Author: Christina Doll
Live events were one of the first and hardest hit industries when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. Businesses like Blake Productions, a long-standing provider of audio-visual, lighting, and technical services in Prince George, immediately felt the impact of restrictions put on events to slow the spread of COVID-19. In early March, clients began cancelling their events. By the end of March, all of Blake Productions’ event bookings for 2020 had been cancelled.
Owner Brent Blake and his team know that when conferences, concerts, and special events are able to resume, there will be a six month to one-year lag from the time events are booked to the time they are executed. So they put their heads together and started thinking outside of the box to ensure their business remains viable while event restrictions remain in place. “We lived in disbelief for longer than we want to admit. We realized that no matter how much we just wanted to return to business as usual, we wouldn’t be able to do so for a long time. We decided that in order to save the business we built over 20 years, we had to figure out what we could do to change our services, but still stay close to working with events and what we love,” says Blake.
Blake Productions has always provided live streaming services, so they launched a brand new studio for hosting live events. The studio enables their clients to be the host of their virtual meeting or conference while Blake Productions acts as their technical host. “We’ve invested in new software and have spent time learning virtual meeting platforms and we have become experts in a virtual conference platform that provides sponsor opportunities, a virtual exhibitor hall, comprehensive agenda options, and a community board that enables attendees to interact and get to know one another,” says Blake.
One positive aspect of the current situation for Blake Productions has been the uptick in interest in custom installation services that involve modifying meeting rooms for organizations to accommodate virtual meetings. They also continue to offer the services they always have, including renting out projectors, microphones, speakers, and lighting, so they will be ready to get back to hosting live events when the time comes.
Blake’s business is not the only one drastically impacted by changes put in place to safeguard people’s health. He says, “We need to support one another and figure out how to work in new ways that feel closer to ‘normal’. After years of building relationships with our customers, we still consider ourselves partners in their events and whether they host virtual events or wait until live events resume, we hope that everyone stays safe!”
About the author: Christina worked first as a radio journalist and then a public relations specialist in her hometown of Prince George for almost a decade before transitioning into her current role of Workforce Development Officer in the Economic Development Division at the City of Prince George. She has public and private sector experience in economic development, external and internal communications, marketing, social media and website management, event planning, and research. She has a passion for storytelling and for providing support to local businesses to help them grow and thrive.