The Coronavirus Outbreak Created An Unprecedented Upheaval For The Events Industry Globally. We, The Team At Peanut Productions, Know That We Are Not The Only Agency Affected By This Pandemic.
Senior Event Manager, Simone Starikov chats with Creative Director, Michael Mastrodimos for an insight into how COVID-19 has shaken up the events industry and what’s next for Team Peanut.
How are you doing?
That’s an interesting question. I think there is so much going on in the world that affects us all, that if I’m to be honest, I’d have to say that I’m feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful that we have Covid-19 at this stage under control here in Australia and grateful that we are part of a community that is genuinely supportive of people and business.
How did the agency first react when COVID-19?
Well, my first reaction was to find ways to maintain a ‘business as usual’ attitude. It didn’t take long though until I realised how disingenuous this was. How could anyone really be interested in conducting business as usual when all of our partners and customers were so busy trying to manage risk and continuity of business, just like we were? There was a lot of online talk around live-streaming, virtual events and how this was the way forward. After listening to it all for a bit it just started to become white noise. Instead, as a business, we started to try and better understand what we felt our partners, customers and the market-place needed. I think we’ve found something that we believe as a team can bring genuine support to others. We’re very excited and we’re in the process of launching this initiative now.
How are you moving forward with your clients?
We’ve been really lucky here. I’m quite proud to say that we don’t have clients, we have partners and within those partnerships are strong and caring relationships. As a business, as an owner and as a member of a team I feel very supported. Everything that was in planning mode has been postponed to later this year and early next year, and one very large road show has been moved to an online experience. So, amongst all the chaos and uncertainty there are some very exciting and innovative projects developing. Stay tuned..
How are you working with venues and suppliers for your clients?
What’s happening to all of us right now has really opened my mind and heart to how important we all treat each other. So many businesses are in such a precarious position at the moment. There has never been a more important time to conduct business mindfully and ethically. We’re doing all that we can to support our venues and suppliers and to actively find opportunities that can help us all.
In particular with venues, the landscape has changed so much that we’re working to find a balance in ensuring we can keep holds on dates without contracts or deposits so that our partners and customers can feel secure enough to keep scheduled events for later in the year pencilled in. If we’ve recovered and can conduct events then great, we’re ready to go – but if we can’t, we have the ability to reschedule at no cost to our partners and customers.
We’ve been able to achieve this level of flexibility due to our strong relationships with so many venues across the country. We can now pick up the phone and cut through a lot of the red tape to find solutions that are going to work for all of us.
Any exciting projects that you’re working on at the moment?
Yes, yes and yes! We’re in the process of building an entire digital community that will bring over 13,000 people together to engage and connect. It’s very exciting. We’ve got plenty of excellent content lined up from around the world that will be livestreamed and then housed indefinitely for people to enjoy over and over. The platform will incorporate fun interactivity that can bounce between the digital world to the real one. There’s going to be interviews with inspirational people with incredible stories, online and virtual games, online community projects, the list goes on! Very excited about this one!