We are in a dizzying and troubling time, to say the least, and we hope that you, your families and your colleagues are safe.
We’ve heard from clients who are wrestling with difficult decisions because live events play a such a key role in their business strategy. We don’t have all the answers and we can’t predict the future, but we wanted to share a few thoughts that might help.
If you need to cancel your live event, could you convert it to a livestream (or pre-recorded) event and still preserve its value? We actually did this recently on a last-minute basis
for a client’s business-critical event which could not be rescheduled. Virtual events can employ interactive polling, Q & A and peer-to-peer chat. To make it more tactile, a “meeting in a box” can be pre-delivered to audiences to support messaging and add an experiential element. It could be a simple fun element, like a bag of popcorn for viewing an Upfront presentation, or a series of boxes with samples from sponsors of a conference which you open during the relevant segments of the program. The savings from the live event could help fund this.
Several of our clients are looking to move their spring events to later in the year, which entails sourcing a new venue and also getting out of or modifying the current venue contract with as little friction as possible. Changes in messaging may also be necessitated by changing the timing.
Some of our clients have events on the books for later this year and are still hoping they’ll go off as scheduled, but wish to limit their financial exposure if they wind up having to cancel. There are ways to do this. Maybe a video needs to commence production at least six weeks prior to the event, but changing the creative could allow for less lead time. Vendors for signage, catering, AV, and a host of other elements may be more flexible than usual on the no-penalty cutoff date for cancellation. Your venue may be willing to renegotiate cancellation terms because they’d have a hard time replacing your event if you cancel. The point is that we’re all in this together and we all have to be more flexible than usual.
We all need to be concerned, careful and vigilant because we simply do not know where this thing is headed. At the same time, never forget that preparing for the worst should always be accompanied by hoping for the best.
We send all good wishes to our clients, employees, vendors, freelancers, and friends and we hope that this is in the rearview mirror sooner than later.