Here at Stand, we have a morning Stand Up meeting first thing where one of us presents on a topic of our choice, such as talking about which podcasts we’re listening to, great recipes or book recommendations. This week’s was led by Lucy Chapple, our head of client strategy, who’s topic of choice was supporting small business.
According to DofE research, 43% of teenagers have never campaigned on an issue that matters to them. I wonder with the strength of feeling behind #BlackLivesMatter if this is still the case? It’s not for me.
On Saturday 6 June, me, two friends and one of their mums attended the peaceful protest in Parliament Square in London. We chanted, we sang and we shouted the names of black people who have been affected by police brutality. We then joined a minute’s silence and knelt on the floor for those whose names we don’t know. We then marched to the US embassy and asked the police “who do you protect?”.
Brand purpose has become more central to our discussions over the years, claiming a coveted seat at panel discussions. You know the sort, where woke creative types with sombre expressions, quirky glasses and a righteous keep cup gather to talk about important things. I go to them too, with my keep cup – it’s made with recycled materials, thank you very much.
I’m not imagining the rise of brand purpose. I like evidence. A quick nosey around Google Trends will show you how the global search volumes for the term ‘brand purpose’ have been on the rise over the last five years.
The PR industry has evolved a great deal over time, with the original focus solely on securing coverage, to adapting broad offerings, much like the services offered at Stand – including digital, strategy, insight and creative. However, while excelling in these areas, it’s still important that agencies deliver outstanding results when it comes to coverage. Getting news in the paper, online and on the TV and radio may be harder on some days than others, but once you understand what makes a story, and you push your team in that direction, coverage should follow – right?
Yesterday the Johnson government unveiled a new phased plan to ease the lock down, and with it a shiny new slogan, ‘Stay alert. Control the Virus. Save Lives’. The internet was quick to hand down its verdict on the new messaging, with memes mocking the ‘vague and meaningless’ strap-line appearing within minutes of Johnson’s tweet. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon was an early critic, dismissing the new slogan outright. This morning, most media commentators have lambasted the ‘stay alert’ directive as a communications blunder with big consequences for the Government and it’s Covid strategy, which relies on public support and compliance.
In our second year working with the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction, we’ve found ourselves pitching the story to the press in amongst an incredibly unpredictable and competitive media landscape. Headlines are rightfully dominated by news around the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic, and media outlets are increasingly offering support and guidance to the public on how to navigate our temporary ‘new normal’.
It’s amazing how powerful a human connection can be when we see beyond someone’s professional façade and catch a glimmer of their real life in all its chaotic, mundane glory.
After five weeks in lockdown, the surprise appearance of small children in business video conferences now feels completely normal. People’s pets regularly grace my screen. I’ve seen piles of washing-up in my colleagues’ kitchens, and they’ve seen mine.
We shut the Stand office and started to work remotely nearly four weeks ago. Twenty people scattered across the country, rather than in an open plan office in WC1. It’s this change in environment I’ve found the toughest. For an extrovert, who gets their energy from others, I’ve found the need to call, video or text, rather than wander and talk, quite exhausting. Not just at work, but with family and friends. I miss the interaction, the noise, the physical presence of others. I’ve had to entertain myself, rather than get my buzz from people and activities around me. But I’ve learnt that I don’t need to be ‘busy’ all the time. That drive to ‘use every moment’ and ‘live life to the full’ comes from me, and I am not sure what it achieves. I definitely don’t want to self-isolate on a permanent basis, but it is OK to do nothing sometimes.
Wednesday 18th March, 5pm was a life-defining moment for many parents. It was when the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced that schools would be closed ‘until further notice’.
For a few years now the creative industries, particularly here in the UK, have been talking about flexible, borderless, digital-only ways of working. And we’ve been smug about it. Priding ourselves at being able to hot-desk, dial in, track changes, screen share and Slack our way to producing creative work.