How does a company that specializes in high-end microphones for recording stay connected to its customers? Partnering with John Krivit, an educator, past-president of the Audio Engineering Society and principal behind the popular “Hey Audio Student” Facebook group, Telefunken has been hosting a series of virtual Zoom tours of its 24,000-square-foot facility in South Windsor, Connecticut, showing it to college and high school classes around the world.
“Before the pandemic shutdown, I would bring my classes from Emerson College in Boston on field trips to Telefunken each semester,” Krivit recounts. “The students would get to see for themselves how microphones are designed, measured, assembled, benchmarked and tested. They could watch first-hand as technicians would measure frequency response, see the software they use to design circuits, what the inside of a polar response switch looks like, how capsules are assembled and terminated, and all kinds of other great stuff. For an audio geek, it’s a Willy Wonka-kind of tour.”
For the length of the pandemic, however, students have missed out on the opportunity, so Krivit began connecting Telefunken to educators around the globe to offer online tours via the Zoom platform. The benefit worked both ways—with trade shows like NAMM, AES, INFOCOM, and NAB on indefinite hiatus, Telefunken found it needed a new approach to stay connected to its customers and develop new relationships with its future customers. “We needed to keep building relationships, particularly in Education, and that’s where John came in,” says Telefunken president Toni Fishman.
Krivit’s “Hey Audio Student” Facebook group, comprising more than 32,000 students and educators worldwide, offered an ideal resource. “We started with the Philippines and have made our way around the globe with tours to groups in Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the USA,” Krivit reports. “We’ve done tours for universities and high schools. We’ve given tours for broadcast groups and AES groups.”
“These virtual factory tours have given us the opportunity to not just reach a much wider audience, but to impart more detail about microphone technology, and about the company’s long and storied history,” says Alan Venitosh, Telefunken Director of Operations. “It’s truly been a win for all concerned.”