How a St. Pete Event Design Company is Designing Its Path Forward

Business with in-person events was booming at Foo Dog Productions before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But with lessons learned from previous economic downturns and quick adaptations to digital services, Foo Dog is thriving even during the pandemic.

For Foo Dog Productions, a Spoor Bunch Franz client that specializes in live event management and content design, the first quarter of 2020 was the best in company history. The St. Petersburg-based company was looking forward to a big year, but when COVID-19 started spreading across the country and the shutdowns began, every in-person event they had on the books was canceled.

“Our ability to stay positive, keep company morale up, and look forward was certainly tested,” said Foo Dog Productions CEO Andrew White.

When you are known for connecting audiences worldwide through the design of quality messaging and memorable, live event, experiences, what do you do when the entire reason you are in business ceases to exist practically overnight? What do you tell your employees when all the companies in the industry, small and large, are closing their doors, with no evidence of a recovery in sight?

They worked together and took everything online. “We were already working with many of our customers doing some level of hybrid meetings prior to COVID-19,” White said. “We quickly learned how to scale these services and worked to best prepare our customers for a virtual environment.”

Since April, Foo Dog Productions has produced more than 80 virtual experiences connecting nearly 200,000 people around the world.

“Even though online events are not new to us, they are new to many of our customers,” White said. “Over the past months, we have taken the time to connect with customers, one-on-one, to determine the best solutions needed to meet their business objectives.”

What makes sense for many businesses now, White said, is doing a highly produced virtual meeting with a live producer, quality graphics, pre-produced videos, and a well-prepared host.

“With all the technologies we have explored and utilized, we are reminded of the importance of detailed preparation and rehearsals,” he said. “Even the best speakers and presenters have benefited from guidance and rehearsals, and our customers agree that it was the key to their success.”

Foo Dog Productions has been in business for more than two decades, and they have had to deal with plenty of challenges over that time. Businesses are excited to work with Foo Dog to make their product announcements and conferences even more dynamic, so Foo Dog grows when the broader business community grows. The company adapted and survived the Great Recession, so White was confident that the business would handle the recession caused by COVID-19, too. “We have saved for rainy days, invested in our people, and we’ve adapted our services to continue to serve our customers’ needs to meet and connect,” he said.

These wise investments allowed White to retain his entire staff and, in Quarter 3, they were able create new positions to keep up with the growing needs of their business. Spoor Bunch Franz handles taxes for Foo Dog, and also serves as a trusted advisor for the business. This past spring, when COVID-19 forced so many businesses to make difficult financial decisions, SBF worked with the company to get a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in place which enabled stability in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we wait to see what the new normal for business travel and live events becomes, Foo Dog Productions continues to grow helping businesses develop and deliver their key messages while connecting audiences virtually.  “COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of proactive communications of all forms to align businesses and build community,” White said.

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