While the current pandemic has sadly brought out the worst in some people, there is a clear and overwhelming sense that, more than anything else, our collective response to COVID-19 has brought out the very best in both individuals and businesses.
Positive messages and acts of kindness have flooded the news outlets I consume and my social channels. But alongside this, having seen the COVID-19 response initiatives launched by my clients – and having communicated them to the media – I have to say, I’ve never been more proud of the clients I work with and the work that they are doing.
Balancing client expectations with the media’s needs
PR professionals all over the world will have had many headaches over the past few months as they completely tear up the strategies they had in place and work out what to say to their stakeholders – if anything at all – and indeed how to say it.
Thoughtful care has been taken by businesses and their PR advisors on whether to step back from inputting to the media, or to provide guidance to others on what they can do during this time.
Working in an agency, our job is always to advise our clients, but ultimately any decision made comes down to either the marketing team or senior management team within that business.
This means that despite our best efforts, we do occasionally end up selling something to the media that quite frankly isn’t newsworthy and would’ve been best left as a brief announcement on the company’s website.
It’s a balancing act of client expectations and what the media want from us and as the pandemic began unfolding, journalists were quick to take to Twitter to tell the PR industry they no longer cared about how companies were launching version 6.2 of their platform – and rightly so!
Amazing initiatives to help all through the crisis
But since the outbreak of COVID-19, I haven’t had a single one of these conversations, advising my clients against a certain announcement or approach.
Instead, I’ve been amazed at the various initiatives implemented and how quickly my clients have used their expertise and technologies to introduce efforts to help other organisations during a time of great uncertainty.
From digital commerce management platform, Kooomo waiving its setup fees, enabling retailers to get set up online quickly, easily and affordably to enterprise office solutions provider Y Soft using its fleet of 3D printers to produce protective face shields and binder strips for hospitals across the world, and intelligent guided selling provider, Conversity offering charitable support to public sector and non-profit organisations to help them ensure their websites are easier to navigate for vulnerable members of society – it’s been very humbling to see these initiatives unfolding and a pleasure to communicate these.
As more and more of these initiatives aimed at fighting against COVID-19 come to light every day, I wonder what impact they will have in the long term and also what impact they will have on our PR strategies – perhaps, one can only hope, a greater understanding of the need for a focus on truly newsworthy stories!