Time to ‘tap into emerging tech’, advises Jack Morton MD

Mike Kunheim, managing director of Jack Morton, London reveals his game plan and enthusiasm for emerging tech in these fast-changing times.

Q: How are you staying positive?

A: We’re all experiencing a huge adjustment in the way we work.  The challenge, of course, is to feel part of a team when everyone is physically isolated.  This is something that needs continual maintenance, so high levels of communication (even over-communication) are key – at Jack, we’re having daily Teams video chats for each department and regular leadership meetings as well as all-office and all-agency meetings.

We’re also making sure we still connect socially – this past week we’ve run our Women’s History Month celebration as a virtual quiz and had a great turn-out. We’re also continually sharing ideas and tips for working from home and have structures in place to help those that need extra support. Having been through this experience already in Asia, we’re fortunate to benefit from the learnings of our colleagues in our offices in the region who have already been through the experience and are beginning to come out the other side.

Q: What is the feedback from your clients?

A: The need of many of our clients is to be able to pivot their original plans to create new ways of connecting with their audience. We have already delivered on this with a number of clients who have fed back very positively on the effectiveness of the solution and the speed with which we’ve been able to turn it around.

Mike Kunheim, MD Jack Morton London.

Mike Kunheim, MD Jack Morton London.

Q: Have you cancelled or postponed any events?

A: Of course events are being cancelled and postponed within the industry, and we are working hard with clients to create alternative solutions to connect and engage with people. This is where it gets interesting for us as there are so many opportunities to tap into emerging tech, content and data to offer limitless creativity and scale. Over the past few years we have been building on our broadcast and content heritage and actively adding eclectic and varied skills to our team to push the boundaries of brand experience, in particular into our innovation practice, Genuine X.

On a broader level, we’re living through unprecedented times – these are the toughest challenges any of us have experienced. However, the events industry has known tough times in the past and has bounced back. We’re in an industry that’s highly adaptable to change and thrives on creativity and innovation. That’s why we all come to work!

Q: If you are postponing, how long are you leaving it until holding it again?

A: Currently many events are planning towards dates in the latter part of the year.

Q: Virtual meetings are coming into their own now. What technology is Jack Morton using to hold virtual events/video conferencing?

A: There are many technology platforms available to deliver content in an engaging and informative way that is right for your audience. Think about non-traditional platforms too like private social channels, but also consider the benefits of using platforms that people are already familiar with.

Beyond the platform, what’s most important is to have a content-first approach and consider what will add value to the in-home experience for people. This is what ultimately engages your audience. And experiential elements can bring that content to life – encourage interaction and game-playing in the programming to increase that feeling of connection and fun.

Q: Did you have contingency plans for disruption – bearing in mind this is unprecedented?

As everyone knows in our industry, great adaptability is essential – change for us is a given. So any agency worth its salt has contingency planning and will be used to rolling with changes. But let’s not kid ourselves, these current changes are unprecedented – it’s going to be incredibly challenging, but we do know we have the agility and creativity to tackle it. At Jack, we have had a long-standing business continuity plan which is regularly rehearsed and I am pleased to say that has paid off and is standing up brilliantly.

 Q: What messages are you sending out to allay fears and concerns?

A: We have a task force that meets daily through this period and FAQs addressing current concerns are issued regularly.

Q: What happens in the event of a total lockdown?

We don’t yet know what measures will be in place moving forward, but we are certainly already well established in working remotely so are well placed to continue. Right now for anyone in our industry, the health and safety of our employees is the primary concern, so continuing with those structures and communications that support this will be vital.