Journey into the unknown

Lesley Brydon, Managing Director

With rumblings of lockdown being lifted, albeit at different rates north and south, everybody’s heads are now turning towards ‘exit strategy’. I prefer to call it a re-entry strategy — we are not so much getting out of something but heading into new territory. And what an opportunity this provides for businesses to press the reset button.

When we entered the coronavirus crisis, some comms norms were completely uprooted almost instantly. Surprisingly, most businesses instinctively recognised that this was not the time to puff up feathers and say ‘look at us’. More asked ‘can I help?’, and for me this will be the defining shift of 2020. It’s been a long time coming, but this short period has really sealed the deal.

We’ve worked with many enlightened clients over the years who are sold on being smart, innovative, caring, useful — and using these attributes to fuel their growth, not just their marketing strategy. Saying you are great is crass. Illustrating your smarts in a way which leads others to reach that conclusion themselves is more sustainable, and frankly, what you would expect from a company others want to do business with, collaborate with or work for.

In times of significant economic crisis, comms was always the first red line on the budget, but for the first time, our skills have been at the forefront of the fight against the impacts of Covid-19. Whether that be crucial messaging from the NHS or other public services, from businesses that are closed or operating differently, or large companies communicating with their staff, making sure messages are unambiguous, accessible, impactful, and fresh has been critical.

Those which have failed to communicate or worse, have done it badly, will feel the impact over the coming months. We already know who some of them are. But for every business that has hit the headlines for doing the wrong thing, there are countless others that have just quietly slipped off the radar. Those which have hit the right notes will tread a far easier path as they venture forth into the unknown.

Adding value; building trust; being useful, purposeful, and relevant; sharing knowledge; being gracious; telling the truth — a few successful companies have been trading in these areas for a long time, but for others this is a new dawn. That is not to say that 6 months ago they were doing the opposite, but these attributes were not necessarily built into strategy, operations and reporting. These are the new forms of capital by which we will measure success, and as professional communicators, it is our job to support our clients as we take this journey together.