Four Ways COVID-19 has Changed Agency Life in 2020
By Michael A. Monahan, B.S. Public Relations 1996
President and CEO, Moxē Integrated Marketing
Someone recently asked me how COVID has changed agency life in 2020. While it’s hard now to even think about what the agency world was like pre-COVID, there are four things that stand out to me as I reflect on the past six months.
First, we’ve had an increased focus on our people. For a time, Moxē, like a lot of professional service businesses, had everyone working remotely, which was a new experience for many of our team members. That meant having to navigate new technologies and new business processes in order to ensure we were able to continue collaborating, communicating and serving our clients well.
When we returned to the office in early June, our team was naturally quite anxious. We put in place daily temperature checks and health screening requirements, mandatory mask protocols, social distancing expectations throughout our small office and quarantines for team members who exhibit symptoms or come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. We also engaged a local company, BioAssured, to treat our office with a two-step process that disinfects and protects surfaces in environments, such as our office building, to help ensure that we are able to continue to be productive while keeping our team members as safe as possible.
Second, as an integrated marketing firm, two of our major practice areas are public relations and advertising. On the PR side, it’s become increasingly difficult to try to pitch anything to the media that is not Coronavirus-related. Similarly, our advertising team has made certain adjustments to clients’ advertising run schedules to accommodate for the fact that there haven’t been many live sports on air and, at least for awhile, the number of people listening to drive-time radio dropped significantly.
Third, like any crisis, COVID is an opportunity to reflect on your company’s core values – who you are as an organization and the behaviors you want your employees to model. Things like total customer satisfaction, truth and integrity and teamwork are more than words on a poster in the breakroom. They are words to live by and leading by such values is more important now than it’s ever been.
Finally, we’ve seen an interesting shift in the work that our clients are doing. Many of them have shifted their work inward, focusing on things like internal communications, process improvement, media training, messaging strategy and content development; taking advantage of this time to better prepare themselves for our eventual return to normalcy.
And like many of them, I’m optimistic that such a return will happen and is virtually inevitable. If you look back on our history as a country, we’ve been through challenges before: depression, wars, terrorism, the financial crisis of the first decade of the 2000s and, each time we’ve ultimately come out ahead. I think that will be the case this time, as well. And I say that with the full acknowledgement and understanding that COVID is going to impact some people in deep and personal ways. But there will be a brighter future ahead.