENDS The Balich team believes the COVID crisis has underscored a trend already on the way: the need to amplify live events with digitization. "Now we have realized that events must be natively designed for greater digital diffusion," management says. "For this reason, we are evaluating acquisitions and partnerships with companies in this sector."


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Bellwether
Tempe, Ariz.
www.bellwethershow.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Jeffrey Dixon, Alan Edwards
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 7 to 9
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $8 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS During the first week of March, Bellwether worked to pivot the 2020 Workday sales kick-off to a virtual event in only four days’ time. "The event had originally planned to bring together 3,000-plus attendees in Orlando, Fla.," management says. "Instead, a webcast was produced from the client’s headquarters in California, with large success."
TOP TRENDS "With the shift to virtual, presentations are getting shorter, videos are becoming more engaging, and we are seeing an inclusion of videos and interstitials used for sponsorship opportunities in place of expo booths and signage," they say. "It demands a strategic mix of live-streamed presentations and pre-recorded videos being pushed out to the live audience."


Blue Danube
Seattle
www.bluedanubeproductions.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Niki McKay
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 100
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $1.5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS How things change: From 2019, when the team created a "tasteful adult fetish" party for a corporate client, 2020 has seen Blue Danube switch to virtual platforms. "We launched our own streaming platform to allow our clients an elevated, secure option for their creativity," they say. "The virtual shift has allowed for so many different concepts to be discovered and explored."
TOP TRENDS "2020 has forced us to redefine what an event looks like," leader Niki McKay says. "Moving to the virtual world has opened doors to new ideas, thoughts and innovation that, in my opinion, wouldn’t have happened otherwise. While we are still at the beginning of this journey, it’s exciting to be pioneers in forging ahead."


Broadstreet
New York
www.broadstreet.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Mark Baltazar
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 510 (10 live, 500-plus virtual meetings)
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $12.7 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS "Broadstreet became the go-to company for virtual meetings for a dozen companies across five industries," management says with pride. "While supporting flawless execution and best practices from a production standpoint, clients turned to us for our insights on creating engagement with audiences and our approach to communications in a world that changed daily."
TOP TRENDS "We won’t be the only ones to say it, but we are working hard to discover for create ways for people to come together without the distraction, fear and concern for their well-being while celebrating and communicating with friends, colleagues and customers," management says. "The second biggest trend is survival in these times. I say to people if you’re business ends the year at zero, you’re ahead of the game."


Bucom International
Chicago
www.bucom.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Darlene Krammer
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 25 to 30
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $5 million to $10 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Celebrating 33 years in business, the team strives to offer new solutions for clients.
TOP TRENDS Need to be nimble: "We have worked hard with our clients to renegotiate contracts and reschedule meetings to future dates," management says, "as well as move face-to-face meetings to virtual and hybrid solutions."


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Photo courtesy Ivan Piedra Photography

Cerbelli Creative
New York
www.cerbellicreative.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Michael Cerbelli
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 80 to 100
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $3 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The team points with pride to its "Under the Big Top" event, produced for the last 16 years for legacy client SL Green Realty Corp. "For their 28th annual Green Deal Awards 2019, we transformed Cipriani 42nd Street into a mesmerizing classic New York City circus experience," management says with pride. "Everything down to the cart umbrellas was personalized to our client’s colors—blue and yellow."
TOP TRENDS After seeing live events collapse in March, "As of today, the Cerbelli team has created over 60 virtual experiences and is expecting to go to the end of the year and into the spring," Michael Cerbelli says, "erasing the word 'pivoting' from our vocabulary and changing that to 'optimism,' creating new offerings and expecting to do over 200 virtual moments."


Corporate Magic
Richardson, Texas
www.corporatemagicinc.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Jim Kirk
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 15 to 20
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $25 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Bridgestone and Firestone were added to the roster of Corporate Magic clients, while the team continued producing events for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Mazda, and Sherwin-Williams, among others. A highlight of the past year: Corporate Magic's live broadcast production of Ellie Goulding's Thanksgiving halftime show performance at AT&T Stadium on CBS for the Dallas Cowboys.
TOP TRENDS "There is no doubt that the onset of COVID-19 caused a significant disruption in the event industry. However, with every difficulty comes new hope in the form of innovation," says chief operating officer Jeff Kirk. "We have found opportunities with new clients through our virtual events. While the return of in-person meetings continues to be our desire, virtual solutions will remain a part of our future repertoire."


