April 1st, 2021 By Tim Wong
Most experiential agencies rely on a team of technical experts to bring experiences, especially live ones, to life. Jack Morton is one of the few agencies with an in-house technical services group that can provide solutions at a moment’s notice. They are part of the core team and bring a collective wealth of expertise to the table. Tim Wong, head of Jack’s Technical Services Group, shared some of his thoughts about how Covid-19 changed the way the team works.
It’s not news that connecting with internal and external audiences took on a whole new meaning in the last year. Operations had to continue. We had to provide continuity and connect people despite being remote and restricted from getting together in person. This required a different set of tools.
One of the very first questions that Jack’s Technical Services group was asked on it’s very first project after the initial shutdown is “what is the best platform to use?”
And like most things technical, the answer is complex. Moreover, the real answer is a question – “What is the deliverable and/or what is the goal of the interaction? Choosing the right tool requires knowing what must be delivered. Form follows function. Every platform can deliver a program, in some form. During the first few months we learned that every platform is nuanced, and no platform is perfect.
The question is always how easy or difficult is the execution of the program and does this delivery method check off enough of the deliverable requirements? The lesson is simple; form needs to follow function. Get to the bottom of what a client wants to deliver to the audience and then make the best recommendation to achieve it.
It wasn’t just the platform conundrum that sprouted due to Covid-19. The need to share more resources exploded. Both internally and externally connecting with colleagues and sharing information became a requirement.
Pre-pandemic, there were informal associations between colleagues. With the onset of remote staffing and continually changing technological tools, it became a necessity to have a network of colleagues to collaborate on projects, collaborate on solutions and needing people around to simply provide advice became an imperative.
Key to solving the issues of effective presentation and delivery are finding and maintaining the right partners. The best partners are usually the best listeners who understand the brand that they are dealing with and have the wisdom to understand what the clients really need.
The strength provided by interoffice support systems became evident. Technical Services has always supported offices in a wide network. Working
through the pandemic built new relationships and strengthened old ones. We found ourselves connected to the offices in our network in a new and different ways.
In essence, a discovery through the Covid crisis has been how and where to find partners and support. Some of the usual suspects are still around but in many cases, we are seeing new faces to compliment the status quo.
What we also learned was how everyone realized that the fastest way to find the right information was to query the most amount of people possible. We found it necessary to cast a wider net when seeking technological solutions. In many cases the connection to the right solution was a new outlet. In part because the problem and the solution were new. Things like how to broadcast from someone’s house with bad internet service or how to bring 5 people together from different parts of the globe (or at least make it appear that they are connected simultaneously).
The path of communications really evolved over the past year. Resources are found in new and different places and these are typically supported and augmented by more traditional partners and resources.
What Covid-19 has taught us is the need to be prepared for what is coming at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. It is certain that we will fall back on the skills and knowledge that we applied pre-pandemic when more in-person gatherings emerge. However, the
the new twist is that we’ll use the lessons learned to augment what we did pre-covid and it will all evolve into a new form of gathering and presenting.