Learning Lessons from PR in Lockdown

Covid 19. Coronavirus. Lockdown, Social-Distancing, Furlough, ‘Quarantinis’... the list goes on and on. It’s incredible to witness the speed at which words, idiosyncrasies and phrases - once unheard of - have streamed into our everyday vernacular and become the prime factor in navigating our way around this new environment we live and work in. This fast-paced change and constant evolution within the socio-economic landscape of lockdown has, of course, had an immediate effect on how PR companies operate and interact with clients, press and social media channels. And here is a prime example. On March 16, just before lockdown and when the above terms were only just beginning to surface, Actus kicked off its partnership with CommsCo to deliver a 3-month project to support its virtual performance management technology platform and CEO Lucinda Carney’s book launch for ‘How to be a Change Superhero’. Just one week later, the country was in full lockdown; with the daily news in a constant state of flux and businesses and clients having to operate from home, there was an immediate impact on two vital cogs within a successfully functioning PR machine: content and communication. Over the next three months, the CommsCo team worked tirelessly to jump on the news agenda and provide insightful thought leadership to businesses and HR leaders alike. As a result of hijacking these news opportunities, and developing weekly and monthly ideas and campaigns, these three months alone achieved:
  • Coverage of Lucinda and Actus in the Daily Telegraph with advice on remote working
  • Coverage in The Metro on how to cope with lockdown
  • Profiles in Management Today and Business Matters
  • 12 articles in total across the HR, business and national press
  • Two awards submissions
These results highlight two key factors when delivering content and results. Firstly, the importance of agility during a crisis. When faced with an ever-changing climate, it is essential to stay adaptable and up to date with current affairs and the tech landscape, allowing for coverage and content that aligns with the current situation; this needs to be coalesced with a creativity in responding to changing events. Secondly, for this agility to bear fruit, it is even more important to respond quickly and deliver tangible results in such a turbulent landscape where opportunities can be missed daily, if not hourly. As Lucinda Carney says, “it was a tremendous turnaround from kick off in these unusual times to delivery. The themes changed weekly and, as we were on the news agenda at all times, the results came fast.” However, these results wouldn’t have been possible without the second cog - communication - working in tandem with the first. Undoubtably, adapting to communicate effectively in a virtual world has become of increased prominence and, quite frankly, necessity; maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your clients whether by MS Teams or Skype allows you to achieve the results and support you want and require. As Lucinda went on to say: “I have been blown away by the amazing results that the Commsco team have had in such a short period of time – 21 placements in a range of high-quality media outlets. This has resulted in a huge uplift in brand awareness, signups for our webinars and web traffic. What’s more, we love our catchup calls with the team, they are always proactive and full of ideas, helping our own creativity and focus.” As we navigate our way through this new and ever-changing climate, an openness, agility and adaptability to weekly trends and employing creative solutions, quick-thinking and effective communication strategies are paramount to achieving successful PR in lockdown. On that note, time for some ‘quarantinis’!