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Photo courtesy Ricardo Camacho

CWT Meetings and Events
Minnetonka, Minn.
cwt-meetings-events.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Kurt Ekert
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 685
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $25 million to $30 million (Special Events estimate)
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the past year have included managing travel for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. "Even though Typhoon Hagibis struck, we ensured all attendees were safe by working in conjunction with our business travel team and demonstrated the unique value of working with CWT," management says with pride. Also, the team "planned a unique conference for a client in which we revolutionized their trade show by incorporating environmentally friendly elements, such as 100 percent recycled cardboard and charging furniture. Additionally, we used entertainment to create excitement around their event theme and destination of Nashville [Tenn.]. As one example, the welcome gala included entertainment that slowly grew from a lone fiddler onstage to finally 12 fiddlers, six dancers and a full band."
TOP TRENDS CWT is focusing on four big trends for 2020 and beyond: digitalization; responsible business practices (such as stressing sustainability, diversity and inclusion); meeting the expectations of Gen Z (by focusing on the "participant" vs. the "attendee" and using dating-style apps); and travel safety (properly managing programs to stress attendee care and client needs).


E=MC2
Calgary, Alberta
www.emc2events.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Jocelyn Flanagan
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 60
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $8 million to $10 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This year's event roster has included LGI Homes Awards, Bayer incentive trip to Spain, Oxford Properties Global Leadership event, Canadian Screen Awards, marketing campaigns for regional business associations, and nationwide scavenger hunts to promote local economies.
TOP TRENDS No secret here: hybrid and virtual events are the major trend. "We are working on very creative and interactive drive- and walk-through events for graduation and corporate holiday celebrations," they say.


Elite Productions International
Laguna Niguel, Calif.
www.eliteproductionsintl.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Lili Shadab
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 10 to 15
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $2 million to $3 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The team at Elite Productions International designed and produced an intimate birthday celebration for a local billionaire. "From captivating coastal views to a private performance by Kenny Loggins, guests were treated to truly incredible experience," they say.
TOP TRENDS "Keeping guests and client engagement during this time of technology driven trend is definitely a part of our challenge now," says CEO Lili Shadab. "We find bringing in entertainment, games and technology-driven activities is the key in keeping guests interested, involved and engaged. There needs to be much more interest incorporated into a program, and we are continuously updating our findings so that we can stay on top of the game.”


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Enterprise Events Group
San Rafael, Calif.
www.eeginc.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Richard Calcaterra, Matthew Gillam
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 80 to 100
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $40 million to $50 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS EEG changed up its plan to produce the Planful Virtual Tour in May. "This was set to be an in-person road show taking place throughout spring 2020," management explains. "But when the industry was forced to pivot to virtual events in March, EEG quickly launched this virtual tour instead to reach over 600 attendees."
TOP TRENDS "Within the new virtual landscape, EEG is at the forefront of creative innovations to engage a virtual audience," management says, with "gamification-led 'swag stores' with redeemable points for attending sessions or meeting sponsors, and a meeting 'pulse' tool to let the audience share in real time how they feel."


Entire Productions
San Francisco
entireproductions.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Natasha Miller
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 400
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights over the past year have included "numerous" virtual event and entertainment productions with "the addition of our new marketing division, which provides premium branded items and gifts--a perfect addition to our client's needs for special events, both in-person and virtual," management says. "Since pivoting to virtual events, we've been able to work with our core clients but are also being given the opportunity to work with other companies from all over the world."
TOP TRENDS "The current trends in events right now are shorter, faster-paced segments that are packed with good content and no fluff," Entire management says. "Entertainment segments to break up long virtual summits and conferences have proven to be a lifeline for people's attention. Our industry has to work even harder and smarter to gain the respect and focus of attendees of virtual events, which is leading to a wave of creative thinking that is very exciting to be a part of."


Event Lab
Minneapolis
www.eventlab.net
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Jack Noble
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 100 to 150
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $2 million to $3 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS During the pre-pandemic days, "Our team was having fun managing several large events for our customers in the medical field at Minneapolis’ largest sports venues, including Target Field and US Bank Stadium," management says.
TOP TRENDS "The trend for 2020 is virtual events and smaller gatherings where attendees can feel safe from the dangers of COVID-19," management explains. "These include decorative backdrops and comfortable lounge furniture that is large enough for social distancing."


