As enterprises face the impact of COVID-19, taking a professional broadcasting approach to corporate communications can make a big difference, says Robert Szabo-Rowe, Senior Vice President of Product Management, The Switch.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the business community, as organisations across the globe have seen the in-person, handshake approach to doing business replaced by internet enabled communications and meetings. Indeed, 82 percent of North American and 91 percent of UK marketers say their business customers are, sensibly, reluctant to schedule in-person meetings, according to a survey of over 2,200 by Econsultancy and Marketing Week.
The resulting shift toward remote working, ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ is likely to stretch out for months, with organisations retooling processes that would normally take place face-to-face to a distanced approach that means using digital communications and virtual meetings and announcements. The focus is now on more effective IP-based communications via AV and other means, delivered across the internet and private enterprise networks.
The reality is, in the current business climate, maintaining ‘business as usual’ is an exceptional challenge, and there is effectively no scope for live enterprise events such as press conferences, product launches, corporate announcements, investor briefings, customer seminars, all hands meetings and campaign kick-offs. But business-critical face-to-face communications cannot wait indefinitely, so now more than ever, finding effective and professional digital alternatives is essential.
It has become clear that traditional ways of doing business must be adapted to meet this new reality. The survey shows that 55% of marketers in the UK and 57% of those in North America say that their own product or service launches are delayed or under review, while a similar proportion across both markets say marketing campaigns are delayed or under review. What’s more, 55% of UK and 64% of North American marketers expect delays in product or service launches from business clients.
It is right that businesses put the welfare of their staff, customers, partners and other contacts first, but the demise of genuine facetime is taking momentum out of the market and slowing progress – in turn impacting jobs, the economy and life itself.
Astute businesses are striving to find new ways to engage, inform and serve employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and other stakeholders – with many enterprises ‘going virtual’ as a way to survive and thrive, making the internet work for them in highly effective ways. When it comes to remote and virtual events, a webinar with a basic set-up won’t have the desired impact or help organisations stand out from the crowd.
Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking are needed across the board to keep the wheels of industry turning. Companies must raise their game and produce TV-like experiences that are the next best thing to being there, using a professional studio or creating a specialized remote production environment.
Going dark and stopping all activity until the crisis passes is something no company should do at this time. It remains vitally important to maintain effective communication at every level of society, including between and within businesses. And businesses must take the position that they are not simply making the best of a bad situation but communicating more effectively than ever in order to create new opportunities. Those businesses that do so are the ones that will emerge from the current crisis as strong as, or stronger than before.
We at The Switch are working with enterprises to take their events beyond the level of talking heads in a poorly lit meeting room and enabling them to ‘broadcast’ to their audiences in a way that lifts the virtual event to a whole new level. Companies of all sizes and budgets are able to create the impact and gravitas of a top-caliber live business event in this way. Leveraging our two decades of live broadcast production experience and, in many instances, employing our studios in London, New York or Los Angeles, enterprises working with The Switch are able to communicate to markets across the world.
Running industry summits across continents using studios – as well as other remote locations – enables people oceans away to see and speak to each other in real time. Professional broadcast facilities, such as those provided by The Switch, are supported by broadcast experts and are unencumbered by the latency/delay problems other simple off-the-rack conference solutions often come with. Furthermore, they can scale to meet the needs of enterprises of all sizes and types without breaking the budget.
Making use of studios and remote production services minimises the need for travel, providing a safe environment for organisations to connect with the audiences they need to reach. Taking a professional broadcast approach to live enterprise events can make all the difference during the current COVID-19 crisis. This approach allows companies to continue to successfully launch new products, share company news, talk to their employees, and create thought leadership – in short, enterprises can more effectively bring home the messages that drive their business.