By Lauren Arena

Doing good is good for business — especially during times of crisis. As destinations across APAC take preliminary steps to re-open and reboot their economies,  Jack Morton China’s Helen Mok says nurturing talent will prove critical in ensuring the swift recovery of the events industry.

With global brands like Dyson, LVMH and Gucci pivoting their business to support the global effort to combat Covid-19, Mok says the future of live events and experiential marketing will need to reflect a greater purpose.

Q. How can event agencies harness the creativity of teams during this challenging time and how is Jack Morton China doing this?

A. Communication is more important than ever while we are physically separated. With today’s technology, we’re able to effectively engage with one another without having to physically be in the same space. Software like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom have been instrumental in enabling us to share our ideas, work on proposals collectively and just be present.

In fact, our creative brainstorms through this technology have taken on a life of their own, with many of our colleagues saying the process has led to an increase in depth of thinking in order to aid effective explanation of ideas remotely.

Mental wellbeing is critical for creativity, so make sure everyone is mentally and emotionally healthy during this time. We have company-wide chat groups where we share positive and encouraging messages, sometimes fun ones to keep the morale/ spirit up. All to let the team know that we’re always here to support in any way we can.

Q. In your opinion, what does the road to recovery look like?

A. We’re starting to see recovery in certain parts of Asia, particularly in China. In China, people are advised to go back to work and we’re seeing increasingly more briefs come through. After months of lockdown, people and brands are keen to be out and ready to connect more.

Everyone will play a key role in the road to recovery, whether that’s event suppliers such as venues and caterers or agencies and brands, everyone will need to come together and support each other.

I think as human beings, we need to be specially kind and considerate to those around us. This means being flexible in payments, looking within our network to help our existing freelancers find other opportunities and sharing our best practices with the rest of the industry during this time.

Q. What are brands doing to build trust and consumer confidence?

A. Globally, we’ve seen many success stories where brands are being creative and doing good.

Based on our recent study, we found that consumers are more supportive of brands that are delivering on its brand promise. Brands like Dyson, LVMH and Gucci are great examples of how they are walking the talk by actively helping fight the virus.

Q. How will Covid-19 change the way event agencies do business in the future?  

A. Event agencies will have to ensure that they have diverse portfolios and are able to pivot quickly to offer additional solutions that aren’t solely reliant upon live events. Jack has an 80-year history and this isn’t our first crisis, so we know how to be agile and still deliver against client objectives even when live isn’t an option.

We have a diverse portfolio – from broadcast design, virtual experiences, creative and strategic content capabilities, through to our innovation practice, Genuine X. Today, we are driving innovative solutions for our clients through the use of emerging tech, content and data.

Helen Mok is SVP, general manager at Jack Morton Worldwide, China.

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