Eventum Premo
Moscow
eventum-premo.ru
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Alexey Berlov, Alexander Shumovich
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 55
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $7 million to $9 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The Eventum team launched its own platform--Zeen--for digital and online events. "One of the projects took place in 25 countries at once, with simultaneous translation into 10 languages and studio construction for online broadcasting in Toronto, Riga, Kiev and Moscow," they note. Another project--the X Conference--showcased new products from Xiaomi Russia; here, employees, bloggers and end-users helped showcase the new products, resulting in 2 million views, with more still coming in.
TOP TRENDS The Eventum team agrees that "events will no longer be the same as before. And even when the world will recover, there will be a huge demand for hybrid events with a small ratio of offline, but online mostly." They add, "The good thing is that people feel the value of events in their lives again. Most of the events that have been postponed before will be even more awaited now."


EventWorks
Los Angeles
www.eventworks.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Ted Bowers, Alisa Walsh
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 50
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $7.5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS A highlight of the past year was an incentive staged in Dubai for 10,000 guests in eight waves for Amway China. "In the midst of the series, Dubai was hit by a record-breaking storm," management says. "EventWorks and its local team managed to change locations and reset the entire gala twice within hours. This feat required redesigning the blueprint and reprogramming all show elements, moving from outdoors to indoors and back." See more on pages 7-8.
TOP TRENDS The year "2021 will be about solutions, ensuring safety and liability issues are solved whilst creating real human connections," management says. "EventWorks has adapted all procedures to address the new conditions. Medical experts are now part of the planning and onsite team. Vendor contracts include strict safety protocols for all team members as well as flexible cancellation and postponement policies. EW has a proven track record of pioneering successful event technology, including 3-D lifelike 360º hologram projections and pre-produced immersive virtual experiences."


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Filmmaster Events
Milan
www.filmmasterevents.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Matteo Coradini, Andrea Francisi
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 45
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $44 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The event roster in the last 12 months has included the opening ceremony of the Conmebol Libertadores football cup in Lima and of the Arabian Gulf Cup in Doha, as well as the world premiere of Nikola TRE, the first zero-emission truck by CNH Industrial and Nikola Motor Co. "Among most remarkable special events in Middle East should be mentioned: Camel Festival (Saudi Arabia), Vietnamese Cultural Week (Saudi Arabia) and Government Games (UAE).
TOP TRENDS “The trend will be getting back to creating unique and spectacular events," management says. "Partnership with digital providers are important, but we firmly believe in the power of events and in the human factor. For this reason, we have chosen not to bend our creative intelligence to a single technology and to continue investing in editorial content, innovative formats and, overall, in events designed to cater emotions and recall memories. We stated this firmly in our 2020 manifesto #webelieveinhumanity.”


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FIRST Global Events Agency
New York
www.firstagency.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Maureen Ryan Fable
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 250 plus
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $20 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The year has brought a mix of live and virtual events from FIRST. Mastercard SMART was a two-day live event in Seattle, featuring a custom in-the-round stage and seating design, connecting attendees from all angles of the ballroom. The virtual upfront for Univision was streamed live to 3,200 simultaneous viewers. FIRST collaborated with local health and safety guidelines to virtually coach speakers, produce segments in broadcast studio environments, and create a powerful high-production show. The result: Univision doubled past attendance and delivered positive media in Forbes, Variety, and Adweek. The team also produced a digital series for Netflix across three days, in three different locations and three different languages.
TOP TRENDS FIRST forecasts that hybrid events will include a combination of multi-location live and virtual audiences for the same experience. "For in-person audiences, creative safe spaces will be reimagined with spatial design and hyper-focused safety planning," they say. "To connect all attendees, integrated tech will break down walls and create enhanced experiences with the goal of curating a holistic experience that connects all attendees at every level."


George P. Johnson Experience Marketing
Auburn Hills, Mich.
www.gpj.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Chris Meyer
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 1,500 to 2,500 (Special Events estimate)
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $305 million $675 million (Special Events estimate) ChECK
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS "Since March, we’ve been guiding and advising our clients as 100 percent of their events have gone online, sometimes with as little as a few weeks to execute," management says. "With a tiger team of strategists, experience designers, producers, content creators and live broadcast specialists, we’re helping our clients take advantage of the opportunities they have with all-virtual events until we can meet safely again in person. At the same time, GPJ co-founded a coalition of agency partners to put our fabrication and logistical expertise to work to fight the virus and to put our industry to work for the greater good. The LiveForLife coalition is 200-plus partners strong, with brands that are usually competitors working together to form a network of providers across the country that can build and deploy temporary structures like testing and vaccination sites, as well as provide PPE, signage and logistical structure for employees to return to work."
TOP TRENDS The good: "Brands are recognizing the power of strategic, immersive digital experiences, as well as the broadened audience that can be acquired through sharing live and captured digital content from the event," they say. The bad: "Many clients are still struggling with captivating digital experiences as well as integrating their event data insights into their other marketing channels."


