August 4, 2020 TVG Staff

In 2020, You Need a Good, Flexible Backup Plan

One thing is certain this year — 2020 has been a year unlike any other. For many, certainty has turned to uncertainty as COVID-19 changed the business landscape in both the short- and long-term. For months, our normal communications for clients were anything but normal. Business meetings moved online. Offices became vacant as we worked from home. Masks and social distancing became an everyday thing. But, off in the distance, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A glimpse of normalcy. Amid cutbacks, furloughs, and layoffs, one company announced an expansion of hundreds of jobs and the investment of millions of dollars.

Initially, the client asked if TVG could create a hybrid press conference that would be live streamed, with some leaders in-town and others out-of-town due to travel restrictions.  TVG put together a plan with our production team to create a press conference originating from multiple locations.  We would use a mix of hard-wired internet or satellite to accomplish the hybrid press event.

However, plans tend to change and so did ours. The out-of-town leader was able to fly in for the press conference. We shifted our focus to put the CEO, and other leaders including the Governor and a congresswoman on stage for an in-person press conference, with everyone socially distanced six feet apart. The timing worked, the setup worked, and even the technology worked as we went through our final walk-through.

The next morning, we were all thrown a curveball, a crisis — a power outage at our location. Our initial location was in an auditorium with no windows. At 8:30 a.m. the day of the event, it was pitch black in the auditorium. We engaged the backup plan and TVG’s crisis communications expertise to quickly shift locations to another building on-site with plenty of natural light, one that also included a small backup generator. We brought in a satellite truck for additional backup power and additional staff.  It also gave us the ability to shift the livestream to satellite if the internet went out. Fortunately, although the lights stayed off, the internet stayed on.

In just over an hour and a half, the press conference shifted several hundred yards.  We set up a makeshift control room, positioned 3 HD cameras, chairs were placed, microphones were rewired, and our guests of honor and the media were seated.  The major announcement was made without a hitch, thanks in part to a great Plan B. The satellite truck backup was part of our production plan from the beginning. We thought we might need it if the internet wasn’t strong enough for the live event. We did not know we’d need it to cover a power outage, but a good plan is flexible, and so is a great team. The first really positive press conference in months for our region turned into a crisis, but few people watching knew.

Whether it’s a press conference, event management, crisis communications or just a sound strategy, how can TVG help you and your team?


By Andy Likes, Senior Vice President at The Vandiver Group in St. Louis, Missouri


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