Futureproofing your business in a post-COVID world
On this episode, we'll be looking at brands within, key industries that have a heavy focus on physical presence. Such as sports, hospitality. Travel, and entertainment. And we'll be talking, about how they are adapting, to the continuing, concerns over the coronavirus. Pandemic. And the impact of social distancing, rules as well as looking at how their industry leaders, are set to future-proof, their business, in a post-covid. World, my name is russell goldsmith and we've got a real international, flavor for this episode, uh joining me online first from washington, dc we have alia khan vice president of global, design strategies, at marriott, international. Next up is george gossel, a chief creative, officer, at axis who is based in amsterdam. And then finally here in the uk is sanjay patel managing, director, of the hundred, at the english, and wales, cricket board, and now during this podcast we'll also be hearing from james rally the head of marketing, and commercial, at the all england lawn tennis club and of course that includes the wimbledon, uh tennis championships, as well we'll also hear from charlotte williams vp for content, at cannes lions festivals. And finally john timms of mls. Contract. Whose company owns the franchise, to the sheffield, sharks basketball, team here in the uk, so we thought all three of their recent experiences, could really add to this debate, so. Lots to get through i thought maybe we could start by just very quickly going around our virtual table, and uh getting each of you to share the biggest impact that the kovid 19 pandemic, has had on your businesses. Which might help. Set the scene for the wider discussion, uh george perhaps in, in your case you can, talk about the impact on some of the clients you work with at access as well so um, alia, let's, come to you first, you know um, working for a hotel, company i think the biggest thing for us has just been getting guests, to a point where they feel, comfortable, coming out again coming and staying, you know. With this sort of literal. Unknown, and the lack of transparency. It's very, easy to want to barricade, yourself, at home. And not you know be around other people or travel, and so for us it was all about you know how do you kind of mitigate, some of that because, it's a very real concern, you know, where do you go you go to the place that you know you'll be safe and anything, outside, of that bubble. Becomes, questionable. So you know it's been hard for our business, but you know. It's a collective, industry, and everybody, is kind of banded, together, and we're starting to see the, needle move slowly. Uh so we'll get there it's a long road ahead but we will get there, that's interesting actually before i come to the to the uh to the other two here. Are you seeing a lot of collaboration, then with, you and another, hotel chain. Yes and you know i think at a sort of very. When this all started, certainly at a very high level with the senior executives. But secondarily. Subject matter specialists, you know all of us designers, are talking to each other what are you doing what's working, how is this going. Uh we're learning from each other you know i was recently, traveling, and. I ended up staying with a competitor, and it was interesting to see how they handle their cleaning protocols, so.
I Think at the end of it everyone, acknowledges. That there's no, unique. Sort of solution, for some of this. It's, how do you make the mass, of the world feel comfortable, traveling, and you know whether they stay with us or someone, else, secondary, conversation. Right now it's let's get people feeling good about what's out there so, of course you learn from each other, sure, uh, sanjay how about, yourself. Yeah so we were uh we were all set to launch, the hundreds. In july, um ironically, actually. Tonight was the opening, the opening night of the hundred. Uh which is a new, cricket tournament. Um, in england and wales. Teams. Uh, men and women. Uh and we we we effectively. When it went to lockdown, on the 23rd, of march. Uh we had a look at what our options were. We examined. All options from hosting, a tournament, behind closed doors. To. Uh hosting a shorter. Shorter length tournament. Uh and actually we were left with pretty much only one, one decision, which was. To unfortunately, postpone the 100 to 2021. So i guess the biggest impact for us is we we're, no longer. Running that tournament this year so. Quite a huge impact, a big impact, financially. For us in terms of the revenue. Clearly that we will not get in from our broadcast, the sponsorships. Our match day ticketing, revenue. And so on so for us it's a. Pretty big impact, and something that, we're hoping, you know to get into 2021. And, fingers crossed. We get some crowds back in stereo. Yeah yeah indeed, uh, george, how about yourself from, like the clients that you're working with at the moment. Yeah um, well i mean i think covet obviously has accelerated, a lot of trends that were already, beginning, to, happen, prior, to, the pandemic. The digital. The digitization. Of, you know consumers, in general. Um. Is something that has had a huge impact, especially. You know the clients that we deal with and and our particular, discipline, is in is working in the physical, world so, uh you know. For example one of our clients is mcdonald's. Um, and you know what alia said about. Safety. And, feeling secure in environments. It takes a it's a, incredibly, critical, especially in the restaurant, world.
Um. So i think covet has accelerated, this idea of contactless. Uh, physical, retail, kind of experiences. Um. The beauty world another area another category, that we work in a, lot, is also, highly affected by this, again the safety, aspect, of sampling. Products how do you, sample cosmetics, in a world where you you know have an infection, rate, um, you know. I think we can talk a little bit about what some of the specific clients have done later but. Certainly this idea of contact, less. More digital, types of experiences. It doesn't mitigate, the need for. Physical, spaces because i think consumers, still, love to shop and they they you know as a pastime, it's something that's not going to go away, but how they shop in the future, i think is definitely going to be transformed. Sure. Um. Elia. Lock down rules. Are slowly being relaxed, as as we record this although i you know appreciate there's obviously, concerns of a second peak in in some places. Um, but as, people do, start, to travel again and companies, are looking at putting on conferences. And seminars, which of course is a large part of, of your business, what are the first, phases of post, lockdown, look like for mario. I think you know um, i say this jokingly, but not i'm like. I'm so tired of seeing, places, that look like crime scenes you know the yellow and black tape. And i feel that as a, ingenious. Community, of inventors, and designers. And thought, thoughtful, people. I think there's smarter ways to do that right so now that we're in this world of, how do we get people to move through, be healthy. Be safe, but feel welcomed, you know, not there's nothing more sort of um. Frustrating, or disappointing, than seeing you know the black and yellow tape and thinking oh well they don't want me here, so it's how do you take the core of hospitality. Make people, feel welcome, step one how do you ensure their safety. Step two, and then step three and i think this is where. It's going to bring out the best in all designers. Is the ingenuity. You know how do we get back to a world of meetings. Um, we've been looking at a number of different things you know the future, of fitness what is fitness going to be as we move through this are you going to go to hotel, gym anymore. What can we bring to you in your room how does that work you know. Minibars, do you really want to be opening up a mini bar versus what if i brought you something that was curated, to your specific, needs. And i think the approach. Is the same with meetings. How do you allow people ways to gather. Uh, brainstorm. Engage. You know connect. Look at each other in the eye. But do it in a way that perhaps, is less than conventional. Um. I went to a meeting, literally my first business meeting. Two days ago and uh, it was interesting look.