Go West Creative
Nashville, Tenn.
gwcg.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE David Fischette
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 70
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $6.5 million to $8 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Ahead of the curve: "Go West has fortunately been producing virtual meetings for companies since 1999," management says. "From satellite to webcasts, we have the tools and experience. So in response to CV-19, we immediately pivoted all of our efforts towards the virtual production space, including making substantial investments in additional broadcast studios."
TOP TRENDS The Go West management team is blunt: "Virtual. Really there is nothing else. And when events come back it will be hybrid. Virtual is here to stay, and it will forever be a part of the event industry. The good news is that we are creative, and creative solutions are necessary now more than ever. Our clients need our expertise to guide them into a new world of audience engagement and communication."


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Washington fans waited 95 years for this celebration—and Hargrove made it happen in two days. Hargrove planned and executed every detail of the parade route and rally site: from timeline development and parade management to rally site infrastructure, audio visual, press management, trucking, graphics production, staffing, and security—Hargrove provided a customized, single solution. Watch how the IMPOSSIBLE became POSSIBLE: https://vimeo.com/380726626

Hargrove
Lanham, Md.
www.hargroveinc.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Tara Higgins
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 350
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $60 million to $75 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The last 12 months have been busy for this veteran event producer, including a parade in Washington to help the Nationals celebrate their World Series win, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, events for the premiere of the Netflix show "6 Underground," and the production of the SAMCOM annual sales and marketing conference for Anheuser-Busch. A highlight: the third consecutive partnership with the Democratic National Committee to produce the hybrid Democratic National Convention.
TOP TRENDS No surprises here: "Obviously, the most prevalent trend is the move from live events to those that are virtual," management says. "As the industry works toward the return of face-to-face events, be they hybrid or 100 percent live, what is critical for success is the adherence to new safety standards. Hargrove is actively working with our clients to guarantee that we all #MeetSAFE, making guidelines readily available and working to design and produce events that are safe and engaging."


iMARS Communications
Moscow
www.imars.ru/eng
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Vladimir Stupnikov
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 40 to 60
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $5 million to $7 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS iMARS Communications team has been active in international projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America for clients in various spheres: oil & gas, atomic energy, transport and logistics, tourism, consumer packaged goods and jewelry. The highlight: International PR Week 2020.
TOP TRENDS "Previously, 80 percent of offline events accounted for only 20 percent online," management says. But due to the COVID crisis, "Now total online events are 100 percent. In the aftermath of the pandemic, many updated communication methods are expected to be in demand due to a completely new people mind-set after the 'home' lifestyle."


Index
Bangkok
www.indexcreativevillage.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Kreirngkarn Kanjanapokin, Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 30
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $30 million to $36 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS With the COVID crisis hit the Thailand market hard in February, leading clients to decrease marketing and promotion budgets, Index management reports. However, a pivot to virtual and hybrid events s starting to pay off.
TOP TRENDS Event producers will have to adhere to regulations, such as social distancing, to produce in-person events. As a result, virtual and hybrid events are coming to the fore, management says.


InVision Communications
San Francisco
www.iv.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Rod Mickels
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 70 plus
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $52 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Get ready to change: Over the past 12 months, the InVision team pivoted from live to digital for the DocuSign Global sales kick-off, ServiceNow Knowledge20, Veritas Sales Leadership Summit 2020, RMS Exceedance 2020, and Atlassian Summit 2020. But live events still have been in the mix: Genentech NFM 2020, Dell FRS 2020, Sherwin Williams National Sales Meeting Midwest 2020, Amway Achievers 2019, Oracle OpenWorld 2019, Gartner Symposium 2019, Arm TechCon 2019, Microsoft Ready 2020, Siemens Converge 2019, Box BoxWorks19, and the Nutanix NEXT Conference Copenhagen 2019.
TOP TRENDS "We see innovations beyond the virtual event," InVision says. "This includes unexpected engagement tactics and additional channels for communications before, during and after the event, which we call campaigns. There will also be a complete rethink in the design and purpose of virtual events." The event industry should also focus on major social trends: "An exciting focus for all brands moving forward is diversity, equity and inclusion. We are helping clients execute on this strategy--from audience acquisition to speaker selection and calls for papers to panelists and even designing breakout sessions--to ensure equity and inclusion for all learning styles."


