Well, March has certainly been an interesting month. It’s hard to ignore the COVID-19 crisis and the impact that it’s had on agency life and just life in general, however there are so many reasons to be positive. The Hatch team settled pretty quickly into working from home life and have been quick to adapt carefully laid out plans in response to social distancing measures.
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 team hosted a digital press conference with Chief Executive, Jon Dutton. It’s no mean feat fielding questions from over 40 journalists from across the world, just ask the team at 10 Downing Street, but the digital Q&A session went off without a hitch.
The Wensleydale Creamery team were also on hand to assist with the launch of an online grocery store because even when you’re in lockdown, nobody need go without glorious cheese!
Are you not entertained?
Brands have been quick to provide relief to the tediousness and boredom of being stuck indoors for the majority of the day. Football Manager 2020 responded to the suspension of the sport by making their game free to play for a week, helping to ensure that fans across the country spent their free time figuring out the best tactics to use and players to sign as they try to take a non-league side to top tier glory.
Elsewhere, Chester Zoo were helping to keep thousands of children occupied with a virtual tour of its zoo. In response to the closure of vast amounts of shops, pubs and leisure providers, there has been a challenge for brands and products to digitize their offering. Chester Zoo is a perfect example of this, bringing the zoo to the masses and in the process highlighting what a fantastic day out the zoo will be once lockdown measures are de-escalated.
How can we help?
It’s been genuinely uplifting to see how brands have shifted focus and asked themselves what they can do assist those who are on the frontline of this crisis and those directly affected by the lockdown measures.
One that springs to mind almost instantly is Gary Neville and Ryan Gigg’s Hotel Football. Acting swiftly and decisively, they closed the hotel and immediately offered rooms to NHS staff who needed to stay away from their families in order to protect them. This gesture was genuine, added value to the lives of NHS staff and their families and as a biproduct received a great deal of favourable comments throughout the press.
Brands haven’t just come to rescue of key workers though, as exemplified by Diageo. The global drinks supplier pledged £1 million to help operators through uncertain times for the hospitality industry and also launched an information phoneline to assist licensed business owners access the government’s commercial measures.
Journalists have been quick to reach out to the PR industry to let them know that despite COVID-19 rightfully taking up the majority of column inches, they still want to hear from brands on their response to the crisis. Those that are earning positive coverage are doing so for their actions and the value that they’re adding, so as an industry we should be on hand to assist clients in understanding how they can utilise their assets to help.
Help isn’t limited to building ventilators or providing for front line staff, it can be helping parents working at home to keep the children occupied, providing expert comments or advice for those affected in your sector, or something as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face by attempting to kick a toilet roll around your kitchen.
Where to next?
Hatch MD, Jason Madeley, shared his thoughts on the situation last week (and if you’ve not had a read, I’d certainly recommend it), but his mantra was “buckle up, adapt, innovate and try to keep smiling” which is exactly what the Hatchlings are doing.
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