On 9/11 I was working as a copywriter in an ad agency. We gathered in the boardroom and watched as the towers fell. What followed was utter disbelief and a sharp realisation that life had changed for good. The circumstances are totally different, of course, but the events of this week, the speed at which the situation has evolved, and the feeling that the world is facing a huge shift are very much the same.
We are not key workers; we don’t save lives, we don’t educate children. Yes, we can plan a conference for 300 with our eyes shut; we can throw a party or event that’s planned to perfection. Need a rebrand, a comms campaign, some print, digital support – we’re your team.
But key to the world continuing to spin on its axis? Nope.
Yet, since Boris’s first press conference, we have been contacted by clients confirming that they really need our support in order to keep their businesses going in what is an increasingly challenging time. A chain of pubs facing no customers, the grower with no RHS shows to attend, the wedding venues with a list of devastated brides, not to mention the charities we are committed to helping, which are now facing even greater struggles in our community.
We have events planned and booked until the end of the year and this week has tested the team’s ability to react, adapt and plan – but with a calm and steely resolve, we’ve worked on a programme of rolling deferment, protecting our clients’ deposits, reassuring confirmed delegates and collaborating with sponsors, partners and venues to maintain the relationships we’ve worked hard to build.
We’ve quickly moved to remote working (more than once I have caught Courtney saying well, if we had a paperless office…) and the team has been amazing in supporting Anna and me in this trickiest of times. We’re lucky enough to work with a great team and a lot of freelancers who are perfectly placed to keep our business going. I know that not only will DRIVE get through this, but that the clients with whom we work – with whom we have become the greatest of friends – will too.
Stay well everyone!