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I’m With The Band: What Corporate Communications Can Learn From Musicians

Posted by Ashley Brook on June 10, 2020

Companies that have been forced to cancel large in-person conventions due to social distancing guidelines are facing major challenges reaching and connecting with their audiences. ZDNet reported in early May that the impact on conferences and gatherings was felt far more immediately than the ongoing effects on work, in general.

Corporate communications will forever be changed after this pandemic. And after months of postponing major live events and converting large conferences to webinars, we are now beginning to see the impact this has had on industries across the board.

While it will take years to determine how companies and industries will operate in a post-COVID world, the mass gathering space went quiet immediately. But that is not to say that the events and hospitality industries won’t recover when large crowds can safely gather again. Looking to the near future, the answer for most companies to continue ‘business as usual’ is to turn to video.

With mass gatherings on hold and travel curtailed for an indeterminate amount of time, the economics of the music industry have also fallen through in a matter of months. Musicians are now looking for new ways to get their work in front of their fans, and to earn income for themselves, their band and their crew members as well. The solutions they are finding are not just a display of ingenuity in a crisis, they are also full of lessons for businesses.

Corporate Events Go Virtual:

ZDNet noted that Salesforce has committed to hosting its major conferences online for at least the remainder of 2020. And they’re not alone.  Big gatherings such as Dreamforce are now taking place remotely. Facebook, too, has moved some of its events to a virtual space and has stated it will not host events with 50 or more in-person participants through at least June 2021.

O’Reilly Media has also closed its live events service permanently. The company suggested the wave of online gatherings is a sign of a “new normal.” Companies hoping to create the same kinds of connections and promotional opportunities they once had at in-person meetings will have to think of ways to thrive online in the near future.

Corporate America can look to model their new approaches from the ingenuity in the musical sphere. For example, livestreamed gatherings that team up many companies to reach online audiences can become compelling outreach opportunities. With no overhead for travel or venue use, businesses can even find new gatherings as wholly online endeavors. Organizations can also branch into sites and platforms they haven’t explored before.

By going viral with live events, businesses can tap a global network of speakers without incurring travel costs. Losing the ability to appear live and in person also means being free of the constraints of speakers’ availability for live appearances.

Working with a professional video production team will ensure keynote speeches and other in-person appearances properly represent the company brand. Embracing higher production values – multiple cameras, multiple takes, editing visual aids into a presentation and more – could help corporate presenters make convincing and persuasive product announcements, convention speeches, shareholder addresses and more. The cost of this eye-catching, high-production value is a drop in the bucket compared to the on-site price tag of a large event or conference.

Music is far from the only industry disrupted by the pandemic. Any company that uses in-person conferences and events as a major part of its outreach strategy has seen those opportunities dry up. Approximately a year’s worth of industry gatherings have been canceled or postponed, with some potentially never to return. If your organization is one of those wondering how to handle this situation, artists’ adaptations can point a possible way forward for your company in the months ahead.

Artists in quarantine: What live performance looks like now

As the pandemic has taken away musicians’ ability to play for live crowds, it has simultaneously stopped them from sharing their art with their audiences and removed their main means of supporting themselves financially. That has led to a need for solutions. Some of these have been modest in scale – broadcasting on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or another social network and potentially requesting donations for crew members or charity, for instance. Others have been larger in scale.

Vox reported, for instance, that organizations such as the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund have begun to bring multiple artists together in ventures designed to earn funds and keep touring musicians from falling into dire financial situations during the quarantine. The projects designed to benefit artists have included donation-powered livestreams and ticketed digital events. A “music festival” with tickets offered at whatever price viewers choose to pay is designed to recreate the economics of paying for a live performance experience, though the money flowing to performers likely can’t match what an actual concert would pay.

A calendar of livestreaming events by Billboard shows how numerous and ambitious these shows have become. The long-running Boston band Dropkick Murphys is set to perform in Fenway Park sans crowd – with Bruce Springsteen dropping in via remote video – the sky is clearly the limit. Billboard also noted that the types of groups using video to present their performances goes well beyond the world of popular music – even the New York Metropolitan Opera has been presenting stage show videos online.

Corporate leaders are no stranger to these livestreaming capabilities. But taking cues from these popular musicians and looking at the concept of ‘live video’ in a new light may provide some new inspiration to captivate audiences and maintain engagement. We’re not saying it’s time to pull out your acoustic guitar at your next board meeting. But rather, dive into more collaborative features that will elevate your company at a time when everyone (and we do mean everyone) is online.

Moving on: Companies must find a way to keep communication strong

With the pandemic affecting every business around the world and across industries, your organization’s strategy for outreach during the crisis may determine its competitiveness now and in the years ahead. Your investment in video production can go a long way in a world without mass gatherings, and a dose of creativity from the performing arts can empower your efforts.

And if you’re looking for video solutions to keep your communications strong during this time, look for further than Crews Control. We’re ready to talk you through our various live streaming and remote camera opportunities. For more information, click here.

About Ashley Brook

Ashley may be new to the area but is not new to the production industry. Ashley is an Emmy® award-winning micro-documentary producer, editor, and writer who has a love for stories that make a positive impact. She brings her administrative wizardry, creative eye, deep knowledge of production and odd sense of humor (which fits right in) to Crews Control. Ashley prides herself on her overt friendliness she credits to growing up in the Midwest, her amazing banana bread, and preternatural ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously. Her favorite food is guacamole, is a music, travel, and art nerd, and has a strange fascination with dinosaurs. Ashley looks forward to adding to her production knowledge bank while helping clients and crews make ideas a reality at Crews Control!

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