In the beginning of March 2020, we were all in shock. We watched as our entire industry, the clients we have supported for years and the audience we created events for were devastated. The COVID-19 virus has thrown plans out the door. We all spent weeks hoping the current crisis would pass. We all did our part, locked down, cancelled and postponed.
Then, it didn’t end. It became more and more obvious that we were in this for the long haul. Everyone started to look at new solutions for delivering content. We started to “pivot” to new platforms and solutions to deliver messaging and events in a new way. Budgets got slashed, and leadership told their teams to make sure that they found a way to get through it. Planners and clients scoured the internet to find the platform that could deliver their content in the most efficient and cost-effective way. We entered the era of “Good Enough”, where it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t to the level we were all used to, but it got the job done.
That age is coming to an end. Either because it will do so naturally or because we as professionals in this industry along with clients need it to end.
I cannot imagine a C-Level Executive or Director being ok with the level of production being done right now being associated with their Brand. “Good Enough” will not be good enough. They will, and need to, up the game to get their messaging out in front of the right customer, partner and audience. The same way we would have framed their brands in a live event with the high level of production value, fit and finish, we need to apply this to Virtual Events.
So, how do we do this? We need to move away form focussing on the most convenient, cost effective (nice way to say cheap) and pre-packaged solutions. I have said it often, but we need to make sure it is clear, that there is no App for this.
Planners and clients are still looking for that all encompassing platform that will do it all. It does not exist. Whether the platform can offer a meaningful networking mechanic, a seamless presentation or familiar layout or user experience that replicates a conference centre, most platforms can only do one of these things well, but not everything.
In the age of “Good Enough” clients have accepted limitations on their platforms as a trade off for getting it done, but we are moving past that and need to show that adding specific tools and features to the event to ensure that we are treating the clients brand in the elevated way it requires. In the Age of Good Enough, using the platforms alone is like waking into a ballroom, seeing a set of chairs and a pull down screen and saying, this will do. Yes, it functionally serves the needs of the event. People can attend, and see the presentation, but is it good enough to highlight the brand identity and messaging you are trying to communicate?
The main way we are going to get past “Good Enough” is to up the game. Focus on professional levels of production value, working with experts and investing in better solutions.
The demand from clients will start to shift in the next phase. Those who are responsible for building their brands, driving revenue and developing their audience will demand that their work continue, that their brands be framed in the best possible light and that they can engage audiences in compelling content. We cannot keep telling them Good enough is good enough.