Covid-19: Our entire world has turned on its head over the last few weeks and we are having to tap into our resilience, flexibility and creativity now more than ever. In the PR world we encountered the need for swift adaptability and change around 10 years ago when social media emerged as a serious player within the media landscape. We thought that was fast, but what we’re experiencing now is on a whole new level.
As an independent consultant in the health and beauty PR space, I work with both brands and PRs and thought it might be useful to share how we intend to keep going through this challenging period. What I hope to put across here, is, make considered decisions, not knee-jerk reactions. It won’t help anyone if clients decide to freeze their PR, or even stop PR for the foreseeable future. It’s not helpful first and foremost for their own business, but also for the PR businesses they are retaining. It’s also important for the PR to reassure its client that fees are being well spent and their allocated hours are being put to good use, whether that’s developing new creatives, speaking to media or preparing for new launches and campaigns. They are still required to pay their staff, their premises, their media subscriptions and I don't think any of us want to see a spate of PR closures.
Kelly Marks, Co-Founder of PuRe; ‘For brands it is such a key time to continue to make choices based on a longer-term view. When we emerge from the depths of this devastation, brands that have fought through will be able to lift business back up much quicker than those who make short time cuts and knee-jerk reactions. It is now paramount to make realistic adjustments to forecasts, support retailers, and boost online activity. On the plus side, it is wonderful to see professional relationships flourishing at this time, and how the best of mankind are really trying to support each other. I am beyond proud of my team at PuRe for their commitment and hard work as we make our way through this’
Nicola de Burlet from The PR Studio believes communication is key at times like these; ‘As we enter into a new media norm - magazines and news outlets still need content. We are finding that routines are key to keeping things ticking along and beauty is no exception, so “at home beauty therapies” and “be your own beauty therapist” are recurring themes.’
Heights, one of the brands I’m currently working with - which produces a smart supplement for the brain - learned first-hand how quickly you might need to about-turn on your campaign. We had just created ‘Brain Flakes' – a campaign based around ‘Your first brilliant idea of the day’. It very soon became apparent that many of the journalists hadn’t even received it as they had started working from home fairly early on. Considering that brain health is probably one of the most vital topics during isolation periods, and that the brand has an incredible roster of experts to call on, our agency (Manifest) has been able to do a quick about-turn and offer really useful information which is both helpful and topical.
Dan Murray, co-founder of Heights adds "At a time of crisis, confidence can be shaken and encourage you, as the client, to look at minimising risk and costs everywhere, which is of course healthy and sensible. However, we believe that people need positive and uplifting stories at times like this and therefore plan to double down on our efforts to spread that message, and are working with Manifest, on how to amplify the positivity rather than going quiet"
Saskia Phillips of Kilpatrick adds: ‘It is so important right now to keep connected and we are already talking more regularly – both with our audience and with each other. Perhaps now more than ever, people will also be looking online for light relief and entertainment through their newsfeeds. Recent reports show that, unsurprisingly, there has been a huge upsurge in social media usage. The need for content has also risen dramatically and we are ensuring that we are providing feature ideas, products and photography to help all our online community.’
And what from the media? Jane Cunningham, British Beauty Blogger; "I checked with my audience whether they felt beauty content was something they wanted to continue to see and the answer was overwhelmingly yes, so I am continuing but being mindful of the tone of the content. I have noticed that I'm getting much more personal contact - either via email or direct message - with people wanting to know about home hair dye and just asking for the content to continue - someone said it was part of their 'resilience framework'. I'm also really aware that it's important for the industry in general, but in particular PR and marketing, for content to be seen and for their work to be noticed with their brands not forgotten. We're all doing things differently and adapting where we can - I'm used to working from home and while I miss face to face time with my beauty buddies we just have to continue in ways that are sensitive and useful.’
To summarise, we are all in uncharted territory here, and assuming we were happy with our PR before this, need to try and carry on with a considered approach and a bit of creative and positive thinking - which let’s face it – we all have more time for!
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