INVNT
New York
www.invnt.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Kristina McCoobery
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 220 plus
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $66 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The event roster over the last year has included the GMC Yukon debut, Cadillac Escalade launch, Samsung Unpacked, SAP Adaptive Strategies In a Changed World Forum, SHRM Tune in Tuesdays, and the Cadillac LYRIQ debut.
TOP TRENDS INVNT management points to four big trends at play today: the need to "reassess the story," as consumers will be looking for different values from brands in the wake of the pandemic; medium specificity ("The content needs to be tightened way, way up, multiple environments rather than one set design are a must, and cut-always to vibrant animations, bold graphics and pre-recorded bursts of content are key for ongoing audience engagement"); interactivity (“We’re all craving face-to-face interactions, and we’re seeing the most successful live virtual experiences are those that enable networking, provide attendees with curated physical kits that enhance their in-home virtual viewing experience, feature elements like live Q&As functionalities, and more"); and the rise of "phygital"--the combination of physical and digital components. "We anticipate we’ll see smaller satellite events become the norm, and they’ll be complemented by sophisticated tech solutions that allow a large majority of attendees to tune in virtually--a powerful amplification tool.”


Jack Morton Worldwide
Boston
www.jackmorton.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Josh McCall
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 1,000 to 1,250 (Special Events estimate)
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $147 million to $212 million (Special Events estimate) CHECK
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Though the COVID crisis has felled some agencies, the Jack Morton team points to plenty of wins over the last year: "In 2019, we closed several global AOR [agency of record] wins, including Jameson and Lenovo. We continued to create more brand experiences for Google than any other agency, and we were selected to create Facebook’s largest public-facing brand activation of the year at Cannes." Further, "Reebok, Charmin, L.L.Bean, Staples, Netflix, Subway, EY and more all looked to Jack to create major brand experiences for them in the last year."
TOP TRENDS The Jack Morton team takes a nuanced approach to the online event experience. "Virtual experiences might be how we connect today, but it’s short term," management says. "Brands must be ready to re-embrace physical interactions but keep digital rolling. They’ll need to re-architect their experience portfolio to mirror the slow curve back up to social closeness." Further, "In the post-pandemic world, experiences won’t look the same. And audiences will respond to them differently--prioritizing the ones they love. Those with purpose, that deliver on the promises they promote, will win."


JJ | LA
Los Angeles
www.jj-la.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Jeff Consoletti
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 40 to 60
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $5 million to $7 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This year's event roster has included OUTLOUD: Raising Voices Series for Facebook; Equality California: Golden State Equality Awards; Point Foundation’s Point U. Campus and Honors Hall; Destination Crenshaw Launch; St. John's Hospital Foundation event; and Sundance Film Festival activations for Quibi, Hulu and OUTFEST.
TOP TRENDS The JJ|LA team is working through the current crisis while planning for better days: "The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to look at meaningful ways to produce events digitally and virtually. We have worked with clients to create unique experiences that stand out and are memorable, despite guests engaging with content solely online. In the meantime, we are already working on ensuring events can return safely once the health crisis is under control."


LEO Events
Memphis, Tenn.
www.leoevents.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Cindy Brewer
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 75 to 100
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $17 million to $19 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The year 2020 kicked off with LEO producing Hilton’s All Suites Leadership Conference and Kowa’s National Sales Meeting. Taking a digital turn with the onset of COVID-19, LEO released its virtual platform with "robust" virtual and hybrid event production capabilities, they say. Additionally, the team built an in-house LEO Studio to streamline digital broadcasting and production efforts. "Since then, the team has successfully executed programs like AutoZone’s Virtual Vendor Summit and Acquia’s 'Experience Online' series, management reports.
TOP TRENDS "Purpose, partner, and platform are the leading factors influencing the event marketplace in today’s digital landscape," LEO management says. "Now more than ever, planners are gauging the value of particular events, and then designing event elements so that attendees find the connection they’re seeking. And as always, the best events are products of collaboration between trusted partners--regardless of time, place, or space."


