COVID-19 POV by Don Neal
Dear Clients, Partners and Friends of 360 Live Media,
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is clearly top of mind for all of us, and especially as it relates to live events and annual meetings.
Here is what we are seeing and a set of considerations for you as of this moment:
- Transparency, clear communications and messaging is critical. Consider how you let your members and event audience know what you know, and be prepared to share your considerations and actions as soon as you know them. For example, you could place a “take over banner” on your website with information you can share regarding your organization’s position on the virus and the impact on your live events.
- Recognize that your event audience can coalesce online and use social media channels in a way that can quickly turn against an event organizer as we saw with the trade show New Products Expo West, a 90,000 person event that cancelled at 8:00 p.m. the day before the doors opened for the event.
- A solid crisis communication plan is something that many not-for-profits neglect to create for their live events. It’s not too late to develop this plan now and to get your messaging articulated and ready to share.
- Postponing your event to later this year can be an alternative to cancelling if your partners are willing to work with you.
- If your event is later this year, and you are seeing event cancellations by your competitors over the coming months, consider reaching out to these organizations and offer to have them co-locate with your event or invite their audience to join your event. It can’t hurt to ask.
- Many of you have a portfolio of events that occur throughout the year. Think about all of your events in context of how you can combine and leverage other opportunities to bring different communities together and leverage potential economies of scale with events scheduled for later this year.
- Creating a virtual event that can be consumed by your audience can work for certain formats such as Hackathons and other forums where virtual interaction, problem solving, and working group communities can participate online.
- Right-sizing your event to adapt to a smaller, more intimate experience can be a good solution if you hold your event and know you will have a smaller audience.
- Create an industry partner advocacy council to develop a plan to offer value to them that leverages other non-event “assets” your organization has to offer.
- The time to start thinking about 2021 is now. Consider a “Tiger Team,” small group to begin thinking about how to plan next year’s event in the context of what may happen this year.
We all know that this situation is changing daily and there is no perfect solution.
360 Live Media will continue to share insights and perspective as we learn more.
We are all in this together as a community.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions or would like to discuss the options you’re considering.