How can you prepare your comms teams for an international event attracting more than 20 million visitors?

In 2015, we were commissioned by Hanover to help them deliver pre-event crisis communications training to their client, Expo 2020.

Our longest-running project to date, we delivered nine crisis simulation exercises interspersed with crisis response training and evaluation. Participants included the Expo 2020 communications and operations teams, Dubai Media Office and Dubai Police. In any one exercise, there were at least five external organisations involved. 

We had to continuously develop the training, based on the evaluation from the preceding simulation and the constant growth of Expo 2020. We used Social Simulator to bring to life some of the most potentially challenging scenarios Expo 2020 might face, including cultural and operational incidents. 

This program of simulations was different because:

  • We had to raise awareness of potentially negative media coverage and social media commentary from international visitors.
  • We needed to quickly adapt and develop training in response to internal changes and worldwide events.
  • Expo 2020 is a mega-event, centred around a 438 hectare site.


  • Preparatory training for one of the world’s largest mega-events, with more than 20 million visitors.
  • Nine simulations with more than 50 participants in each one.
  • Integrated external participants from organisations such as Dubai Police and Dubai Media Office.
  • Content in English and Arabic.


Photo by Saj Shafique on Unsplash

How could we help you?

Talk to us informally about how we approach this kind of work, ballpark budgets and timescales – or just to help you refine your brief: email [email protected]