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Linkviva
Dubai
www.linkviva.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Alexander Bendiouis
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 50 to 100
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $22 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The team points with pride to its work on the 25th anniversary celebration of the Dubai Shopping Festival. The event was launched by a showstopper grand opening under the iconic Burj Khalifa that featured A-list performances including Algerian-born superstar Cheb Khalid as well as Liam Payne from One Direction. The event, which attracted some 30,000 guests over two days, featured a interactive stage that wrapped around the entire festival park. Linkviva also delivered the Dubai Fitness Challenge, which drew more than 1.1 million people over a 30-day period.
TOP TRENDS n/a


Live Marketing
Chicago
www.livemarketing.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Anne Trompeter
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 10 to 15
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $10 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS “With events of all kinds shifting to virtual and hybrid formats, we’re helping clients audit their plans and develop a digital playbook to guide their decision-making process, planning digital engagement and communication strategies and tactics to achieve their goals,” says Anne Trompeter, executive creative strategist. “Our team has created digital event hub microsites, enhanced multi-day webinar experiences, virtual hands-on product training and more--focusing on fresh strategies to engage, educate and excite audiences wherever they meet to drive results.”
TOP TRENDS “One of the biggest challenges remains telling a compelling story so it translates to audiences no matter where they are or the delivery format,” management says. “Combining the right tech platforms, audience acquisition and engagement strategies with strategic storytelling makes the message ‘sticky’ and makes for a memorable experience that lasts long after any virtual, hybrid or face-to-face event is over.”


Next Group
Milan, Rome
www.nextgroup.eu
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Marco Jannarelli
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 30 to 50
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $15 million to $20 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the past 12 months include Ferrari Universe, the first exhibtion dedicated to the Ferrari world in its historic headquarters, with the chance for clients, dealers and enthusiasts to take guided tours; the digital launch event of Milan City Studios, a new area dedicated to events, cinema and digital production, an initiative in which Next Group is a partner; and a digital launch event, broadcast live in 15 languages from Beauvais, France, to present to international press, dealers and customers the new Massey Ferguson tractor.
TOP TRENDS "The role of the agency has changed today, and it is about guiding customers towards the use of different languages, taking advantage of all the opportunities offered by digital technologies," management says. "It is indeed the time to design and propose innovative solutions and new hybrid event formats--live and virtual--based on technology and creativity. The objectives remain the same, but the technological evolution changes their execution."


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Photo courtesy Christian R.Terry

One Smooth Stone
Chicago
onesmoothstone.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Mark Ledogar
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 40
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $15 million to $16 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the past year have included the Ace Hardware General Session, held at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. "The largest challenge faced by the team was the goal of making the 71,000-seat stadium feel 'intimate,' accomplished by designing the environment to seat retailers in the end-zone and framing the stage with three large LED screens, complemented by the venue’s massive digital displays," management says. For a global management consulting firm whose in-person event was canceled due to COVID, in only five weeks OSS developed a program that aired live for a global audience of 1,200, spanning time zones in nearly every continent. Live presentations from leadership were presented globally, complemented by regional programming and networking sessions that ranged from coffee with leadership to group Peloton rides to activities for the children of partners.
TOP TRENDS In-person events will never be the same: The future holds "the pivot to digital engagements and the need to approach all future in-person events as multi-model/hybrid experiences," management says.


OnStage Hong Kong
Hong Kong
www.onstage.com.hk
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Billy Chu
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 50 to 60
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $3.5 million to $4.5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the year have included a dinner event in Phnom Penh with Asian superstars, the installation ceremony of Rotary International District 3450 in Hong Kong, as well as plenty of online and virtual events, for from 100 to more than 20,000 attendees.
TOP TRENDS All partners in the industry must support the move to hybrid events, management says: "Apart from event agencies, it will be important that hotels, convention centers and all venues around the world have the capabilities to support them."


Opus Agency
Beaverton, Ore.
www.opusagency.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Kim Kopetz
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 120
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $60 million to $75 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This full-service event and experiential collective is "built on the power of connection and a common foundation of integrity," they say. Opus services more than 70 iconic organizations, including Amazon, BMW, Google, Microsoft, Softbank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
TOP TRENDS n/a


Pacific Event Productions/PEP Creative
San Diego
www.pacificevents.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES George Duff, Joanne Mera
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 500 to 800 (Special Events forecast)
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $6 million to $10 million (Special Events forecast)
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS A highlight for the team was a carnival-theme rehearsal dinner: "Guests from all over the country were wowed as they experienced hot air balloons, merry-go-rounds, carnival games, cheerful lounges and celebratory areas."
TOP TRENDS PEP relies on flexibility to stay afloat. "Navigating the changes that happen daily, weekly and monthly during this pandemic has proven to be the only constant," management says. "PEP’s diversity of in-house divisions has given us the ability and adaptability to provide a variety of solutions and new lines for both the virtual event world and as a manufacturer of safety items."


