We have noted three main factors to analyse how COVID19 affected our company.
It starts from people. As a company, the most important element is to build a team of warriors. People who will face bravely every single challenge coming their way.
As a start-up, you sail in perpetual chaos. We concentrate our efforts on putting some order in chaos, fix any problem that we come across and, Covid-19 is just one of those.
The crisis affected our industry, and by extension our incomes, however the commitment of our team never withered. On the contrary, their commitment and motivation just got stronger. With higher levels of challenge, people’s productivity got higher. You could really feel that we are all together in this.
I really would like to thank my team for that. This is the moment you feel that you’ve got the right people on the bus and at the right seat.
Working from Home wasn’t really a change for us. We provide digital platforms, even if our platform was at that time online-to-offline we help people schedule appointments to meet physically in the event. But, if working from home did not change much, the sanitary situation definitely contributed to make us more productive in some ways. I was and still am really impressed by that level of drive.
We delivered three products in a span of two months and a half. We get more focus in understanding the real customer pain.
This gets me to the second point.
As I was saying, we thrived in the chaos that the covid-19 crisis brought. It pushed us to reinvent ourselves, to find solutions when faced with adversity and adapt to the situation. This crisis was a challenge to our ability to source, create and find new means to evaluate and to keep our two feets in the game.
We realise that we deliver our best during this chaotic time and this is because we take every challenge as an opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy, clearly not easy. In reality, if there is a crisis there are a lot of problems to fix. We have seen the real impact when a few months before we used to go to chase after customers, trying to bring them to us. Since the inception of Covid19, we have seen many of them reaching out to us searching for solutions to new problems, to get some insights or validations. Some clearly requested video meeting solutions. We were happy to hear that because we already embarked on building one that is fully integrated to our platform.
One of the customers told me “we had to cancel or postpone our events, we have no visibility but we need to keep the relationship with our customers with our exhibitors with our Partners, around our brand. How can we do this with your solutions?”
When introducing a new innovative product to a new market, the best thing that can happen to a company is to have customers with real need coming to you. This is the way to accelerate customer discovery and customer validation. This is the way to accelerate innovation.
We came across the fact that some settings like video meetings for conferences that were considered as “nice to have”, to become a “must have”. It’s not an “option” anymore to have them, it’s a “have or die” for a large majority of events now. Which is a sign of accelerating innovation.
Nevertheless, we believe that the current context is not a “normal” setting, people will go back to mass gatherings to sell or buy products, to build networks. Even when the “Normal” setting will come back, it’s now a clear value proposition to have the option to attend an exhibition fully online.
A French commercial can decide/choose that instead of spending EUR 3,000 to attend a trade show for the first time in Jakarta, let me choose to attend it online for EUR1,000. This will allow him to deeper qualify leads, build my network and be more effective when I attend the show the following edition, this time physically.
Now sellers and buyers can naturally expect these solutions from the event organizers. For Event Technologies companies, these were opportunities to take.
3. Get the value right
It’s only and always about delivering the right value to customers. It’s about delivering a solution to problems. The solution is not only technical, it’s human, most of all human. The relationship you build with the people you are working with is where you deliver the highest value and if you can deliver it with the lowest price this is where you get to your “Blue Ocean”.
The testing times make the value proposition get clearer to stakeholders. When someone comes and asks for a solution to their problems, it means that they are suffering, they have real pain and the discussion is way faster than when you have to explain to them why they need your solutions. Finding a common ground is easier.
We believe that human beings have adapted to changes as long as anybody can remember. So human beings will be adapting once more.
We have witnessed wars, starvation, and other calamities, and all those obstacles just made humanity stronger as a whole. We will adapt.
We are social beings; people need to interact with others in a physical way. So, we believe that the event industry will come back stronger. Events will be happening and people will be meeting in a more meaningful way, this an important part of our nature. Nevertheless, the option of having Hybrid events where, for financial or productivity reasons, one can stay at home and experience events in an immersive environment is now something established. We can say that it was possible thanks to the crisis.
2020 for us was anticipated as an accelerating year but in a different form. Team gets stronger commitment and the product gets better. We see value more clearly. We see more perspective. We see more hope.