Navigating the challenges of COVID-19 in event planning

Celebrating a major company milestone takes much planning and coordination – even more so during a global pandemic. COVID-19 has challenged the way businesses communicate and deliver messages effectively while still engaging the community.

A large component of commemorating a company milestone is to share it with the community and invite them to celebrate with your business. Here’s how you can successfully plan a company milestone in a virtual world.

The York Water Company

Located in York, Pennsylvania, The York Water Company was founded in 1816 and is the oldest investor-owned utility in the nation. The company is committed to providing customers with safe, dependable, high-quality water, wastewater, and related services that meet or exceed customer expectations at reasonable rates.

The fall of 2020 marked a major milestone for the company and extended a national record: York Water is the only publicly traded company in U.S. history to ever reach 600 consecutive dividend payments for its shareholders.

To reach customers and investors and convey the historic event to the public, York Water’s goal was to reach a national audience through media coverage and launch virtual celebrations to engage the local and regional community and involve employees.

Celebrating together, while apart

It was important to engage local customers and the community safely, to not only raise awareness about a company’s success, but to also make them feel like part of the story. Albeit challenging during COVID-19, Gavin™ launched a month-long campaign for York Water to remind and deliver concise messaging regarding the upcoming events to the local community through its social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

In addition to the content creation, a public event was planned which included local dignitaries, such as the York County commissioners and York’s mayor. This virtual event showcased a proclamation from local officials proclaiming November 24, 2020 as “That Good York Water Day.”

Due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, our team set up a Facebook Live event for the entire community to watch.

Ringing the closing bell

Gaining media coverage is another key factor in the success of many events. The York Water Company virtually rang the closing bell on the NASDAQ, which was shown worldwide and gained regional, national and trade media attention.

Through its media relations efforts, Gavin worked to showcase the company’s 204-year history, which conveyed its advancements and evolution through visual images and drone footage, along with on-screen text that highlighted past milestones. The narrative told the story of quality, stability, investment, innovation, and prudence and was a complementary piece published on the company’s website and social media platforms.

While an ideal celebration would have included hundreds of employees and community members, in a world where masks are required and standing six-feet apart is the norm, a virtual event can be just as sufficient – it just takes a little more planning and creativity to make it work.

Planning your company’s next major milestone? Contact Gavin’s team of public and media relations strategists to develop and execute your communications plan at gavin@gavinadv.com!