My Story of Hope to #SupportEachOther in the PR Industry
This article is part of the series #SupportEachOther, a campaign through which PRCAI aims to bring PR professionals from diverse verticals and different levels of experience onto a common platform for discussion. By spreading awareness and the use of storytelling, we aim to destigmatize mental health issues within the PR industry and start a dialogue to help and #SupportEachOther, in the midst of various professional challenges we are confronting because of the COVID19 pandemic crisis.
I remember the morning after the 21-day lockdown was announced, when I received three calls from ongoing retainers asking for temporary suspension of services owing to the ongoing situation. And this was, after the company had already stopped services for one account.
As a boutique agency owner, I hit the panic button where I questioned myself if this is really happening! How are we going to sail through this, and are we hitting the end road to the brand that we had been building over the years, overnight!
As soon as I shared the news with the team; my colleague pinged asking for a chat. Two of my colleagues called, we spoke and their conversation was nothing but a reassurance that we are all in it together and we are going to sail through this.
Nothing else matters. In such times what you really want is a strong support by your side and I find that in my team, who is adapting well with the current situation and managing work with clients and teams smoothly.
These are tough times but it also allows us to step back and revisit our roots. And that is exactly what we are doing. With the time that we have in our hands, we are strengthening our media and social media intelligence, understanding our sectors well and simultaneously working on the strategy so that once the lockdown ends; we enter into the execution phase. Alongside; the lockdown also allows us to follow work-life balance in its true sense which otherwise we were only striving to achieve.
The road is sketchy and because of the uncertain timelines, there is an element of worry. Especially as an agency dealing primarily with consumer, lifestyle and startup clients, the sectors that are most affected, the road isn’t easy. Operations, Client Retention, Team Management, Rents, Financials – there is lots on our mind. But then we all know it, that this is not the end, and once things get back to normal, the route to recovery is going to be quick. In fact the PR industry is least affected with services not entirely shut down and many yet opting for communications to continue.
Today we are collectively facing this crisis in a world that is more (digitally) connected than ever in history. Can you imagine how COVID-19 would have unfolded, when the internet was in its infancy and critical information travelled far more slowly? Today we have the tools to gain insights on what we need in the moment and respond with personal relevance at an unprecedented scale. This will be key while we are distancing ourselves physically but remain connected digitally, perhaps closer than ever.
And by the time this ends; we will all be back in action.
Tejal Daftary Mehta
Founder, Alphabet Media