The impact of the Coronavirus outbreak is beginning to be felt on major public events worldwide, with Japan flagging the possible postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games and several F1 Grands Prix races already cancelled to avoid further spreading of the virus. But what about the effect on business? Share markets have fallen and rebounded, travel plans and supply chains have been disrupted and major trade shows have been cancelled.
How businesses globally respond to the virus, and the robustness of their risk management strategy, will significantly affect the impact on the economy longer-term.
So how should you prepare for this and similar events in the future? In these uncertain times, it’s important to plan for every contingency and ensure your risk management strategy covers all foreseeable circumstances.
In many cases, work doesn’t stop, but additional precautions may need to be taken to protect your workforce and your customers, as well as your brand.
When it comes to distance education, annual conferences and collaborating internationally, some travel may be unavoidable. But if you’re looking to reduce the risk profile of your organisation, there are some well-established options to explore to keep your essential meetings, presentations, conferences and other events in play, with some modifications.
Exploring these options can protect the plans and investments you’ve already made, maintain the engagement of employees, prospects and customers alike, and support the longer-term growth of your business — while reducing and managing any associated risks.
Conferences and Events
This could be the year to include virtual conferences and events in your communications plans instead of relying on in-person attendance. Here are a few options to consider that will allow you to stream your content live online and let it live on afterwards through on-demand hosting.
1) Offer a hybrid event
Hybrid events provide you with the best of both worlds – the ability to create content from a physical conference and offer it online. This is a great option should your venue charge any cancellation penalties. Streaming your live content online also means your delegates (physical and online) can access it once your event is over.
Tip: Always ensure your streaming partner is in contact with your AV supplier and venue – it’s important for all resources to work together to make this happen.
2) Run a Remote Webinar
When presenters and attendees are unable to make your conference, consider running a remote webinar. All content is delivered online and there is no need for travel. Presenters and facilitators can login from their home/office and appear on camera, move their slides and use interactive features through an online interface.
Tip: Ensure you have completed thorough testing prior to running remote webinars and that you work with a partner who will provide technical support both to you and your online attendees.
3) Host a Studio Broadcast
If your presenters are still able to travel, consider using a broadcast studio to host online content. Broadcast Studios offer high definition video and audio capture, green screens and the ability to choose your own seating layout. You can have presenters seated on a panel or connect them in from various locations.
Tip: Studio Broadcasts offer a ‘TV on the internet’ style and should be hosted by professional streaming producers.
Meetings and Presentations
You may be happy to maintain current travel plans in your business for internal meetings, strategy days, customer appointments and board or investor presentations. But is there a threshold at which that will change?
Consider video conferencing when it comes to your regular internal meetings, town halls, board presentations and investor hook-ups.
Modern meeting technology will ensure there are no drop-outs, you can manage your Q&As virtually, and resources and presentations can be made available online.
Tip: Make sure it’s hosted locally with adequate technical support and conferencing features so your important meetings are as engaging online as they would be in person.
Marketing and Lead Generation
Online webinars are a great way to continue holding marketing events in times of uncertainty or when you’re looking to reduce risk.
You can deliver your content online using engaging presenters and multimedia support materials and your attendees can attend virtually.
And being able to make them available on-demand afterwards potentially increases your audience.
Tip: Ensure the web-based platform you choose is feature-rich and you have sufficient tech and facilitation support so that your presenters can focus on the content.
Education and Professional Development
Many member organisations rely on remote options when it comes to offering professional development and education courses to a dispersed membership base.
If your organisation hasn’t explored this option yet, 2020 could be a good year to do so. Online studio broadcasts and video webinars provide all the resources and engagement of in-person courses at greater convenience and without the cost and risks associated with in-person attendance.
They can also provide valuable information on engagement and drop-off rates at different times during your content, enabling you to continuously improve your offering.
Tip: Select a technology provider that can provide engagement analytics as well as adequate tech support.
We live in a changing world, as the emergence of the Coronavirus has shown, but responding to those changes in a measured, prepared way that reduces risk will help all our organisations cope and prosper into the future.