It goes without saying that our world has been turned upside down in the last few weeks. As we said here, we have never been more grateful for the support our network provides. Like many of our fellow event professionals, COVID-19 was just entering our radar at the beginning of the year. It was a small topic of discussion at our last meeting, but none of us were truly prepared for the speed and intensity at which things developed. In the last several weeks as countries all over the world have implemented measures to stop the spread and flatten the curve, we’ve watched in amazement as live communication and event professionals around the globe have rallied together to respond to the crisis.
Our 27Names agencies have been in close contact since this all began, and last week we held our first virtual meeting to check in and share positive updates and inspiration. We’d like to pay it forward and share some of the takeaways from our meeting in hope that they might be of some help to you or someone you know. Please feel free to share this post with your network!
Challenge the ordinary.* Now is the time to look into all aspects of your business: What has been working well? What can be improved? Is there something you’ve wanted to try but never felt like it was the right time? Well now IS the time! While some competitors are slowing down or sadly even shutting their doors, our partners are rising to the challenge and working hard to think outside of the box and adapt the way business is done. Try to see the current situation as an exciting challenge. The pressure to overcome the obstacles we’re facing can be motivating, and if nothing else (as one of our partners said), at least it isn’t boring. It’s time to shake things up and put the creativity you normally reserve for your clients’ events and pitches to good use for yourself! How? Some of our agencies have held internal “idea hackathons” and brainstorming sessions in order to find ways to challenge the status quo. What can you do to re-shape the way you do business? Read more about the startup mindset here.
Don’t forget to let your team know how valuable they are to your organization. Remember, it’s very inexpensive to give praise 😉 If at all possible, do not let loyal staff go- you will need a dedicated team to get you through this, and even more so once business picks up again. You can also provide opportunities for your team to strengthen their relationships with each other. One of our agencies provided a great example of what they’re doing to accomplish this, including having team members interview each other and then prepare PPT presentations about their colleagues. We love this idea! What else can you do to celebrate your team?
Like many others in the industry, most of our partners have reacted quickly to move events online. Between building their own live communication online event platforms, to turning their office spaces into green screen rooms, podcast and video recording studios, to offering mobile online event production services, our agencies have it covered. What has also impressed us is the discovery of other needs and opportunities for digital content creation other than events. As one of our partners said, “People need entertainment at the moment.” Coming up with ideas for ways clients can engage with and entertain their audience digitally during this time is going to be crucial. Keep in mind that audience does not just mean customers or clients- it can also be internal. Are there ways you can utilize digital resources to keep your clients’ team members engaged and morale high?
Relationships matter. Make use of your contacts! If you belong to an event association but haven’t been very active in the past, you can still change that now. It’s the perfect time to forge new relationships or strengthen existing bonds. You will have strength in numbers when communicating with governmental agencies to request event industry support. Band together for the common good. Do you have the capability to develop resources for spreading awareness as a public service? As event professionals in the live communication and experiential marketing industry, we truly believe that we are better together, stronger together, and that we will come out of this unprecedented situation better than ever.
Keep the dialogue going. Stay in touch with both your clients and your team to let them know that you’re online and working harder than ever. Calm their fears and be a guiding figure as to how you can overcome obstacles together. Project confidence when discussing solutions. Encourage communication about projects and events that happen every year in the second half of the year and get to work on them. Discuss the importance of looking ahead and already starting to plan for when we can get back to offline events; these discussions should also include talks with venues and vendors in order to work on ways to manage the demand that will inevitably arise once the green light has been given. Lastly, remember that effective communication is often about hearing what ISN’T said. Read between the lines and listen to what your clients or team members might not be saying but what they really need.
You’ll see examples from us soon about many of the ideas presented here, so be sure you’re following us on social media!
If you would like more information about our network of agencies or would like to learn more about the support we can offer to get through these tough times, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
*“Uncertainty is the fertile ground of creativity and freedom.”- Deepak Chopra
*“Challenge the ordinary” is a quote from one of our partners.
Image © Chris Wormhoudt via Unsplash.