Little Tables, of two scattered, throughout the ballroom, there was plenty of distance. Um, two people to a table. But there was something, incredible, about being able to look out at a room, and look at the gentleman, in the corner, as he was presenting, and look at him in the eye and it make it reminds, you. That where zoom is incredible. There's something about the face to face and being able to engage on that level. That i think we as a community, all have to focus on recapturing. Um, and that's where i think the invention, will come you know that's the that's the thought. Um, how do we sort of get back into that world where people feel comfortable, enough to do it, but do it in clever ways. But, a large part of. You know that conference, experience, is the the networking, area, outside where you've got, all the exhibition, booths and also like the lunch buffet i mean how are you going to. Get around that you know the issues around that. You know i think um, you all probably, remember. Yo sushi, right and the conveyor, belt like, when you think about it it's genius. Someone is putting food on a conveyor, belt that you are touching, and eating you're not being served it there's no, menu. There's no nothing at the end you tally up your, yellow what was a yellow, mauve, green plates, and that was your total. And i think that's the thinking we're sort of going, after you know what are the ways that you can be inventive. Still deliver, experience. Do it well. Um be a little bit memorable, but you know also make people feel safe is it like the cool little bento box you know is it. Are they wrapped and packaged, in specific, ways, and then you know you kind of take that, i. Joke about them uh you know muay chandan does the um. The champagne, vending machine. You know if i can't go up to a bartender. Maybe that's not the worst thing in the world taking, my card and swiping, and getting my little flute with my little thing, um. I think there are ways and i think what i'm loving, is the way people, are adapting. And changing. And being, accepting. Of these changes. That in a way that i don't think we were before. George um, and sanjay have you, been back into the kind of meeting environment, yet and, and if you haven't how, are you feeling about you know going to an event or a conference, george how about this stuff yeah, no not yet um, we're still not allowed to meet in in large groups, um but you know. To elijah's, point, about, this idea of you know feeling safe and being clever, and innovative. I mean we also have to remember that pandemics, have happened in the past as well so it's not like this is going to be a permanent, state of terror continuously. But it will transform, the landscape, and it will transform, behavior. And so i think that's where we're going to get the newness, and and i think the innovation. You know that elia just described. In terms of new ways of. Eating and new ways of behaving. Um i think is in, a in a lot of ways i think it's quite exciting, and it offers a lot of opportunity, it's kind of like a recalibration. Of what the experiences, have been in the past. Sanjay, yes no so our office is still closed so i haven't ventured. That far away from my my computer, screen unfortunately. But, i i, i love what ali is saying i think because, it's about, reimagining. Uh what conferencing, might look like, um and what these spaces are. And, i think you know if we had to go to a conference, next week. Would i be 100. Comfortable. Probably not, because i think that's human nature. I don't think people are 100, comfortable. Going back to completely, normal, however. Once you do it once. And if that environment, isn't intimidating. And if that environment as alias says doesn't have, big red crosses, and, yellow stickers, and so on and it's done in a way that makes people feel comfortable. And it's done in a way that's really relaxed, i think people will then get back to normal. And, like i think it's a huge opportunity, not, for for businesses, actually to to completely, re-imagine, what they offer and their, their, customer, experience. And i think if you do that, when we do get back to normal. I'd imagine those businesses, are going to be. Doing brilliantly, because they would have already thought about. How how does this work, for, the customer. And, what, what is the benefits, that i can bring to that experience. Uh so no i'm i'm ventured, out but um. I look forward to coming to one of valia's conferences. They sound good. Well, what about i mean let's. Stick with you in terms of bringing crowds back to, sporting, venues how is that going to work even, you know, with social distancing, say down to one meter. Yeah so i, think um. You know, the way that we're currently, thinking about it is. If that is our challenge. Um, next year we don't we don't see it happening this year i think the best that we can hope for this year is potentially, some, some pilots, of maybe crowds, in, stereo, which will, will give us a really good blueprint, to learn from but, if we're in this state next year the way that we're going to approach it on 100.
