Creating an International Stage...

for the Arts & Cultural Industry in the Wake of COVID-19

As the global impact of COVID-19 started to unfold on the arts and cultural industry in the first part of 2020, members of the senior leadership and communications teams at TRG Arts came together to develop a strategy for supporting arts and cultural organizations. The solution? A weekly virtual roundtable with the goal of giving adaptive counsel to the arts and cultural industry on how to manage the impact of a pandemic.

Concept

The team quickly acknowledged that for executive leaders and their senior leaders, time would be a premium given the tsunami-like force the pandemic was going to have on the arts and cultural industry. We also knew that the format had to be flexible and designed to inspire further engagement as iterative updates were necessary since we were all in uncharted territory. The team focused on two content strategies for the immediate future:

  1. Provide best practices on how to manage the short-term impact.

  2. Bring focus to an organization's business model for long-term gain.

Designing the strategy to focus on 30-minute weekly installments allowed the team and participants a forum that was responsive to the rapidly changing environment in Europe and North America. The team felt like the roundtables’ timeframe was manageable to address the expected participants’ time constraints. TRG also followed up with those who signed up but didn’t attend a recording of the conversation.

The TRG team was also eager to see if a hypothesis was correct: would the planned format increase our engagement with attendees and develop a new list of potential prospects?


Execution

The weekly execution of a 30-minute roundtable required multiple team members to lead on specific aspects and delivering on quick deadlines. We all knew that the type of outcome and quality required demanded a laser-focused vision and creative thinking on leveraging the content, the communications strategies, and partnering with TRG’s PR agency to garner appropriate coverage.

Candidly, it was a heavy lift for a team used to do quarterly hour-long webinars to shift into a rhythm of doing weekly 30-minute roundtables. The team rose to the occasion by dividing into groups that would focus on recurring content development, associated research and data analysis, and communications campaign planning and execution. A fourth team formed to facilitate follow-up conversations and questions on a LinkedIn group dedicated to the roundtables.


Results

The arts and cultural industry’s response was tremendous: attendance grew from a few hundred for the first edition to more than a thousand professionals signing up a few weeks later. All told, more than 8,000 attendees have signed up-to-date, with 2,500 of them being unique.

Net Promoter Scores for each session were solicited from each attendee to gauge whether the series met expectations. The team utilized narrative feedback from attendees to plan future roundtables. The average NPS score is 75%.

How has TRG 30 affected the pipeline growth for TRG Arts sales prospects? It has been dramatic: the sales pipeline is at the highest it has been in the last 4 years. As of the end of Q3 of 2020, TRG Arts was pacing ahead of annual lead generation by 48% (approximately 15% above its annual growth trend for sales leads).