Events in the Time of Coronavirus
Digital insights into the all-around media production company: Laudert
In April 2020, Thorsten Hamann from Laudert explained to us why participation in priint:day is so important:
"It doesn't matter what company one is in, because we are all one big community."
With this community particularly in mind, we had a digital sit-down with members of Laudert, Thorsten Hamann (Senior Consultant) and his colleague, Anne Lück (Head of Marketing), and were able to find out how the various departments reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you very much for taking the time for the interview. As we could already see in the video, you, Thorsten, are still in your home office. What is the general situation like at Laudert?
“Yes, like almost everyone at Laudert, I am still in the home office. In the IT department, we went from one day at the office, to the next in a home office at the beginning of March 2020. I myself have rarely been in the office since then and there were not even a handful of colleagues present.”
“However, the space could be put to good use. Temporarily, the IT department area was also converted into a photo studio space. We had so many orders that we still needed areas for additional studio sets. So it was doubly fortunate that almost everyone was at home.
What has been your experience with working remotely so far? Was it a big adjustment or were there any new challenges?”
“It has actually been very different for us, depending on the area. In the IT area, we work mostly on machines in the data center anyway, so the work is location-independent. In our department, the whole structure for this was already in place, such as VPN connections.
In the studio area, completely different challenges arose. Suddenly, regular work with models was no longer possible. We then had to switch to creative layers or work more with bust photography. When the first models were allowed back into the studio, we naturally took advantage of that again.
However, of course, our studio staff couldn't do home office. So we created smaller teams, used FFP2 masks, posted signs for separate entrances and exits and sanitary facilities, and much more.
We also switched to smaller teams for the colleagues who normally work on retouching, page layout or layout. After all, setting up a color-safe workstation for everyone in the home office as well would be too costly.”
“We've had our own working group for a while now, which deals with all the issues and consults regularly, especially to comply with legal matters. Thanks to Corona, the changeover had to take place over the weekend. In addition, the situation has also changed the understanding of employees who have always or frequently been in the home office. When the hallway radio or the typical kitchen conversations are eliminated, you realize what your colleagues in the home office don't notice.
But in summary, I think it's terrific how the entire way of working has changed in such a short time.”
“The cooperation with customers has also changed positively. There were hardly any problems with the switch to digital collaboration. Customers who had always insisted on the face-to-face workshops before were now fine with the digital version. Instead of two workshop days, for example, there were several 2- or 4-hour blocks spread over several days. This worked extremely well for us, and I believe that a lot of these experiences will stick in the future.”
“Those are interesting insights that we were able to make as well. There will perhaps be selective events, but simple conversations, such as annual meetings or conversations about project work will, in my opinion, take place digitally in max 70% of the cases.”
“We've also noticed that with our digital offerings, such as the webinars, you can convey things there in terms of content, but personal communication with each other unfortunately falls by the wayside. We have to rethink the concept here.”
"Through the personal conversations and the exchange about projects on the side, you get the mood of the industry."
The question will also be: Why am I going to Event X? Of course there are exciting presentations, but already here the difference arises. In a webinar, I can quickly and easily ask a question, but at an event such as priint:day, I come to be able to talk to people directly.
By talking in-person and sharing projects on the side, you get the mood of the industry. I can take a cup of coffee and go from group to group, which makes it much easier to exchange ideas and meet new people.
If it's purely about the technical information, such as new technologies, then the webinar is the optimal form. For communication and industry exchange, rather the live event.”
“What will increase is the secondary use: at an event, a lecture is held. This is structured and recorded from the outset in such a way that it is of a reasonable quality and can be used digitally as a second source. Personally, I've noticed that people sign up for a lot of online events, but they don't make it to very many of them.”
“That's been our experience as well. Events that were otherwise very high from the decision-maker level and were now held online simply didn't have the same quality in terms of attendees. You simply can't compensate for the networking issue here.”
“The quality of the presentations also suffered extremely in some cases. At one event Anne talks about, what was actually a 2-day event was extended. It was changed to a week-long webinar program, from morning to afternoon. Of course, people who would normally also have a booth at the event wanted to accommodate their presentations. But that resulted in at least half of the talks being purely promotional. But the good thing is that you can also learn something from this. People are quite willing to make room in their calendars, even with the glut of events one can really speak of in the meantime, and to attend the one or other hour - if they receive well-done, relevant lectures and information in return.”
“Thank you Anne and Thorsten for taking the time to talk to us again. We are looking forward to welcoming your team at priint:day.”
About Thorsten Hamann & Anne Lück from Laudert
Thorsten Hamann has been automating multichannel publishing processes for over 20 years. At Laudert, he combines his experience in media production, layout automation, PIM, MAM and SPM to help companies of all sizes reliably produce better content faster at a lower cost. In his spare time, he tames his three children and stretches his wife's patience beyond measure.
Anne Lück has been a passionate marketer in the services/B2B sector for over 20 years. At Laudert, in addition to online marketing, she and her team focus in particular on individualized print communication and events with a personal touch and sufficient space for intensive networking. The family-friendly orientation at Laudert makes it possible to reconcile the job with family life, including being a 4-year "junior executive".