Is. What is our unique take on it, yeah how do we use that to our advantage, so. Sport very much relies on at the moment it's packed stadium. Great atmosphere. That's what the tv cameras want that's what the players want, however, if that's not possible. What is our version. Do we do we think about reconfigurating. The stereo. Do we think about bringing. More of a kind of cinema, feel into stereo now i don't know the art of the possible, but, these are things that, i think as a new competition. Which is, designed. For, a family audience, and designed, to be entertaining. These are the sort of things that we actually. Need to think about, and. If we do it in a way. That signals, what our brand is all about. I think long term. We could be in a great place, because, these are these are great opportunities. To send. Strong, messages, about what your brand stands for. And that's certainly how we will go about thinking about it next year. And if it's one meter we're just gonna have to make that work. But the number one thing for us is like, public safety. That's got to be our number one, and then, creativity. Reimagining. The experience. And making sure when people come they're like wow, i had a great time. I love what you just said because you know you said cinematic. And automatically. In my head, i thought back to like drive-in, movies you know we we now live in a world where we're watching all of our content, on ipads, and televisions. But what about the art of an outdoor movie you know we used to do it as kids you, sit with your family, on a picnic blanket, and you're together, but you're separate, and um. That aspect, of nostalgia. I hope. That creatives. And people as they start to solve, through all of this you know, forward-thinking. Technology, is so, valuable, and important. But there's something, about the nostalgic. Thread, that often brings things home in an interesting, way and, i think the fusion of the past and the present is a good is a compelling, way for us as a collective, to address, some of this. Yeah and so just, to build on that if that's okay but, i think there's something around this covert experience, that has has brought out that nostalgia. Where. People have been separated, for their families, for a period of time. People have been, working at home, with more time on their hands. Uh potentially, people are facing. Um, you know. Sadness, around them in terms of potential. Lives lost and so on and i think what that does is it makes people. Think really hard about what's important to them, and i think that sense of nostalgia, does come back so, again just thinking about. How do brands actually tap into that, um. I think is, an interesting, thought. We're going to hear um in a second from, um, as i said john tim's. Of the sheffield, sharks, um. But, sanjay, what about. If if you can't fill the stadiums. What about the economics, of that first you know, that's great for certain. Sporting. Um, you know. Teams at the at the top end, where they've got the sponsorship, and the tv rights but what what about you know, lower down the uh. Kind of, um the leagues and and uh. What's your thoughts on that. Yeah i mean i guess we, we sit here. In a relative, position. Of strength, because we've got strong. Broadcast. Contracts, and we've got strong sponsorship, contracts, which allow us. The investment, levels to to actually think about how you reimagine, stereo, but i can imagine for lower leagues. You know that is going to be a real challenge. And they are. Heavily reliant. On that match day income, uh and if, if we go into, you know this year's. Uh, football, rugby season or any other sport. And there's one meter, um. Restrictions, in place. Let's, let's say for example, that is 40. Hysteria. I don't think the economics, stack up. Um, and i think at that point. I think some sports are going to face, serious, financial. Crisis. And that's something that. You know a the government's, going to have to think through. And be. The sporting, bodies, that, are in charge of those sports, uh are really going to have to think through how do they get themselves, through that period. Uh if if their supporters, rely on match day income, yeah well well that's perfect, let's listen, to what john tim's had to say so as i said, um he's he his company, uh, owns the sheffield, sharks basketball, team, um so they are one of those teams that don't benefit, um from tv money they only get around a thousand to 1200, fans buying tickets for the venue, um i started by asking, how he is going to restart, for next season, and be financially, viable, if they can't get a thousand people into the venue to watch the team, it's it's going to be an interesting challenge not just for professional basketball, clubs in the bbl, but, like the sharks but for all, sports, out there they're looking at trying to, re-establish, their seasons, and get supporters, backing venues, it's you know, one of the things that's a lifeline, for most.
Professional, Sports clubs and amateur clubs as well. Um so we're really looking into it we're following all the advice. Um is that, we're definitely, monitoring. What other countries are doing and, looking for good practice. And would look to you know adopt, elements of that, our key thing is we're expecting. Um. Lower. Attendance, figures. Um, because of restrictions, on venue capacity. That might be put in place. Um, so we're preparing, for that, we're looking at platforms. Where. Um. Our games can go on more on a pay-per-view, platform, currently they're available free-to-air. Um all, games are available free to wear but that might move on to a pay-per-view, platform, to try and obviously maintain, income streams coming into clubs. And to be able to keep paying players and keep the club. Operational, and moving forward. So that's really interesting john and um. I mean what's your expectation. In terms of. Like that, what you were getting, from in terms of attendance, at the actual venue, to the percentage. You know you're expecting, to, maybe. Pay and watch. Online. Um. We're expecting, people to, um. To be some, reluctance, to attend mass gatherings. Just generally in the world, going forward, and we, and and that attending sports fixtures, obviously would be one of those elements. And so coming to a shark's basketball, game is going to be really important. That we build confidence, and it's safe to come into venues, and all those things, we are anticipating, a drop i couldn't tell you right now what i think that will be, um a lot will depend on when the seasons restart, how much confidence, is rebuilt. And also we might have to have restrictions, on our own capacity, so we. Arguably, we might have a hundred percent capacity, build because we've only got x number of seats available, in the venue from a safety perspective, so. It will be that i think supporters, will, pay to watch their teams. Um. But that'll all be about a financial, and costing, model that makes it worthwhile, for everybody to do so there's going to be more thought and process, into that.
Um But at the moment we obviously need to build on, following up on the advice and working towards. The numbers that we can get sanjay. How do you maintain. That emotional, connection with an audience in the digital world particularly. In sport where fans have that kind of real. Tribal, um. You know togetherness, so so just as an example i mean i'm a big football fan sky and bt sport have been adding, the crowd noise to their coverage now that the premier league is is back um, which has made the viewing. A little, a little more bearable, than you know when the bundesliga. First came back and the first game was so hard to watch it you know it just felt like a kind of pre-season, friendly and in in an empty stadium. How are you gonna you know what have you been doing, now and how are you gonna maintain that that connection. Well i think as you said i mean the the. The use of that crowd noise. Um. Is something that we've actually been using on on our cricket as well, uh which it does i think that helps the viewing experience. The other thing that we've been doing is is looking at um. Working with sky on different camera angles. So, generally. You see camera angles it always pans out onto the crowds and so on and actually we've taken, a lot of those camera angles out because, that's actually not. A great, shot anymore it's not a great picture, so, we, we've kind of revised, the way that we we can have luka or sky have revised, the way they. Look at shooting the game. Um, and then with the introduction, of sound and so on then, you know that hopefully helps, helps the viewing experience. And that translates. All the way into the digital world, in terms of. How we, we, we've just been, we normally just do short format, clips, and. Those are the things that we've just been, thinking about you know how do they look for the viewer so it looks. As normal. As it possibly, can. Pre-covered. With with people in stereo. And i think that's probably, the only way that you can really, try and, keep that element of tribalism, because you know as we all know sport. Is relying, on, on atmosphere. It's relying on crowds. It's relying on passion. And those are the things that you you kind of don't get when you when you don't have um. People in stereo. Elliot, how about i mean you touched on this, earlier, in terms of like trying to avoid the. Yellow and, black, tape and everything but but how about, yourself how, are you going to kind of recreate. That that experience, that welcoming, feeling when when people walk in. You know i think it's, um. So, washington, dc, interestingly, has reopened. Uh restaurants. And i gotta tell you there's something, amazing. About the buzz of conversation. And, you know even if your tables, are six or eight feet apart, just. Hearing. The aura, and the bubble around you is pretty amazing. And. You don't know that you missed it till you have it again and then you're like oh i really miss that, you know sitting and eating dinner by myself at my dining table is infinitely, less fun but. I think it's going to be, about. Capitalizing. On the energy, piece and you know sanjay as you were speaking. I love cricket avid cricket watcher and, you know a lot of it is even if you don't watch it in person what we love, when we watch cricket, is we're all texting, each other and messaging, each other and teasing, each other and, you know when you're in compressed. Um. Time frames like you know a one day match or in the case of 100, even better right because it's even more compressed. I think, we, are going to have to learn from that and sort of take, find ways to compress, the energy. So. You know when you do come into a place even if you aren't right up against someone. Can you do things with sound, can you do things with proximity. With visuals. Can you layer, people you know we've been talking, a lot about, like screens. There are screens, that say uh don't come near me, and that there are screens, that really feel sort of designed. And calibrated. So it's, this is my vip, pocket and this is your vip, pocket. George and i a few weeks ago were talking about a restaurateur. In amsterdam. Who was testing, this concept, where you know everybody, sits in a glass box. And that's your glass box for the evening and you have your meal, and they serve your dinner on a beautiful charcuterie.
