Running a public relations agency is not easy, 2020 has been a major test to all of agencies and every single person involved in an agency. Agency leadership teams have had to adjust to a new ways of not just maintaining business and servicing clients, but looking to the future of growth and the “new-normal.”
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
As part of a special series, we reached out to a public relations agencies across the country for our 2020 Half Year Check In, what are some of the key learnings, what is working (and not), what does the future of marketing look like and more. Here is our interview with Faulhaber Communications [TCO].
Has your agency launched any new services/ offering for brands over the last 6 months?
We are always looking for ways to innovate, from expanding our digital service offering to include more digital advertising options like Google Ads to launching FSTOP Studios last year. The pandemic was no different. With businesses struggling as they faced a worldwide recession and drastic shift in consumer shopping habits, we saw an opportunity to launch a senior consulting service to help brands with high-level support when and how they need it. FConsults is a brand extension that allow us to service brands in a new way. Direct, Senior support to help CMO’s and business decision makers move FAST. In a crises like we have had these past few months, it became clear that digital transformation was essential for many brands to stay relevant. Our Digital marketing and PR expertise came in handy for many scrambling to get their messages right. We also donated some of our time to many businesses in need. This summer we’re offering this service Pro bono to the BIPOC community as part of our commitment to Diversity.
What has worked really well for you and your team as you moved to work from home model?
We already had a work from home policy that allowed our team to work remote when they needed focus time. Because of this the process was pretty seamless in our transition to work from home full time. We use Microsoft TEAMS and it is working very well to have video calls with the clients and teams to keep connected. We also added a daily all team touchbase where we can share insights, client news and add support to anyone who needs it.
Will your team go back to full-time office?
The future is uncertain however it is clear that a Hybrid WFH/WFO platform will remain.
What has been the biggest learning for you over the last 6 months? For your agency?
Building a trust bank within the team is essential to a productive workforce, delivering quality work and having a happy engaged team. We put a lot of focus on the team and continuous improvement.
How has communications changed as a result of COVID-19?
Empathy has been a focus like never before. Making sure each individual is communicated to in the way that best suits them and their situation is critical to success. Clients and employees alike.
What does ‘digital’ mean to brands post COVID-19?
COVID-19 has accelerated trends that were already in progress. We have worked with our clients on integrated digital strategies for several years, but now more than ever, if you aren’t thinking digital first you are going to get lost. Consumer shopping habits have drastically shifted during COVID and we are going to see many of these changes remain. Brands must have an established digital marketing strategy in place for success. Internally, we’ve spent a lot of time finetuning our own digital experience – inside and out. Digital Integration is one of our core focuses for the second half of 2020 and we have invested in technology and tools to accelerate our digital transformation.
COVID-19 forced consumers to adopt to digital faster (20% of people who bought online did so for the first time), is it here to stay?
Absolutely. There has been a lot of forced innovation during COVID-19 from how restaurants serve clients, to how we grocery shop. Many of these changes will remain, which means its important for brands to find an authentic and meaningful way to connect to their audience digitally.
How can marketers grow their brand post-covid?
Honest and relevant digital marketing + intimate customised communication.
How can brands earn consumer attention in this new world?
Many of our clients have smartly and effectively garnered brand attention by pivoting to digital activations. To launch their new Church Street flagship cannabis retail store our client Friendly Stranger hosted a digital drag show with Canada’s Drag Race Judge Brook Lynn Hytes to raise money for the Village community who had been affected by COVID-19. Not only did they raise over 10K to help the community, the store secured over 2M media impressions during opening week. Giving back and having a strong and clear purpose is more important than ever during this global crisis.
How can brands earn the trust of consumers?
Brands need to show up for their consumers. Now more than ever, it is important for brands to have a voice and take a stance in a meaningful way to the causes their consumer connects to. Trust also comes through effective communication.