Words: Simeon de la Torre. Future readers please note: this article was published in June 2020, just as SIM7 returned to the studio following the COVID-19 lockdown…
Certainly, the past few months haven’t certainly been a walk in the park for my Bristol-based creative agency, but the crisis has presented me with some bright spots and even a few heart-warming moments.
Before I begin, I of course understand that many of us have faced dark, tough times recently. I also appreciate that there’s a long road ahead before we’re back to any kind of normality. But I feel it’s important to recognise that, in my small corner of the business community at least, there have been some rays of sunlight during lockdown that are worth celebrating.
Honesty shone through
It was SO refreshing to have frank, candid conversations with both suppliers and clients about the challenges that we were facing. Delays happened, family took priority, computers went down, everyone made mistakes… and we all just explained the situation to each other and moved on. No judgement, no hidden penalties.
Business became personal
I had calls with and received texts from all sorts of unexpected people. One of our competitors called to offer us a bit of business that they couldn’t take on; our clients checked-in to see if we were OK; someone from networking gave us a lead; a long-lost supplier sent their best wishes. We really were in it together – and long may it last.
The cliché is that, in times of trouble, marketing is the first budget to get hit. And that was certainly true for a couple of our clients who couldn’t possibly carry on trading. But many other clients doubled down. They realised that marketing was as critical and integral to their business as stock or suppliers, and we were proud to be able to do our bit to help them keep afloat.
Mental health mattered more
Some of our clients asked us to work on internal projects that provided support, flexibility and understanding to members of their team who were struggling with the mental rigours of lockdown. Bravo to those companies – you know who you are.
People got creative
From TikTok to the Boss Bitch Fight Challenge and from chalking on pavements to Zoom pub quizzes, it’s been a joy to see so many people creating stuff – and also to see it being appreciated on social media. As the head of a creative agency, it’s made my mind fizz: can we get even more creative in what we do for our clients? Will they appreciate our efforts? Yes and yes are the answers to those questions. Watch this space.
The SIM7 team done good
You know that bit – it used to happen in Western movies quite a lot – when the heroes are surrounded but they stand back-to-back and come out fighting? That was what it felt like for the SIM7 team at times, but we were wielding Macs, pens and keyboards.
Thinking about it, this is quite a tortured metaphor but what I’m trying to say is: THANK YOU.
We won two new clients!
And that was in week two of lockdown. Fancy that.
It was an opportunity to reassess
We’re going to tweak what we do and how we work as an agency. Nothing major; just an emphasis on different areas of our business (which I’ll bore you about another time). But all over LinkedIn and in the conversations I’m having with people who run businesses and charities, things are changing. For the better. Many have re-evaluated what’s important to them and are heading off in a slightly different direction or creating better ways of working. And that’s very, very exciting.
As I mentioned earlier, I know that this COVID-19 crisis isn’t over yet. There’ll be setbacks and challenges and maybe even difficulties ahead. But at least I know that I’ll be heading into them alongside a lot of people in business who have turned out to be pretty bloody brilliant. As soon as the pubs open, I’ll buy you all a pint*. Cheers!
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