Board. But i think, the point of all of that is how do you sort of deliver, individual, experiences. That are so individual, that they really, impact, you in a sensory, way close, up. But you're also, thriving, off the adjacencies. Of other people. There was something, i want to say it was, it was in new york city it was in the new york post last week about how, people were doing yoga, and individual. Uh, bubbles but the bubbles were all together, so. Your individual's, face was your own, but you're still part of a tribe, or a community. And i think. Whether it's sports, or whether it's hospitality. Or meetings, or, you know frankly even shopping. If you can be made to feel like you're part of a community. Even if you physically, technically. Aren't. Um i think there's something to be said for that you know yeah, i think also to underline what elia just said about this, aspect, of. Sensory. Right so the idea of enhancing, sensorial. Moments. And again going back to, what what i love about living here in amsterdam is that the dutch are very innovative, they really. Take every opportunity. To try something different. And um. There's, a new concert. Well, it's not a new concert hall it's actually from uh the 1700s. An 18th century building. Uh that's been turned into an event, venue, um. And there's a restaurant, in the front but the restaurant, in the front of the of the building is quite small. So it doesn't allow for, the. Distancing, that needs to take place. And since they can't have, these big events, right now they turned the main hall into a restaurant. And they set these tables, up. In the space, with all the distancing, that's required. And, uh they serve this kind of predetermined. Eight course, gourmet. Michelin star meal inside the space. With the most. Unbelievable. Audio-visual. Presentation, you can imagine, i mean, they give you literally a menu, of each, theme that the course is based around. And you sit down and the first theme was alice in wonderland. And this whole. Magical, world started taking place, and when the food arrived, it looked like candy but it was all savory, food i mean it was just.
A Spectacular. Evening. And, this is what you know, i think is what we've been talking about is that right now, what. What the circumstances. Are creating, is a tremendous, amount of creativity. And new ways of approaching, experience. So here's this event hall that has this incredible, audio visual, system, stuck into it, it's a beautiful. You know, building from the 18th century so it has all this gorgeous architecture. And instead of letting it go to waste they transform, it into, this pop-up. Restaurant, experience, it's only going to last till september. But it was really. Completely, unforgettable, i mean it was absolutely one of the most memorable meals i've had in a long time both for the quality of the food, but also this immersive. Very emotive, exciting, experience. And you felt like connected, to this whole room of people. At the same time. Feeling very safe. And that's kind of genius, also because now that you know it's september. There's going to be a lot of people like me who are going to want to sort of try it right you're going to, you're going to find a way in your head to be safe about, all of it, and get over maybe, you know certain considerations. You might have. Just to go and experience. This, um, that's really clever and, again it's some there's something about compressed, timelines, and compressed, energy. That i think makes people a little bolder, and a little bit braver, to at least try something. Um, i think i think what you just said you know, i think people are they're most creative when they have the most constraints. Absolutely and i think what's what's happening, and just like alia said is like. This is not making. If you do it right it doesn't diminish, the experience, if you do it right it actually elevates, the experience, and ordinary, people can feel very vip. Because now all of a sudden they have this personal one-on-one, attention. They have their own private space, they have things that normally you'd have to pay a lot of money for, um you know this this meal that i had. Um. With. Wine pairing, eight courses, was a hundred bucks a person, i mean it's like it was ridiculously. Inexpensive. For what you were getting, you know. Um and they were more than happy to do that because the restaurant was full of people because everyone wanted to experience, a special moment. And it would not have happened, if it wasn't for covet. You know. This is a strange analogy, but i'll make it anyway, you know, if you think back in the history of civilization. And cultures, and architecture, there was this notion. That existed, in many parts of the world of a heron. You know.
And By doing by having a harem, and having the partitions, the architectural. Partitions, that were often, beautifully, detailed. Marbles, stone, wood you name it, um, you were framing, points, of view. So what you're doing is you're not saying hey, all of you please co-mingle. And connect, and, socialize. We're going to put these deliberately. Designed. Interventions. Between, you, it's not going to stop you from socializing. It's going to make you a little bit more clever about how you do it, the way you frame the points of view becomes, super thoughtful, because you're really, thinking, about those little windows. And what you're looking through and what you're seeing, and what you're hearing. And what you're smelling, so. It's a very basic, example, but i think if you can activate, anticipation. Through design. Through thoughtfulness. Through. You know you walk into a kitchen and you smell the food before you see it and suddenly you're hungry and your mouth is watering. I think there's some basic, human, instinct. That we need to find, or trigger. To create that anticipation. So people will want to go further. That's really interesting. Um. I i mentioned earlier that i i you know i caught up with um, james rally, uh regarding the wimbledon tennis, championships, and charlotte williams about can lyon so, i, put this question to them um as well about maintaining, an emotional, connection, with the audience. Um so let's just have a quick listen to what they had to say let's start with james. Without the championships. Running it was obviously a huge, challenge, for us to to ensure that we maintained, a degree. Of relevance. And we felt that was really important, for us to do rather than just, doing nothing at all. The announcement. Was made, on terms of cancellation. In april. And, collectively, as the team, and also working with. Ibm. Our partners, across the digital, world really. We were sort of worked in a very agile, way and created the concept, of what we're calling, uh wimbledon, recreated.