Party Planners West
Culver City, Calif.
www.ppwinc.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Patricia K. Ryan
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 25 plus
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $26.5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The veteran events company specializes in large-scale hospitality and logistics for the sports and entertainment industries. Clients include the NFL, MLB and Indian Wells [Calif.] Tennis Center.
TOP TRENDS n/a


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Paulette Wolf Events
Chicago
www.paulettewolfevents.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Jodi Wolf
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 35
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $3 million to $4 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS PWE had been gearing up for a packed calendar with a record-breaking first quarter till the COVID crisis brought a nearly total shutdown. "In response to the current climate and situation regarding COVID-19, we have designed a phased system for virtual experiences, but this pivot has drastically changed our numbers for 2020," they say.
TOP TRENDS Ready, set, change: "We create experiences that engage, excite and enthuse, but are also nimble and flexible, allowing for last-minute adaptations in response to the current climate and situation regarding COVID-19," management says. Their solution: "We propose celebrations that can be executed in phases as we return to the full potential of our lives, and a remote experience that isn’t your typical virtual event."


Pico Group
Hong Kong
www.pico.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Lawrence Chia
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 152 to 190
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $168 million to $210 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS A head start: Pico management notes that its early investment in digital capabilities is already paying off. "In just the first half of 2020, Pico’s deep expertise in experiential marketing and digital capabilities has been called upon by a number of international brands to deliver online or virtual events or hybrid events, including the Fifth Global Virtual Reality Conference for China Mobile’s Migu Video Technology; the Ford Ranger launch; the Huawei Developer Conference; the launch of the JD Redmi K30 5G edition smartphone; the 2021 Yonex Newest Technology and Products Trade Show; as well as various online conferences for Alibaba Cloud, Dongfeng Peugeot and Huawei," they say.
TOP TRENDS As the event industry begins to show improvement, "Hybrid events will complement virtual ones in meeting the ever-changing demand from the continuously shifting customer behaviors," management predicts.


Revolution Event Design and Production
Baltimore
www.eventrevolution.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Erin Cermak
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 100
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the past year have included the "Say Yes to the Prom" tour for TLC; Guinness St. Patrick’s Day staged at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore; and the East Coast premiere of the Netflix show “Gentefied."
TOP TRENDS "So much about what is in demand now for events has changed starting with the simple concept of how to meet safely," management says. "First, it was drive-by events, then it was drive-in events, and now it’s virtual or a mix of all of the above. What hasn’t changed is our desire and need to be creative. As event professionals, we are now tapping into our creativity more than ever, just in new ways."


Ruby J Events
London, New York
www.rubyjevents.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Joanna Greenfield, Lucie Robins
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 15
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $4 million to $5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The Ruby J team has been at work on online content such as virtual summits, "whilst continuing to plan for 2021-2022 social events," they say.
TOP TRENDS Get creative or get out of the business: "The current climate is pushing the industry to be more creative and innovative with event planning," management says.


Russell Harris Event Group
North Hollywood, Calif.
rheventgroup.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Russell Harris
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 55 to 60
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $6 million to $8 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS With a client roster that features both domestic and international clients including Disney+, Fox, LinkedIn, Google, Intel, Hyundai, Tinder, auto firms and technology companies, the RHEG team produces both live and virtual meetings, conferences, premieres, internal corporate events, product launches, hospitality events, and incentive programs.
TOP TRENDS "Building on our approach from last year in expanding the experiential event, we are taking the idea of the experience itself to a deeper depth to create dynamic virtual experiences that achieve the results that live events were producing," management says. "With the dramatic shift in the industry with the arrival of COVID-19, we’ve had to be more strategic and creative than ever before. Great virtual entertainment and intriguing content coupled with a myriad of interactive opportunities that enhance the digital experience--the opportunities are boundless. Strategic, well thought-out approaches that follow through on brand promises and audience expectations are still a must."


