Yesterday was the launch of the 2020 Shaw Trust Disability Power 100, which we provided the copywriting for. This is the second time we’ve worked on this publication. You can read more about what we did first time we worked on #power100 here: https://wearecomma.com/project/campaign-of-power-for-all
The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100, an annual publication containing the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. It provides biographies of the top 100 along with feature articles and an interview with the person taking pride of place in the number one spot. It is unique in the UK and has become well known in the disability publication landscape.
The UK, and the world as a whole, is facing an unprecedent situation. Governments, healthcare professionals and scientists are still trying to figure out how to tackle Covid-19 and deal with its after affects. So it’s no surprise that many businesses are unsure of how to handle the situation. But there are ways to protect your business reputation during this time.
Hopefully you already have a business continuity plan in place. If you don’t, there are lots of places online which can provide a template for you to use. Some useful links and organisations are:
Business continuity plans often differ and there are various elements they may contain however some of the most important parts are:
Risk matrix: this helps a business see what scenarios could take place and then consider the likelihood. This then helps a business make sure they focus preparations on the most likely situations the business could face.
Potential scenarios: each business needs to take time with senior managers to brainstorm worst case scenarios, difficult scenarios and then less impactful issues which will affect business effectiveness but not require a shut down etc. These should then be RAG- rated. Though the BBC uses Gold, Silver and Bronze. The BBC has a great toolkit available here. This is where you need to add in the potential affects of coronavirus on your business. How will it affect your staff and customers? How will it affect the ability of your business to function?
Contact list: a vital part of your Business continuity plan is contact numbers. In an emergency everyone in leadership or vital roles need to be contactable. You should have your Business continuity plan team in place and they should all have their contact details on the form. Other organisations in your supply chain or partners you regularly work with are also useful to have on this list.
Checklist: This takes the person coordinating any event which interrupts business continuity through a list of things they need to do from building evacuation, calling emergency services, briefing staff etc depending on the situation. The checklist should be generic enough to be suitable for any emergency.
Activity log: This is vital, every detail of your business response must be recorded here. This document is vital and can be considered a legal document.
Evaluation and return to normal business: Once an emergency is over, your business needs to have a phased response to how the organisation returns to normal and then how the situation is evaluated to allow the business to avoid risk in future and/or better respond to emergencies.
Once you have created your business continuity plan make sure it is saved in multiple places in case of system failure. In addition, a hard copy needs to be available at every site your organisation operates from. Key members of staff need to know where it is so they can grab it in time of emergency. It’s also worth having other items like pen, pencil, spare mobile phone, torch and anything else you think you might need with it. These can be stored in a box file or bag.
Testing your Business continuity plan is vital. Tests can be run on desktops, talking through scenarios and response. It is ideal to have a real-time test scenario which involves all levels of staff at least once a year. Again, from these learnings the Business continuity plan should be updated. Your plan should be reviewed and updated at least once a year too.
The next step is to plan your communications. In an emergency situation you don’t want to be worrying about drafting statements to give to the media or other interested parties. Of course, emergency situations are fast moving and statements will need to change but you can certainly draft some statements, especially initial ones while you are establishing the facts of the situation, in advance. This helps put you on the front foot.
It is also useful to make sure you have someone who is responsible for the communications with different audiences – staff, customers, media, suppliers etc. This takes pressure off of the situation coordinator but the communications person should be working closely with them and the management team to make sure the right messages are getting out at the right time. If you don’t have someone you can trust to manage your business reputation, then make sure you know where to turn in a crisis. Even better, have support in place before you need it. Comma can give your business continuity plan a critical friend review and help with drafting your initial statements. We can also provide comms and media support in times of crisis, even setting up a temporary, mobile press office for your business if required.
Are you confident your business can weather any storm it faces? Do you have plans in place for dealing any negative effects of coronavirus?
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Top five tips on finding the right agency for you.
After the horrors of Halloween yesterday and some of the mistakes agencies can make,today we are focusing on how to find the right agency for you. Alastair Burns and Jayne Runacres, the partners at Comma, share their top five tips on finding the right agency for you.
1. Know what you want “Go to an agency with a problem you want to solve, whether it is moving up google rankings, better engagement with your customers or simply creating an eye-catching brand, it’s vital you know what you want to get out of it before you start” says Alastair. “That way you can measure success” adds Jayne.
2. Do your research “Looking at previous work is vital” says Alastair. “Design, in particular, is very subjective. This is not just about do you like their work but can they produce a range of styles because this shows they understand customer research.” “Look for testimonials, ask to speak to previous clients” says Jayne. “Also check their accreditations. I’m an accredited member of the Charted Institute of Public Relations. That means I have to undertake continuous professional development each year so I know what’s new and gain skills often.”
3. Be a culture vulture “This is really critical” says Jayne “We all only want to work with people we like, respect and feel we share values with. Find out if their values and purpose match yours.”
4. Meet them “All this research creates a strong foundation but there’s nothing like actually meeting the agency and finding out if you gel with them” says Alastair “we love to meet with potential clients and talk about how we can help them.”
5. Once you find a good agency don’t lose them “Often an agency becomes an extended member of the team. And just like any great member of staff, you don’t want to lose them.” Says Alastair. “We build long lasting relationships with our clients. We want them to succeed, we work to support them and ensure they can keep doing more good” says Jayne.
What are your top tips for finding – and keeping – a good agency?
Scary mistakes agencies make and how to avoid them.
Just in time for Halloween, there is plenty of horror around at the moment; Brexit and a general election looming for a start. We can’t do anything to fix that but Alastair Burns and Jayne Runacres, the partners at Comma, share their tips on finding the right agency for you.
“It can be scary to know where to start in finding the right agency to work with” says Jayne, Comma’s PR and Comms Partner. “You’re entrusting someone else with something precious, you want them to care for it as you do but also bring the extra skills, experience and creativity to take your organisation even further.”
“We have worked both in-house and at agencies so we know the benefit of finding the right balance to propel your brand forward” adds Alastair, Comma’s Creative Partner.
“A big mistake many designers – especially those who are newer in their career – make is to design for their portfolio instead of their client.” Says Alastair. “The right approach is always to design for your client. Doing that will mean effective design, which should definitely end up in your portfolio. Plus it will give you a more varied portfolio. A win-win for all involved.” Alastair concludes.
“Agencies are renowned for taking on more work than they can really handle. It often makes people wary of involving an agency. It happens in lots of industries and it’s an
understandable temptation when you’re running your own business. But often it can lead to not being able to give your clients the time and support they really need. This is basically a problem of how agile the agency is. And also how committed they are to their clients” adds Jayne.
“Another thing to avoid is choosing an agency which is a trend follower.” reveals Alastair. “It’s very easy to fall into the trap of following a style or trend that you want to replicate. But any designer worth their salt will start with research into your target audience. They will spend time considering what will engage and resonate with your customers. They will be working to create something which fits your brand, not just something trendy which is bolted on and in five to 10 years you won’t look back on fondly.” Alastair adds “By following proven research, a messaging process and development stages, the work produced not only is successful for the organisation but stands the test of time”.
“People can have the view that what we’re doing is some sort of dark arts, mystical activity” laughs Jayne “they’re afraid that the wool will be pulled over their eyes or that they just don’t understand design, marketing, communications and PR enough to know what questions to ask or how it should be measured.” “But” she adds “a good agency will explain all that to you. They should build a relationship with you.”
After the horror of Halloween, tomorrow for all saints day we will be looking at how to find the right agency for you.
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