And. The greatest championships. And what that entails. Is we. Felt it was really important to try and engage with our fans and ask them to participate. Within a campaign, so we've seen a huge amount, of, of people sort of creating their own their own films lots of user generated, content, around their memories. Of, of wimbledon, both from just watching, far away. But also actually attending, as well so it's been a huge collection, of those films coming through the in fact we've been overwhelmed, by the numbers that we've seen. And then just to support, that across the fortnight, itself. Um we created this concept, of the greatest, championships. And what we've done, um so collected, at our tennis boffins, if you like have selected. Um their favorite matches played on each day of the tournament so our favorite, match is. From day one day two and, and we go through the tournament. And ultimately, we choose what we see is that those greatest, matches that have ever been played. And that's been, uh live on women.com. Uh it's also been, across, all of our social media channels, and, in many ways we followed. The greatest championships, like it was a live event. So it's been a similar, kind of operation. But obviously. It's it's it's ultimately using our archive, content but what we like to think we've done is, we've used that, archive. In a slightly more sort of creative way than just just literally sort of sending it out. And. I think what's made it equally, as um. You know more more powerful really is that so we have great relationships. With our key broadcasters. Obviously the bbc. Uh in the uk, espn. In the us, being sports, around. Uh fronts in the middle east et cetera et cetera, we actually took the concepts. To to those guys as well and you would have seen that you know certainly in the uk. The bbc, has featured women in programming, both in the day and at night celebrating. You know great matches that have been played in a similar way to, how we've done that so it's been a really. Sort of joined up approach. And, you know the. We obviously haven't seen anywhere near the numbers that you would get during, a, typical woman on fortnight, but um, considering, there hasn't been a tournament, the, engagement levels have been, pretty good, that's really interesting, and anything else, specific, for social media that you've launched. Yeah so we've also got the concept, of the wimbledon, wish, and actually this. This really falls out of what we were trying to do, um, when the cancellation. Was made is be very. You know. Show real humility, at the end of the day. Whilst we were all incredibly. Sort of sad about having to cancel the championships, there were so many things happening in the world that. Were far more important, obviously. And, we wanted to, embrace that we we had lots of content that we created. Around yeah the heroes from the nhs. Uh roger federer. Voiced over a film that we did and, that went out pretty pretty soon after. Um the cancellation. And then we also, created, the wimbledon, wish. Concept where we asked people to to send in their wishes. Of what wimbledon could do, for them as fans, and. I think what that that has helped us to do. Is perhaps, break down, some of the. Um the perceptions, of wimbledon, being you know. Effectively. Slightly elitist maybe in, the sports, uh of tennis has, suffered with that a little bit. So i think it tried to show that we're a lot more. Open, and much more accessible. And. The the numbers of wishes that we've had, come through, of, outstripped, any other. Promotion, certainly that i've ever been, involved, in and yeah a lot of ticket requests, as you could imagine. But also some pretty interesting, stuff as well.
And Then, what we've also. Done as well which is another first we were planning on doing, this. Even if the championships, would have been running was to the creation of a mobile. Game it's it's got a retro, feel so it fits with, the sort of the archive, focus that we have with the with the greatest championships. It's. You'd, recognize the game it was um i think it was arkanoid. In the, in the 90s, it turned into alleyway i think in the in the 2000s. And it's it's a lovely retro, feel we put a, wimbledon, theme to it, very shareable. Not a great use of words in this, current time very viral. Um. But. Um yeah and and we've seen some you know again really these really strong numbers, and, what we've been trying to do within that as well is trying to generate, you know sign up to, to our crm. To, my wimbledon. And you know sign ups have been absolutely, really really good. And i think, what we've what we've been able to do with it this year is, prove a concept i think it's certainly something that we'll be looking at uh for next year as well so before we um we hear from charlotte, on, lions george. Thoughts on what james had to say, yeah i think james had something very interesting to say about. About, creativity. Again you know going and looking at new ways of handling. A very traditional. Um. In this case, a very aspirational. Uh event, right i mean bloomberg's. In a way is kind of like a luxury. Sport, it's a very elite, kind of, high level high brow. Moment, in the world of sports. And i think that covid. Is, accelerating. This accessibility. Aspect, so it's not only transforming. Uh behavior, but it's also transforming. What cons what consumers. Consider, aspirational. I think the world of luxury, in particular. Is being completely, shaken up by, what is happening, in terms of you know going back to what sanjay. You know mentioned about kind of a recalibration. Of what's important, in life. Um, and looking at you know what is it that you really want and what is it that's really aspirational. And and i love that you know james mentioned that um. You know this this wimbledon, wish. Uh, kind of you know, activation, that they created. Uh is creating this more accessibility. Uh to people and and that it isn't, wimbledon, isn't this far removed, difficult, thing to attend, it can be part of everybody's, lives, um, and i think that that's a really nice thing, and maybe when we talk about retail a little bit more we can talk about this kind of transformation. Of aspiration. And what it means going forward for brands. Definitely, okay well well um let's, first of all hear as i said from from charlotte so she's talking, um about the same issue, um but in relation to. The uh the marketing event can, lions. So. We, are. Trying, to be something a little bit different. Um. We realize, that people, spend, all their. Working day at the moment, on zoom calls and what we wanted to do. Was. Create. Um an, event, that did a virtual event that didn't look like a zoom fest. So some of the stuff we've produced.
