How to Handle the Question of Coronavirus Cancellations

Events like Y2K, 9/11, the President’s Impeachment and especially any health risks take on a life of their own as the public gets involved/concerned AND multiple opinions are generated.

The Coronavirus – COVID-19 – is a perfect example of a supercharged issue, particularly since it deals with literal life and death issues.  Once the CDC and the media began to blast out constant bulletins and opinions, it’s almost impossible for organizations of all types to ignore it.

Organizations dependent on consumers are considering or actually cancelling events that draw tens of thousands of visitors and represent hundreds of millions of dollars –

SxSW logoSWSX–  the interactive, film, and music show cancelled its annual March extravaganza

 

 

E3 Logo E3 – The world’s largest online game event cancelled its annual event even though it wasn’t due until JUNE!

 

 

The National Football League is concerned about being perceived as “tone deaf” if they don’ t start cancelling events.

Several NFL teams have already recalled their scouts and are trying to figure out how to manage team visits without traveling or having crowds

 

What Should YOU do?

Cancelling events is as much a question of image as it is of safety.  The NFL has an existence based on fans showing up so it desperately wants to NOT cancel events, BUT the blowback from outraged fans whether they do don’t cancel will be huge.

Your choices depend on your dependence on a small number of events that are highly tied to specific times of the year.  BUT, the good news is that if you DO decide to cancel there are some ways that will allow you to turn lemons into lemonade:

  1.  “Force majeure” clause – Most contracts include one for uncontrollable events – like acts of God, terrorism or public health crises.  That means you could cancel without paying
    USE ANY “Will Attend/Have Attended Before” List(s) and WORK THEM
  2. Reconfigure all the ideas/works/pieces you invested in for the to-be-cancelled event and use them for PR, podcasts, videos, drip email, direct mail – even pay-per-click ads or???
  3. Cater to those WFH, working from home, with ideas like video-casts/interactive presentations for YOU to reach “would-have-attendeds” attended and keep them interested in you
  4. Create specific online ads that lead to one or more custom landing pages with highly focused content that reflects what attendees would have seen
  5. Get on the phone, use email and even texts to reach and build rapport by sharing the loss of the event AND sharing what they should have seen!

Finally, find ways to have interactive video with as many people as possible, even setting up an online dial-in video event.

Whether you choose to cancel – or not – be sure to reach out to every person who should have attended and let them know WHY you made your decision, with all the reasons that moved to your decision.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia –
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coronavirus_2019-nCoV.2.png