The last six months have undoubtedly been some of the toughest agency owners and employees have faced.
An almost instant lockdown, remote working, a very restricted news agenda and of course job losses have all been challenges the industry has faced.
But among all the negatives, there have been some huge positives which will change the way we work as teams and the way we interact with clients.
Never did we expect to see a client’s children in the middle of a Zoom call – I’m sure they didn’t expect to see ours too – or have to pause the call for someone to take an online delivery.
In the last six months, that’s become commonplace as we’ve relaxed and adjusted into the new way of doing things.
The positives are there for all to see and no doubt will help shape how the industry operates as the pandemic and restrictions ease in the future.
For now, here are some of the positive changes we’ll be taking with us:
Relationships with clients
We all pride ourselves on how we interact with our clients and the relationships we’ve built over many years of working together but did we ever expect to see inside their home and meet their family albeit via a Zoom call? Letting someone into your home is personal – our clients have given us a glimpse into a side of their life we weren’t a part of, and we’ve let them into ours.
Could we have planned our campaigns around COVID? No. Did we adapt? Yes. And will we have a pandemic plan in the back of our minds in five, ten years to come? Probably not, but we know as professionals we can change, and we can deal with anything that’s thrown at us.
As soon as lockdown was announced, PR campaigns for our clients changed overnight. We had to shelve product launches, ditch campaigns we’d spent months working on and flick a switch so we could give the press what they needed at that time. And as a result, our media contacts grew. Newsrooms switched to minimal staff, more shifts and remote working. We got to know already close contacts even better and made lots of new ones too as their roles changed.
The industry has had to find ways to remain current and creative to appeal to clients and their audiences. Getting the creative juices flowing remotely hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve found new ways to come up with campaign ideas. And they’re better because we’re thinking outside of the box and have different life experiences from the last six months to bring to the mix.
Perhaps one of the biggest things to get used to was working remotely and six months in we’ve learnt what does and doesn’t work, how to structure our days and how to make it a positive experience for the team and our clients. It’ll certainly help shape how we work in years to come.
Isn’t technology great?! Video calls have replaced face to face meetings and even phone calls. And do you know what, we love them! During the early days of lockdown and even now, it’s great to have that contact and see someone, even if it is through a screen.
In answer to has COVID changed the way we work, the answer simply is yes. The good news is there's lots we can take away from the last six months and how we’re working now will certainly help shape the future of the industry.
Sarah Samways, PR Director at Motive PR.