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Sequence
New York
www.sequence-events.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Adam Sloyer
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 35 to 45
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $4 million to $5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Notable projects over the last year have included BNP Paribas’ first-ever Virtual Global Markets Americas Conference, a fully live five-day event, along with signature virtual events for the American Red Cross, Foot Locker Foundation, Licensing International, and Black Women’s Health Imperative.
TOP TRENDS "Regardless of when in-person events finally return, virtual is here to stay," management says. "There are inherent benefits for organizations to go virtual or utilize a hybrid model, including reaching a broader audience, limiting costs, and hedging against another pandemic. Hopefully in-person is back soon, but digital has carved out an important niche moving forward."


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Silhouette Group
Los Angeles, New York
www.silhouettegroup.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVES Lori Hart, Melissa Spirito
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 16 to 26 (Special Events estimate)
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $1 million to $2 million (Special Events estimate)
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This Gala Award-winning team produces private and corporate events, galas, brand launches, and "custom elite experiences."
TOP TRENDS The good: Virtual and livestream will continue to be a strong trend in 2020. The bad: "The oversaturation of these virtual solutions without creative and innovative ways to touch the lives of our clients can have a negative impact on our marketplace," management warns.


The Firm
Los Angeles
www.thefirmeventdesign.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Samantha Sackler
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 60
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $13 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The Firm is known for its large-scale special events and red-carpet premieres and galas.
TOP TRENDS Management says that sustainability and creativity are keys to success. "As everyone in the event industry knows, you are only as good as your last event or idea. We are constantly pushing ourselves to be more creative, more innovative and more cost effective in our production for everything from designing red carpet looks to social sharing photo moment on a budget."


The Sheppard
Los Angeles
www.thesheppard.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Lauren Stephenson
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 10
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $7.7 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The team has been busy with the Taco Bell Franchisee Forum and FRANMAC Convention, Cabi Virtual Fall Scoop and Cabi Spring Scoop.
TOP TRENDS "This year it was powerful to see everyone adapt to virtual at the drop of a dime," management says. "With the move to virtual, it was both bad and good for the industry as there is such a drastic variety on how to deliver a virtual event. We have learned with the right amount of engagement, professional production and a good attitude, you can really make a virtual event just as dynamic as a live event."


Vibe Agency
Miami
www.thevibeagency.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Valerie Bihet
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 20
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $5 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS A strong first quarter saw events including an incentive trip that brought a client to Super Bowl in Miami; a sales convention for Danone; and VIP events at CES in Las Vegas. The COVID crisis didn't stop Vibe--the team created virtual team-building events for Estee Lauder and L'Oreal as well as the new virtual event series "Good VIBE USA."
TOP TRENDS Vibe management sees benefits in the wake of the COVID crisis. "As event professionals we are--or should be--always looking for new ways to showcase a client’s values or mission for their event, so this is just a new type of design. We need to redesign our industry and how we approach business, and business events, and be more inventive. There’s a huge door open for how we can execute more meaningful and engaging virtual events. This is our challenge to be creative in a different way."


Viola Events
Abu Dhabi UAE
www.viola.ae
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Ammar Hani Sharaf
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 20
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $10 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This year’s event roster has included the Innovator UAE and Abu Dhabi Science Festival 2020 for the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, Hay Festival Abu Dhabi (its first in the Middle East region), and the My Health Coach exhibition stand at Dubai Trade Center for the Department of Health Abu Dhabi.
TOP TRENDS Seeing the good side: "Events will still continue to take place in the near future as nothing can replace physical interaction," management notes, "but they will offer the option of both on-site and online, and this will reach more audiences and increase exposure."


VOK DAMS Worldwide
Wuppertal, Germany
www.vokdams.de
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Colja Dams
2020 EVENT COUNT (estimate) 350 plus
2020 REVENUE FORECAST (estimate) $190 million
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS "Beside noteworthy events worldwide for our key accounts such as BMW, L‘Oréal, SAP, Porsche and HERE Technologies, We won new exciting clients including ServiceNow, Bugatti, Vodafone and much more," management says with pride.
TOP TRENDS "Hybrid events are the format of the future, but such events should come with a new goal: offering an equally impactful experience for both live and virtual participants," management cautions. "On that base, data-driven events--live-plus marketing automation--are becoming increasingly important."

Note: All information here is supplied by the companies listed and was current at press time. The evolving COVID crisis may well affect data.

Should you be on this list next year? Send us an email: info@specialevents.com.

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