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Cultural recovery: communicating to reassure your audience

Michelle Pavey

Article by Michelle Pavey

It has always been important to communicate clearly and effectively to your audience but now it has become critical for organisations to communicate far more frequently and across multiple touchpoints to build trust and confidence.

We recently undertook a survey asking event-goers across the UK their thoughts on going back to live events. It raised some unsurprising but interesting views on what and how people wanted to be communicated with. Here’s what we found…

Where do people go for information?

As expected, 79% of customers told us that they would look for information and updates on the events through the host’s website. This remained the same after lockdown, however, there was an increase in respondents stating that they would also look at the confirmation email (+10%) and social media (+6%). These statistics prove the importance of having platforms that are easy to access and well-maintained as viewers will be looking across multiple places to remain informed. A website or social media presence that is not regularly updated or is difficult to use, will not provide a smooth experience for the user and could possibly result in poor ticket sales or lower customer satisfaction.

7 The need to know

Everyone is confused and cautious right now

Most of us have forgotten basic social skills, let alone what it feels like to be at an event with lots of real-life humans. Because of this, potential attendees will require a little hand-holding for the time being and need you to reassure them from the stages of booking tickets through to actually attending the event.

In an ever-changing landscape of rules and measures, people are looking to organisers to provide as much clarity as possible on what to expect and how the venue will function. Articulating the new customer experience clearly provides them with confidence that you are a trusted provider and manages their expectations. According to our survey, showtimes, venue and seating information are the key things to know ahead of attending with health and safety seeing a 50% increase in importance to ticket holders. Proving there is a real appetite from customers in knowing how the venue will operate and the safety measures in place. Providing information on these areas is really important to get your attendees booked in and to provide them with an overall positive experience.

Don't be scared to over-share

Given the rate of cancelled shows, gigs, games and gatherings we’ve endured over the last year, ticket-holders may feel anxious about what it is like to attend but also worry about last-minute cancellations. Our survey highlighted that, previously, people would check for updates either once or a few times ahead of an event. Post lockdown they’ve indicated they’d be far more likely to check a few times, frequently or even daily in the run-up to the event.

With this in mind, it is crucial to use your platforms for repeated messaging to meet this need for current information, including being explicit about the event still going ahead. This instils confidence in you and helps to avoid your website, social platforms and box office being bombarded with the same easily answered questions. Alongside that, it gives those considering a last-minute ticket purchase a push in the right direction.

6 Over communicating

Get creative

Using different forms of media will work well in helping share your output and maximise engagement. Depending on your audience, consider using behind the scenes’ style photos and video which includes the venue, safety measures, and what to expect alongside the more traditional event promo. The focus here is regular updates with helpful/​interesting information rather than expensive and slick campaigns.

Once your event is up and running, encourage attendees to share their (hopefully positive) experiences via reviews and images/​video taken at the time. Others are far more likely to feel confident attending when they see people like them having a good time.

Michelle Pavey

Michelle Pavey is Strategy Director at Kind