With Our, um, partners, our, content, collaborators, if you like. Are, really, visually, interesting. Short films. And. Netflix, quality. Documentaries. On creativity. Being can live we've obviously got the benefit. If you like of, of working with some of the most creative, companies, in the world so we've really. Put that to use we didn't just want to have, talking heads to camera. We wanted, really. Visually, beautiful. Films that people are going to you know take time out to watch and engage, with and and that's really paid off in the results that we've seen we've seen really strong engagement. Um. People viewing, content, you know for. A. Really high amount of time. Online. In an online, environment, and people coming back to view. More video, every day because we're still publishing, new videos every day. Yeah i'm not i'm not surprised because i obviously i've had a look at some of the content and it's. It really is very well produced. But, the question i was going to ask is. You know, it's all free and and why did you make that decision to open up, the content to anyone, yeah, um, so. We made the decision. Quite quickly i mean obviously we, we. We've all lost track of time a bit i think during the quarantine, but um, we made the decision, very quickly, to, pivot to, um a digital, event. Um, and what we felt is there was a real opportunity. For, canlions. To reach, our global. Audience. Um. And allow people to experience. The festival. Um when previously, it can be quite cost prohibitive, i mean it's very expensive, to fly to cannes and be. Put up in a hotel, in cairns so what we wanted to do is use this opportunity, to really. Um, engage, like an audience who we perhaps might not engage with a younger audience. Um, a really global, audience we have people sign up from 140. Countries. From around the world. And, that that, for us has been brilliant, obviously we've been able to capture their data. Um. But we haven't charged them a penny and i think it's it's, showing them what the lions, brand is, is about perhaps changing, some perceptions. As to what canlines, is about. Um. And also, getting them to. You know to experience, our products, really. Because it's been very positive, for us, so. So george, and uh, and your thoughts on what charlotte had to say that. Um yeah i think again it comes back to accessibility. Um you know the conline, event is a very exclusive, event again and here, you know it's this, kind of democracy. Democratization. Of. Um, these aspirational. Events, and moments. Um, and i think covet has really accelerated. That was a trend anyways, that was happening, within this kind of world like, we'll call it luxury. Um. And, now it's accelerated, even further. And i think the wonderful, thing, uh is that it's opening up entirely, new markets, maybe that they couldn't abnormally, have reached. Um, and i think for these events. Um. They're, creating, awareness. Among, people who would normally not even be aware, of what khan lion is um you know or, even wimbledon for that matter i mean young people nowadays, don't even. Don't have those kinds of context. Anymore, so, um, you know, i think that, covet has helped. Reach, a much broader, audience. Because. Of, the the digital, platforms. Um. And i think in turn. Those events, that would normally, not. Reach those people have been able to expand their their audience for the future, yeah i think you've picked up on on a really good link actually between those those two uh those two clips, um, i want to change the uh the subject, very slightly we've seen on the news you know through things like the protest marches, and and here in the uk, you know just a few weeks ago we had sudden, hot weather and thousands, of people headed down to the south coast and you know there was we've now got the reopening, of the pubs and, there was, videos being, shared from london and what you know chaos that that looked like on certain, streets you know.
In Certain cases, you know little concern for social distancing. Um public safety. Huge. Environmental, impact caused by the mess left behind, on some of these places. Um. The question i want to ask, you you know as as the ones organizing. These events if you're encouraging, people to get together again after, you know. Lots of time not being together how do you how much of that responsibility. Lies on on your shoulders to ensure that. Everyone is behaving themselves, and acting responsibly. Um sanjay, let's let's start with you. Okay i think, um. All the responsibility. Lies on us is. Uh certainly. In my world is the the event, organizer. I think it's, really really important, as well that, um. Whatever event it is people people follow those, those guidelines, because at the end of the day. We have to be seen as a responsible. Event. And the government need to be, comfortable, that we can put on these events and we're not, and public safety. You know still are not our number one. Um, outcome, so. The the responsibility, lies with us, i think things, that. You know you can do to control, is things like thinking about. Um, crowd flow, and crowd movement. Um, simple, things around. Making sure, that you've got enough. Stewards, and you've got enough people to manage the event. Um, is really really important, and then. Again, communication. To people coming into the ground so, you can't expect people to turn up and then automatically, know what to do, you've got to be communicating, those things, before they get to the ground when they're in the ground during, the ground, and then you've got to help help guide them through right and at the end of the day. Um, that is in itself, you know it's quite a logistical. Operation. That is required. But it'll be absolutely, essential, for for sports coming back on. Alia. You know i think it's also. How you do it right. We could stand here and be like be safe wear your mask step aside do all of this stuff, and i think there's something around tone of voice, um, i was reading one of our manuals, yesterday, actually. So like the w hotels, food and beverage, team, have pulled together, a series of guidelines, and, you know one little thing that kind of stayed with me, when you come to one of our places. Once you sit down, they give you a little bag for you to put your mask into. So they're saying please wear a mask as you go through the space once you sit down and you can take it off, let me give you this thing i've, thought about this for you, so that you're not leaving your mask on the table and it's getting dirty, i'm offering you an opportunity.
