Baker Public Relations on Virtual Events

Today a Q & A with Megan Baker of Baker Public Relations.  Baker Public Relations is a New York State Certified Women Owned Enterprise, located in both Albany, New York, and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania offering event management, media relations, social media, crisis communication and creative services. The public relations firm pivoted a great deal during the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic to maximize its offerings for clients in all sectors of industries including real estate, higher education, health care, hospitality and more. 

How has COVID-19 shifted the format of events that have only been held in person? 

HV Gamer Con, the Capital Region’s largest esports conference was held in 2019 as the first event of its kind in upstate New York with great success. The event previously included trade show booths, giveaways, live panels and this year would feature the largest public tournament!  The second annual event was scheduled for April 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the event was rescheduled for September 2020 over the course of two weekends. The event featured a virtual tournament reaching more than 258,742 participants and spectators. 

In between competitions, the Albany Capital Center hosted three virtual panel discussions that were broadcast on the livestream of the public tournaments as well as the Albany Capital Center’s social media platforms. The Boom of Gaming Studios in the Capital Region, Esports in High School, College and the Real World, and The Health and Wellness of a Gamer were the topics covered. Our President and CEO Megan Baker moderated the panel discussions.  This event was able to maximize its reach by allowing audiences from not only the Capital Region and Hudson Valley but beyond to participate. The event was able to open up this event further from its inaugural year by offering gamers to participate virtually.  

How has your team pivoted to offer innovative and engaging events while in the midst of the “Zoom” era? 

As public relations professionals, we always need to stay one step ahead of the trends. What else is everyone doing? How we can bring more to the table with our creativity? One of the events we had hosted was a roundtable event with several leaders in our local community discussing lessons learned during COVID-19. We were able to draw a large crowd to discuss various lessons learned in the heart of COVID-19 during the shutdowns, and virtual learning. Our team drafted the questions, and our CEO and president Megan Baker moderated the discussion. The event received great media attention, and united the community in a way which brought hope to our area as leaders discussed what they have taken away during this time. 

As various areas of the country have reopened, how have you pivoted your approach in the ability to offer partially in person events?  

Our team has monitored the guidelines of our local and federal health departments closely to make sure all recommendations we provide to our clients are cohesive with the laws and restrictions mandated for our state. That being said, in our area mass events are limited to fifty people. We have now begun to shift our recommendations to clients looking to host discussions, meet and greet and corporate events to take a hybrid event approach. What is a hybrid event? A hybrid event allows individuals to participate and attend an event onsite if they feel comfortable, while simultaneously streaming the event virtually to allow others either uncomfortable or above the mass event mandate limit to attend.  

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