28 Dec 2020 Hindsight. 2021 Foresight
As a PR crisis tactician by trade, anticipating and planning for change and disruption is in my blood. 2020 was so much more than a prolonged crisis, it was a cascade of confusion, fear, misinformation, selflessness, selfishness and endless adaptation. The virus, economic shutdown, weather events, social injustice, toxic politics, and a very segmented America created a world that was difficult to recognize.
We are a strategic communications agency; our job is to purposefully convey messages to targeted audiences on behalf of our clients. We are on the frontline of changing behaviors. It is our job to persuade; to present our client’s message. But amidst unprecedented partisanship, we were challenged: why persuade when you can pummel? Even the unwritten rules of responsibility seemed at risk of obsolescence. While we selectively craft messages, truth should be inviolate.
Our value to clients ranges from generating feel-good PR to deliberate problem solving. Everything we do starts with an idea. Ideas have to be fleshed out and executed – none of this is possible without our employees.
Under ordinary circumstances, our profession demands that we create on command. Factor in all that 2020 threw at us, and it became even more challenging to find inspiration and hold integrity high. The antibody to this psychic virus was to support each other, to draw upon our collective creativity and shared commitment to our craft and our clients.
And then there were the creative agency work-related pressures: Can we keep our payroll going? Are we delivering a work product that reflects our collective talent? Are we communicating with each other? Together we learned to continually gauge and course-correct and show each other support. Holding ourselves accountable to each other was an effective way of remembering our value to colleagues and to clients.
Good employees inspire – to every member of the GH family, thanks for being my inspiration this year.
Of course, our firm was not alone. This has been a year where many business owners have deliberately extended their personal emotions to include their employees: Are they safe? Are they adjusting? Are they protecting themselves and others? Are they practicing mindfulness?
And how do we continue to provide value to our clients and customers?
As businesses, we adapted, but we did not lose sight of who we are and what we do.
I am very proud of the GH team and our remarkable clients. They stayed true to the sense of purpose, values and mission that guided them through the years leading up to 2020.
We all have our superpower, and we’ve had it all along.
Bring it on, 2021.
This post was first published on LinkedIn.
Public Relations specialist Bridget Paverd is a founding partner of GillespieHall. The firm is retained by global organizations to manage their reputation and enhance their relevance. A recognized crisis communications strategist, Paverd has led GillespieHall to become the most awarded and influential Public Relations firm in the region. Paverd also teaches crisis media management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy Delaware Business Times