For This or. When i present you with the check, let me give you a purell, wipe, let me just add that extra, layer in and, you know it's the thoughtfulness. With which we do it and thoughtfulness, doesn't cost money it's just thought. Um i went to dinner last night and as i was entering the restaurant, you know and we were sitting on a courtyard. The major deep like lovely and he came up and he was like thank you so much for wearing your masks till you sit down at the table not, put your masks on and please don't take them off, it's a positive, reinforcement. And. You know now more than ever i think up until this point i'm certainly guilty of this, between, firing off emails, and texts, and whatsapps. And what have you and just go go go gotta get it done, you forget, the art of the tone of voice. And how you communicate. Things and how you request, things and, how even when you have to have maybe, less than. Comfortable, conversations. You can navigate, all of that with the choice of word that you use or even body language, you know. And i think that's going to be an interesting, part of how we turn some of this corner. Particularly. In societies, where unfortunately. They still think that this is a hoax and they don't want to wear masks like, you know how do you use the power of persuasion, the art of language, body language, thoughtfulness. Sequencing. All of these things to get people, on the bus. Um. That's going to be i think an interesting, moment to navigate. George you were nodding along all the way through that was what, i think what elias, said is incredibly. Powerful, i mean, especially, in the world of retail. Um, you know, there is there, there should be an invitation. Not a demand, and it's a big difference. You know they say you're gonna try you can attract more flies with honey than you know, with other things so, i think you know. The the what elias, said about. Being, kind. And, using. Psychology. With, with positive, reinforcement. Will help transform, these events, i mean you know amsterdam. Uh had a, huge, blm. Protest. Uh 5 000 people showed up at the square. 5000, people showed up at the square. All wearing masks. All standing, apart. There was hardly any police. The sense, of. Of society. Also is extremely, important, that you are a collective. That you are together. And that you're all in it together. And i think what was interesting about the protests, here is that they did not become violent they did not, require. Tremendous, amount of police. Everyone, protest, it was incredibly, powerful, everyone was heard. But everyone was very. Um. I wouldn't say the word behaved, but you know they they. They understood, that that that they were a collective. And that they didn't want the infection, rate to skyrocket, so everyone showed up with their mass everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do they made themselves, known about. You know this horrible thing that's happening in terms of rights, um. And, they all left and it was a very positive, experience, overall. So you know the psychology. Of all of this is incredibly, important. Um and i love what she you know what elias, said is. True, thank you for wearing your mask versus, you know i you need to wear your mask the second you walk in you know and like you know be very demanding about it because then immediately. It creates tension. Versus. Welcoming. Hospitality. Yeah so it's so true it's part of your. Part your brand, part of your experience. Part of what you're part of what you're offering. Um and, actually i think. What we've seen up until now. Is. The kind of fear. Factor. You know you you, you must do this otherwise, you are in danger. And you know go back to, right from the start where ali said all about the signage, and so on, it's just, it's provoking, fear and actually that's just got to flip. And i think we'll see now. Events, brands, etc, are just going to have to, think about how they how they message. Um. In a much more positive. Open. Friendly, encouraging. Way. Rather than, rather than a way that strikes fear. And the power of that to connect, customers, to brands. I mean what elia just said about you know getting the little purell wipe after you get your ticket i love that i mean i would go back to the w because it feels like they care about me. You know, versus just like okay well here's your ticket make sure do you have sanitizer.
What You know, it's just like it's very. It's very thoughtful, and it almost feels, like they're you know, already, taking into consideration. The fears and the issues you have, of a customer, being there to begin with, and so it makes you feel even more comfortable. George are there any, clients that you're working with, at the moment or, any others that you've seen from other industries, that you've been impressed with in terms of how. They are focusing, on on brand, transformation. To adapt, to this new environment. Yeah, i mean i think that there's a lot going on and like i said earlier i think covet has accelerated. A lot of the trends that we're already starting to see. Prior, to the pandemic. Um, i think in particular, the world of beauty. Is very much on the pulse of of consumer, behavior. Um. You know. Um. And i there's a couple of examples i think there that really, uh are showing how. This combination. Of, or this fluidity, between, the virtual. And, the. The. Irl. World. How how easily they kind of flow together, and the brands that are navigating, that are the ones that are really creating success for themselves. In particular. Uh. Nyx, i don't know how many people out there are familiar with that brand it's part of the l'oreal, group. They like to position, themselves. As a youthful. Mac cosmetic. Brand. And they are, looking, at their brand, as. Entertainment. In terms of their position. So i thought that was a really fascinating, way of looking, at. Uh how do you create, this kind of, you know, community. Around a brand. Uh, using. Things like netflix, for example, so. Like. Nyx. Sponsored. Sabrina, teenage, witch. And used, that, program. To, create, this whole world around their brand. And again. You know emphasizing, the digital, aspect. Uh versus, the the in-store, aspect. Um and how that kind of. Translated. Over into the irl. Um. Experience. Um. You know. Another, you know great example. Of, of that type of. Of mentality. Are the brands that are digital natives, so, um, i don't know how many of people out there are familiar with patrick, starr. Who's a. Social, media. Uh, beauty celebrity. He's just launched, uh a new cosmetic, brand called, one size. Um. That is really about, complete, inclusivity. So he's a gender, fluid. Individual. Who, transforms, himself into this very beautiful, person. Neither male nor female. He has a, huge, following, online, many many millions of followers, who, who. Look at his, beauty tips and how to apply, and become, you know a much. More attractive individual. And he's launching his, his uh, brand, in sephora, so he has this, very, high digital, presence. That can reach a very broad audience a little bit like you know the sports events and the other things that we've been talking about. Um but then, you can also go into a physical space, like sephora. And purchase it if you'd like and again sephora, also has a huge online community, as well. So this kind of fluidity. Between, the brick and mortar, and the digital, is a trend that was happening, prior to, covid, and now has been accelerated. Dramatically. Uh, in particular, in the world of, beauty. But you know other brands just like mcdonald's, as well, also going to complete, contact, less. Payment, being able to order food, um through your mobile device before you go into the store and just pick up picking it up there. Um or having it obviously you know home delivery which is an obvious, thing but, nevertheless. Um. You know the world, of. Of kind of these. Digital. Communities. Let's call them that, that, flow between. Real life. And. Virtual, life, um, is becoming more prevalent. Um the gaming communities, in particular. Uh are creating, these, entire. Events, i don't know if you, know, uh what fortnite, is it's this, uh, huge. Multi, i think billions, of players. At this point um and travis. Scott who's a rapper. Launched, his album, in fortnite, as an as an avatar. And he had, 23. Million, people, quote unquote, attending. His concert event, on fortnite.
