id8's Tanya Swetta says the second pandemic wave found her PR firm better prepared than before

The pandemic hit all businesses, but the first in the line of fire was PR. The irony of this situation is that PR is the one most important tool that can help companies, brands, and services stay alive and invigorate the environment.

As the co-founder and CEO of my company for 20 years plus, this was an unprecedented situation, an unchartered territory, a road not traveled at all. I had to push my boundaries on the emotional, intellectual, and mental fronts whilst grappling with so many issues that one could not ever consider would arise. 

The first wave hit us like a Tsunami, we were "paused" on services from most of our brand partners, clients that we had been servicing for sometimes even more than a decade, Force Majeure was the client’s favorite word when citing contractual terms, plus there was a freeze on all payments. 

For agencies like ours, we depend on the cyclical payment schedules of our clients to pay our employees, vendors, and other third parties including ourselves, this put a huge amount of pressure on us as the leadership to come up with a solution that would work for the id8 family as a whole.

Once the initial dust had settled, we as a team decided to dive deep within ourselves and to strengthen our skills, and sharpen our service offerings.

The second Covid wave

By the time the second wave came around, we had a pivoted ourselves to id8 version 2.0! The better, faster, stronger, and more resilient one! This is what I would say is the major change that has come about in the public relations industry. Today, a public relations professional must be an all-rounder, he or she must be able to "take the bull by its horns”, tackle any situation that comes their way.

Deep research and knowledge-based strategies were always paramount but even more so now. Using the current trend and topics to your client’s advantage, being a wordsmith and adapting to the new normal in ways such as being comfortable on video calls, understanding how to create deeper engagements with peer groups and media online rather than offline, becoming creative with press releases (images, videos) - understanding and practicing the art of storytelling, these are some of the basics that we got into and started to implement. 

Moving ahead, I see that virtual is here to stay, we are veering towards a hybrid model, where we believe that one-to-one interaction and brainstorming, morale building sessions with teams in person is as important as safeguarding the health and safety of our id8 family! 

The art of presenting virtually, the knowledge of measurement of impact, and the deep understanding of how the consumer is taking in information will play a very important role in the future of PR. I believe that companies will start to depend a lot more on the tool of strategic Public Relations as for most of them, it would be of utmost priority to build trust with their customer, and PR has been known to historically do just that!

 Tanya Swetta, is co-founder and CEO, id8 Media Solutions