By Emily Gabriele, Director of Business Development & Client Solutions
It’s impressive how quickly every business has pivoted to adjust and accommodate consumers and customers alike across all facets of industries. Automakers like General Motors, Ford, and Tesla are manufacturing medical equipment; food delivery services like Postmates, GrubHub, UberEats, and Instacart are facilitating contactless delivery; and distilleries like Diageo, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Rock Town, are manufacturing hand sanitizer – every type of business is rising to the challenge of change amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus is physically spreading and also digitally spreading. It’s all-encompassing; from our news outlets to our businesses to the topic of conversation among our friends and family, there’s no escaping it. In fact, I challenge you to try and tally the amount of “Our Corporation’s Response to COVID-19” emails you’ve received to your inbox over the past 30 days. My bet is that you’ll tire of counting.
It’s an easy subject matter to talk about. It’s the low hanging fruit that has become as omnipresent as our conversations about the weather. We wake up, we check our phones, we look outside (maybe), and we immediately dive deep into consuming the progress and news updates about the coronavirus. Then maybe, just maybe, we observe the weather. The question we cannot help but pose now is when will it be appropriate to talk about something else?
We all want to be sensitive, compassionate, and empathetic now, more than ever. Is talking about something other than COVID-19 frowned upon? It’s a bit of a catch-22. Essentially every medium of communication we have access to is addressing the virus – even the art forms we may tap into as escapism. Podcasts like NPR and Business Casual are creating content about it, commercials and digital advertisements are catering to the pandemic, and our favorite brands like Bon Appétit and Vogue, are creating content relevant to being quarantined. As they should! We are seeking connectivity and a sense of support and community, especially while we’re social distancing.
We realize the importance of the virus and making efforts to connect. Also, there isn’t really much else going on in the world, this is, indeed, a global pandemic after all. Sporting events and seasons as well as music festivals and concerts have been cancelled or postponed. We can’t talk about where we went out to eat or drink because we’re not supposed to leave our respective homes. The measures that have been taken to mitigate the en masse spread of the virus in effort to flatten the curve are imperative.
Even with mass cancellations and months-long postponements, the events and service industries have pivoted their strategies, and exercised a healthy dose of creativity, in making a shift towards virtual events. Teen Vogue announced a virtual prom, The Financial Times has started a series of virtual events, Virgin EMI created a virtual music festival. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of all the changes brands have made, and are continuing to make, to paint the virtual-events landscape.
However, with many virtual events having little to no financial barrier to entry, how sustainable will they be in the long term? Will brands begin to charge a fee for virtual events? If so, when? Are virtual events here to stay for good, or will brands start planning for live events in the year 2021?
See what I did there?
I tried to discuss something other than the coronavirus. Let’s face it, even the experts across all industries are unable to predict when the pandemic will end. There are many open-ended questions we will collectively, and separately try to respond to in the immediate and distant future. Even when we no longer are mandated to social distance, what practices and life changes will remain constants in our daily lives and in the events industry?
It makes sense that all we are discussing is the coronavirus. We’re simply wondering if it will be viewed as insensitive if we try to strike up a conversation or create content about something else. How about this weather we’re having?
Emily Gabriele is the Director of Business Development & Client Solutions at Concierge.com. Emily aka “Egg” has been with the company for over six years, aiding in the ideation of the platform and was one of the first adopters of the software. When she’s not working with our existing and prospective clients, she’s busy flexing her creative muscle in music. Emily Gabriele is releasing a new single, “Monday,” on Monday, April 13, 2020. It will be available on all music platforms. Give it a listen HERE: www.egmusicnyc.com