Our new ‘business as usual’….

Some years ago, when I worked in-house at Jaguar Land Rover, I had the pleasure of working with one of the most inspirational PR professionals in my career, he was a chap called Jon Morgan.

Something he used to say when the sh*t hit the fan was ‘be that calm leaf on the stormy pond’. Sadly, Jon is no longer with us, and Jon wherever you may be, I wanted to let you know that I have been exercising this during this turbulent time.

With this in mind, I have been trying to find the positives that have come out of COVID-19. And while this has been a difficult time for so many people that I know, at the moment (while writing this) I am healthy and during lockdown I feel I have become a better professional, I have become a better husband and I have become a better father.

And it dawned on me the other day, after sitting through a number of back-to-back conference calls, that I had heard the phrase ‘when we get back to normal’ countless times. It got me thinking that we need to change this mentality, it is leading to people cancelling rather than postponing events or campaigns, freezing any future planning and we are simply killing our industry.

I’d like to point out those conference calls were with a mixture of colleagues, potential clients, clients, partners and journalists and this isn’t a finger wagging exercise, it is just my observation.

We simply don’t know exactly how long this current situation will prevail, but what we do know is that we aren’t going to wake up tomorrow, next week or even next month and go back to business as usual – this is our new business as usual, and this is our new normal and we need to accept and adapt to this, and many already are.

I have seen some of the best PR throughout my career in the midst of this pandemic. I am not talking about gimmicky PR for the sake of it or to get a few brownie points, but genuine and responsible stories from organisations supporting their communities while adapting and helping their businesses survive.

So, this is a quick note to say thank you to all of those PR and marketing departments, as well as the journalists, who have adapted to this new normal and for delivering when we all need you the most. For those who are struggling with the uncertainty during this difficult time, please hang in there. You must remember that all progress happens outside of our comfort zones – simply recognise the opportunities, recognise the challenges and go for it, and finally remember… be that calm leaf on the stormy pond.

Liam O’Neill





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