As the co-founder of an events company, Sinead Bailey Kelly didn't have time to panic or pause when the coronavirus crisis hit. Here she explains how they rose to the occasion and learned how to pivot their business model.
We all had high hopes for 2020. After the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent crash of the economy things were starting to look up for businesses across all sectors.
This year felt like the year we were going to make monumental changes: there was an influx of opportunities, construction underway, new international companies investing in our wee emerald isle.
Consumers were more informed and savvy than ever, and it felt like, as a collective consciousness, there was a shift being made toward a sustainable future, protecting the planet, products and services being created for the betterment of humanity and the environment.
There were rumours of a virus that was taking hold of other countries around the globe. It felt like it very rapidly surrounded us as a nation and there was no escaping. A sense of panic set in when we all heard the news on March 12th. The first was schools to be closed then the whole nation; a moving giant being told to halt and put into a deep slumber.
But for how long, and to what extent? What will be the short- and long-term implications? It is so hard to quantify such levels of uncertainty.
At H&G Creations we are in the business of bringing people together. We have built our company on creating experiential events and entertainment for consumers, corporates and the public for many years.
It's hard to make contingency plans for something of this magnitude and unexpected nature, and something we never thought in our wildest dreams would happen. The events, entertainment and experience industry was the very first to go. It has been hit the hardest and will certainly be the last industry to return.
So what to do when your industry has been crushed? When you face adversity? You diversify and adapt. You find that resilience and resourcefulness inside of you, your team members, your community, your business and your brand.
We quickly accepted that things won't be going back to normal for a very long time, possibly ever. We acknowledged our losses and moved on as soon as possible. We are so grateful to be living in a time where we have insurmountable amounts of technology at our fingertips, and we are armed with mountains of knowledge.
Pivot, don't pause
Don’t sit around and wait for things to go back to normal, because that may never happen and there will certainly be a new normal to adapt to in the meantime.
Look and listen to communities both locally and across the globe. You will eventually hear the problems that people are currently going through and you will be able to come up with solutions to help bring ease, joy, health, safety and connection to the lives of others.
This is a space where you can find new products or services and adapt your business to suit the needs of this new landscape we find ourselves in.
So how have we changed our business model?
It was always our mission as a business to create connection and emotion through experiential events. As we faced the challenges of isolation and little to no real-life interaction, we rose to the occasion to provide new levels of connection, engagement, community building and brand awareness through online experiences.
This is how we brought people together, forged new friendships, and built a community around our brand in times of isolation.
Take a look at our case study, dubbed ‘Lock Down Love’
- 1 mission to bring the community together and create an authentic connection in lockdown
- 9 weeks of isolation
- 17 community features
- 21 live streams, virtual dance parties, workshops, talks and group sessions
- 1136 guests in attendance from all over
- 28 different countries from across the globe
- 31,437 people engaged
- 1,065,120 people reached
We knew our community was in need of connection while in isolation. We listened and did everything to bring people together online. We have now used all of our feedback from these online events to build a comprehensive package of engaging virtual events that we can offer to clients.
Looking after the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of large corporate teams online, as well as creating engaging online experiences around brands.
Short term we will be rolling out our virtual spaces and events for connection, and as the phases of restrictions become lifted we will be working on new micro-events to help the community reconnect in safe spaces in real life.
Long term, we will be looking to create a part of our brand that lives online taking care of branding, graphics and website design for small businesses to start or looking to pivot.
Over the last few months we have seen 3D printing companies pivot to print PPE for hospitals; we have seen luxury fashion designers change their workshops overnight to sew PPE garments.
We have seen bars and restaurants become door-to-door cocktail delivery specialists. We have seen night club owners creating and launching their own lines of face masks and bandanas and fabrications studios build flat-packed desks for people who now have to work remotely from home.
People are more innovative than ever and it's your chance to do so too, no matter what industry you are in. Listen to the new needs of your customers and find new ways to step up to the challenge and help them.
Listen, learn, adapt, pivot, serve... you’ve got this.
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