A new way to share your expertise as a company or organisation in these COVID times is to organise a round-table discussion with your own specialists. Such a roundtable is not only interesting for your own clients or stakeholders, but you can also add an interesting PR section to it. At least, if you carefully consider in advance which newsworthy messages to address. And then you can even get media coverage.

The COVID crisis forced us to think about how companies can communicate in a different way. Webinars for one shot up like mushrooms. Among other things, we focused on roundtable discussions which were broadcast via livestream.

The idea is quite straightforward. You put a number of interesting experts together with a moderator around a table in a professional studio and you make sure that clients, stakeholders and journalists can follow the conversation via the internet. The livestream is also recorded, so that you, as a company, can share excerpts from the stream via your social media channels.

We recently did so for BDO. This consultancy company wanted to talk about the flexibilisation of the labour market at the time of COVID. But BDO wanted to go beyond the classic webinar. Thus the plan was coined to organise a roundtable for which we opted to use the television studio of DB Video in Aartselaar (all COVID-proof of course).

Around the table were BDO CEO Peter Van Laer, Interim Manager Jan Mathyssen, HR Director of Aquafin Sabine Schellens and Paul Verschueren, Director at sector federation Federgon, who also explained the most recent figures on temporary work during the month of May. The conversation – which was beautifully captured by four cameras – was fascinating and in-depth. The 45-minute duration is ideal to discuss a number of topics in detail.

You might get the impression that the result is a pre-cooked, commercial message. But this, we absolutely wanted to avoid. If I, as the moderator, am given the freedom to ask pertinent questions as well, then that still produces better content. A discussion partner around the table who can answer a critical question in a well-founded manner has more credibility than someone who replies from a debate sheet to a question which been agreed upon in advance.

The economic news website Business AM picked up some statements from the panel discussion on the very day of the livestream. A journalist had followed the livestream and reported on it. Or how to add an interesting PR-side to a roundtable discussion.

It was a successful first, both for BDO and Bepublic.