How to review your event strategies in the face of coronavirus

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So many businesses depend on the value of events and face-to-face contact with others - but coronavirus has made this impossible.

Alan White, Business Development Director at The Translation People, outlines the tools available for businesses reviewing their event strategies - so that when we do meet again, we'll all be stronger than ever.

 

It started with conferences around the world being cancelled. Then came widespread travel bans, followed by governmental instructions that teams must start working from home. 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the largest shake up in traditional operations many of us have ever experienced. And for those who see international meetings and events as a day-to-day element of business, trying to achieve any kind of ‘normal’ is proving a mental, physical and logistical challenge.

Many businesses survive or thrive based on face-to-face interactions, whether to promote research and development, to fulfil a supply chain, or to meet potential new partners. Each difficult decision to cancel a meeting, event or conference has been made to protect humanity on a global scale, but the economic impact of this loss of income for international players is huge.

So, as the world faces unprecedented challenges brought about by the coronavirus, what tools and services are available for businesses that are forced to review their typical event strategies, in order to retain and strengthen the relationships on which they rely? And what are the steps they can take to ensure their business emerges from this global crisis stronger than ever, and prepared for the new business normality? 

Give conferences the go-ahead

One result of the pandemic is that we’re being forced to slow down and reflect. This is giving many business owners the chance to reconsider the essential and non-essential elements of their usual operations.

More so than ever, we’re putting people before profits, and the realisation of the benefits this brings could lead to international business being completely transformed in the future. 

Overseas travel comes with a high cost in terms of time, expenditure and impact to the environment. As we think about the ways we’ll emerge from the coronavirus haze, even those who see overseas relations as crucial to the success and growth of their business are reviewing their usual approach to face-to-face meetings, including events.

We work with businesses all over the world, and typically our team of interpreters will travel internationally to support clients with conferences which require translation.

We’d recently invested in a multilingual, remote conferencing and interpreting platform to help businesses reduce their travel time and costs and meet their sustainability targets - but in the current climate, it’s also being utilised as a solution to the restrictions on international movement.

There are other virtual conferencing tools available, but any true international business knows the pain points in trying to interpret and translate in real time.

To overcome this, our platform facilitates an unlimited number of virtual interpreting booths that are accessed remotely by organisers and participants around the world; each is allocated one of our qualified linguists who translates live, in real time, in whatever language individual users select as their preferred choice. It delivers a seamless, multi-way conference, conducted entirely online, with interpreters able to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

The platform is helping business leaders achieve some level of continuity in the wake of coronavirus, but we are also encouraging clients to think about how the technology can support them longer-term. Removing the need for travel, it can help reach sustainability targets, allow staff members to spend more time with their families, and save potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds which can be reinvested in other areas of the business. 

Make training a diary date

In the absence of face-to-face meetings which usually spark creative brains and provide an opportunity to learn from one another, providing an online training forum can be one way of bringing your team and clients together to create an event-like feel. 

The global online education market has undergone huge growth in recent years, with some statistics suggesting it could be worth $132.98 billion by 2023. Offering training and tutorials to share your knowledge and expertise at a set time, on a specific date, and in an interactive way will give your team, clients and supply chain a reason to congregate virtually, and shows you prioritise the value in human interaction - even digitally. 

For those looking to make pre-recorded videos relevant for international audiences, foreign language voiceover and subtitles will help to make the learning materials more accessible. Our own data shows that over the last five years, some of the fastest growing languages for business translations from English include Chinese, Latin American Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hebrew and Afrikaans, giving further insight into some of the markets where overseas trade and relationships are becoming more active.

Finally, making the content available for free will build an engaged online audience, who come to see you as experts in your industry, which might lead to new, revenue-generating relationships in the future. 

We will meet again 

If we take heed of governmental advice, we will all meet again. But as a way to keep teams motivated about the future, consider replacing events you might’ve been attending around the world that are now cancelled, with creative brainstorms focusing on how you plan to saturate that territory in the future. 

International marketing and sales messages benefit from a service called transcreation - a highly creative translation service, which falls somewhere between translation and foreign language copywriting. 

A transcreator analyses a company’s English language marketing campaign, then looks at the international audience a brand is trying to reach, the tone of voice they want to strike, how they want the audience to engage, and the action they want them to take. They then take the brief and create relevant content which is sensitive to cultural nuances and connotations.

You can use Zoom or Skype to set up a virtual event between your marketing team and a transcreation specialist so you can effectively achieve your desired outcomes - whether the campaign is launched now or after the global crisis.

Additionally, marketing teams can use transcreators to review their current, live campaigns to make sure that the messaging, content, tone and sentiment is not only still relevant, but is sympathetic to the situation at hand. 

Events and conferences are a multi-million-pound market and are pivotal to businesses around the world, so there will always be a need for them. Businesses across all industries are feeling the impact of the coronavirus crisis, but technology is available which replicates so many elements of these forums virtually.

Teamed with increased government support, leaders should use this time to consider how technology can shake up operations for the better once we emerge from the coronavirus haze, demonstrating true, entrepreneurial spirit to come out of the current pandemic stronger than ever.