Clearly, we are in new territory here. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt all of our lives in significant ways. For SPEVCO, that means ensuring the health and safety of our people, but also being as responsive as ever to the changing needs of our clients and being ready to serve organizations or agencies responding to the current crisis. (You can read about our preparedness for medical and emergency response vehicles here.)
For this article, we’d like to focus on the businesses and marketers who have invested in specialty vehicles and experiential roadshows. With tours suspended and mobile assets sitting idle, what can you do to still engage customers and communities?
In a time when every event, from concerts to sports to dinner out with friends, have been put on hold, it’s important to see the big picture and keep each other safe. It’s also important to keep in mind that it will not always be like this (more on that thought later).
But what can you do now? Are there strategies for engaging people in other ways utilizing at least a portion of your mobile assets? Or perhaps modify your specialty vehicle to address a more pressing community need? We’ve talked with several clients recently who, even though they have suspended their roadshows, have a expressed an interest in using their vehicle assets in some way to help in their communities.
However, the current stay-at-home orders across much of the country (our statewide order went into effect this past Monday) make it challenging. Let’s be clear, we are NOT recommending staging events to attract crowds, or even small numbers of people. Instead, let’s look at some ideas for leveraging the assets you have.
Be virtual. Be engaging
Most experiential roadshows have digital components that may be shareable online. Games, virtual tours and other interactive experiences could be modified for use through online platforms. Product demonstrations and Q&A sessions with customers can be done through simple videos, video conferencing or livestreaming. The key is to use those elements to create and keep the conversation going.
Be local. Be supportive.
Consider how the roadshow might be used to help distribute resources to local communities. There’s no question that the nation’s supply chain is being tested. And as in most crisis situations, it’s local distribution that needs the most help. For instance, local school systems are using their school buses to distribute food along their routes to children facing food insecurity. Grocery stores are getting their regular shipments. But keeping up with customer orders and deliveries is becoming more and more difficult. Are there ways your vehicle could be used to ease the strain?
Be ready. Be flexible.
Oftentimes, the vehicles we make can be modified to be used to meet other needs. We’ve also created vehicles for organizations or agencies to address specific missions. One example is our collaboration with Team Rubicon and the vehicle we created to provide mobile showers and other recovery facilities to first responders during a crisis. (For a more complete picture of our expertise, you can read about our mobile medical vehicle development and operations in this PDF.) Even though we didn’t create it, the Tide “Loads of Hope” mobile laundry truck is another great example of a brand deploying in a way that is comforting in a time of crisis.
As you look for ways to help out by modifying an existing asset, you should also know that SPEVCO has several vehicles that can be upfitted or completed in a relatively short period of time. This includes a half dozen medical response vehicles that, depending on the necessary equipment, could be ready to roll in a matter of weeks, along with six other “quick turn” vehicle platforms that could be ready to go in short order.
Look ahead. Times may seem uncertain. But it is vital to think about what events might look like post-pandemic. Looking forward, consider what mobile experiences might look like when the pandemic eventually begins to wane and people start moving around and interacting again.
Big events may not be coming back anytime soon. But smaller events could be the way forward as people look for opportunities to engage. This is still, at best, months away. However, the time to look at different strategies is now. Just realize that any strategy must be flexible since the situation on the ground can and will change. For SPEVCO, this is where we are particularly adept at coming up with solutions. Our combination of specialty vehicle design, production and operation puts us in a unique position to ensure our clients will be ready to go the moment that it is safe to get out on the road again.Let’s talk. We are very interested to hear what marketers, organizational and business leaders are thinking. What are ways your mobile event assets can be used differently in this new reality? How can you still engage with customers? What will experiential events look like a year from now? Contact us to start the conversation with our experts and let’s talk about what’s next.