I don’t need to spend too much time talking about what a challenging year we have just faced, but I wanted to provide an alternative festive message based on the things we, I, the business and the team have learnt over the last year and the trials and tribulations we have faced during this period.
Thanks to the dedication, hard work and ability of the team to adapt to new practices and techniques and the loyalty and goodwill of our audience, suppliers and clients we have managed to survive the toughest of times and look forward to trying to grow again in 2021 and this is why we wanted to share our learnings over the past 12 months even if it only inspires, provides comfort or teaches one person a new way of looking at their business and the world going forward, we will go into a new year with our smile on our face.
So what are the key things we have learnt from 2020?
- Trust, loyalty, honesty and belief in your services or products is key. After speaking to the global ad industry it soon became clear to us despite the crisis they were still keen to reward their staff and highlight to their clients the fantastic work they had created prior to the pandemic, and as a result we took the decision to continue to run all of our global award programmes around the world. Without the support and the good will we have developed over the last 15 year with our clients this would not have been possible. Now more than ever being able to highlight the benefits of a company’s service or products to clients is so important.
- Virtual events do work if you think ‘virtual’ and NOT ‘live.’ Too many event organisers have attempted to take their live offerings and just template them into the virtual space. This does not work for a number of reasons. Who has the capacity or inclination to sit and watch a day or weeks worth of content on their computer or device? How can a comedian host – great in the live space – expect to fare when they are just looking at themselves and not feeding off of the live audience? The key here is to think virtual and generate energy and interaction with the audience. We all know people love to be keyboard warriors, so using the ‘chat’ and ‘Q&A’ functions to facilitate this is a brilliant way of generating responses and gauging the crowd, while you can also go live to people in the virtual space.
- Without having to spend a fortune you can be creative and interactive and connect with your audience in lots of different ways around the global in ways not possible in the live space, but there is still, and always will be, a place for live events and it is clear once the world has a better grip on the virus a hybrid of live and virtual is going to be the way forward. Clients are open to new and exciting opportunities if you can prove ROI for their businesses and understanding the world is different and will be different going forwards.
- As a business that has always allowed its staff to work from home the shift to spending five days working from home has been both beneficial and tough in equal measure. For some there is a longing to generate ideas as a team, which is tough in the virtual space, while for others not having to commute has been great for their bank balances and their minds. Zoom and Teams meeting can also be rewarding and frustrating as connection issues aren’t always as good as they can be and it’s too easy to spend an entire day on them in meetings, while trying to maintain a team culture, when you are always in different spaces can be tough even though you can see each other on a video call. It takes away the spontaneity of idea generation, so going forwards a hybrid of meeting in the live environment and working from home could become the norm.
- There is no question that creating virtual events is twice, if not three times as hard, as those in the live space in terms of time and the variables you are continually faced with from poor connection to guests turning on their mics or videos.
- Motivating, inspiring and making small, but meaningful gestures to staff has never been more important. Working remotely and virtually every day makes this tougher, but listening, understanding and showing genuine empathy is crucial.
These are just some of the key lessons we have learnt as a business over the past 12 months and before we go we wanted to thank you for your support and understanding and wish you all a fantastic festive period and very happy New Years.
Stay safe and see you all in 2021.