So I think those are the kinds of things that we're going to be seeing more of the future, i mean maybe even potentially, sports games will be played in these kind of virtual, realms. But then, at the same time. We're also linking back to the physical, world. So that kind of fluidity. I think is, is the trend for the future, that, that indefinable. Because everyone you know talks about omni-channel. But it's not really omni-channel, at all anymore it's about consumer, channel. And the digital, natives, in particular, are incredibly. Fluid, between. Virtual, and. And real life. And they they move between the two. As if they're the same thing. And i think that that, is, the biggest difference, now. Post covet, is that there's more people who, are accustomed, now to dealing with that kind of fluidity, between those two worlds. Excellent, um, okay the the last area, i want to, focus on, is, um, the plans that you're all putting in place to future proof your businesses, now, i'm going to give you a. Second to think about it because, before i ask for your thoughts. Here's what charlotte and james had to say about their plans, for 2021's. Can lions, and wimbledon, respectively, well we've learned a lot this year, um. We talk to our customers, all the time, about, you know what the festival, and the shape of the festival. Should be we work very closely with our, you know our, community. Um. In terms of, what the festival, will look like next year i think. Obviously. There are still question, marks around. Um the shape of the festival, and what what the laws will be and what the, you know the recommendations. Will be for next year, um but we'll work closely with the authorities. And with the, you know the french. Um authorities. And of course, anyone else we need to listen to to ensure a safe. Festival. Um. I think you can. You know expect the usual. The usual, sort of. Stages. For cannes lions i mean whether that means we have to. Take people out of the theaters, and move them back in to adhere to any sort of. Health and safety regulations. We'll do that but, you can still expect the same, magic, that you would always get from the festival. You know the state the same high-profile. Speakers. And creative, agencies from all around the world, we'll still be bringing those together. So i mean as you can imagine there's a huge amount planning now, um. We have to, um. Without wanting to sound flippant, we are we are hoping, for the best but planning planning for the worst. Uh we're having to be very very agile, because this is, changing. Literally. All, of the time, but there'll be scenarios, put in place. Around you know what does what does a win wouldn't look like, with reduced, capacitors, looking at, yeah we've looked at two meters now we're obviously looking at one meter. As well what kind of impact that's going to have on capacity. But we're. You know. If the worst comes to worst what is it behind close. Closed doors, these are all things that we're having to to plan for and, and look at because if we didn't it would be. Ultimately been pretty irresponsible. But of course, as i say we are hoping for the best and we hope to be able to deliver women, as close to the one that we all, know and love sanjay, uh, your plans for uh for the coming year. Well we've, already started, uh future proving so we've managed to get. Cricket back on. And it's in uh. Behind closed doors, in a complete, bio-secure. Environment. So. You know that that, from. Um. All the way, in terms of making sure that you've got. All your players, all your staff. Um, everything. Uh completely, quarantined, for a period of time. And then playing the game and then testing, and all those things so, we're well on our way to. Making sure that we can, um, survive. Uh post covered. If if restrictions. Aren't lifted, but we we are anticipating. That. Restrictions, will be lifted. Um, and then it's ups about thinking about you know how do we get fans back in stereo. In ways that we've we spoke about earlier. Uh and then hopefully at some stage get back to the normal but. We again. There's no there's not going to be a normal for us because hopefully we're going to. Think about how we've reimagined.
Recreated. And thinking about our customer, experience, so when people come back to, cricket and when people attend 100 for the first time. It's something that they will thoroughly enjoy. Do you think it's almost a chance, for sports to have a bit of a, reset. I think sports will reset. Because, the inevitable. Impact, of covert, is going to be, a significant, loss of revenue. And when you have a significant, loss of revenue you have to rethink. Your business model, um and you have to rethink. Your cost base, uh and again, there'll be, sports will do that in different ways i think. The the simple way to do that is simply cut costs. And go to the lowest common denominator. But actually what you probably need to do. Is do both cut costs but also then, think about. How. How you genuinely get creative, think about innovation, in your sport. Think about new ways to make money, and, i think. The sports, that will. Um, come out of this, crisis, in a better way the suppose it will take take those kind of proactive, approaches. And not simply just go down the going exercise. Um, ellia. For your industry, and marriott. You know do you, do you all remember the time before you could travel when you didn't have to take your shoes off when you didn't have x amount of liquids. Um i think the thing that we as a collective, have to remember, is human beings, adapt. Much, faster, than we give them credit for, you know, you put a few rules into place you create a temple, you create a pattern you go into any airport in the world now and you'll see people. Taking off their shoes pulling out their laptops, and it's happening, pretty seamlessly. So. When you think about that, i think you know as a collective, we obviously, have to continue, to, find ways to make, people, feel safe. But i think this is our opportunity, to also try new things you know, what are those things that we're going to do in guest rooms that maybe we didn't need before, or what are those, you know approaches, or tactics, you know maybe it's less about clutter, less objects in a room maybe it's cleaner, brighter. More timeless, surfaces. It's um, you know how we work in public areas, how we get a coffee, or a cocktail. Um. I think we as a collective, have a little bit of work to do right, now up ahead. But i have faith that if you find ways to build memory, and stimulate, the senses, i think we'll be able to get everyone, along for the ride, as long as they feel safe. Excellent, uh george, final thoughts on this, from you, i i completely, agree, um with, you know. Especially what alia just said now, uh about, adaptability. I think what we're looking at is covet is has been an impetus, it's, been the the trigger, that has created, or accelerated, these new behaviors. Uh the behaviors, were a lot of the behaviors, that we're seeing. Are. Being enforced, by this pandemic, because of this kind of, issue of of infection. But once that's gone and it will be gone because we've had pandemics, in the past before and they do eventually, go away or they transform, into something less, less toxic. We're going to end up with a bunch of people who are now, are completely. Used to doing things in a different way, much more digitally, savvy, in terms of a larger, population. Base. Um, using experiences, that they've never used before, like you know the. You know. The different type of digital, worlds that are being created, around these brands and these different types of experiences. And it's going to definitely leave a, mark in terms of pushing. The world, closer towards what the future vision would have been, you know and and, you know. Unfortunately, there's a lot of businesses, that are suffering, hugely, financially. Um some of them maybe. Were around a little bit longer than they needed to be um, and i think covet has accelerated. That kind of transformation. Of the landscape. Um, it's painful. Uh transformations. Always are, but i think in the end we're going to come out hopefully with a much more positive, world. People who are much, more democracy. In terms of the sense of of. Accessibility. To things that used to be quite elite, now more accessible, and easy to get to. Um. Yeah i mean i i. What the the you know sanjay, and elia have said i completely wholeheartedly, agree. Um but we also can't forget this is not going to be around forever. That what what it is, it's, creating. And initiating. A lot of change, more quickly than we had anticipated. Fantastic. Um. That, wraps up this episode, uh thanks once again to all three of you for uh joining me online, today, and thanks also to james. Rally, charlotte williams and john timms, for their contributions, as well um we hope you've got a lot out of this episode we'd love to hear any comments you may have on the issues we've covered. Today.