The PR landscape is a constantly evolving beast – with the last ten years bringing with it more twists and turns than a ride at Disneyland. Add a pandemic into the mix, and you’ve got the biggest twist of them all. COVID-19 is providing tumultuous times for all businesses across the board – and PR agencies are not immune. So how are they dealing with this latest aberration?
To find out, we reached out to Jessy Marshall – the founder of Hive HQ, a boutique PR specialising in beauty, fashion and lifestyle. With Jessy and her team currently working with some of Australia’s leading brands and game-changing clients, she opens up to us about how her agency is keeping business on track amidst the continuing unfolding developments of COVID-19.
Supporting clients of all sizes
In light of the current situation, we are providing support to our clients in whatever way we can. As the majority are e-commerce-based businesses, we are ensuring they have content to stay relevant with their consumer during these times – including putting in place continued influencer partnerships, organising collaborations with like-minded brands, as well as facilitating long lead media requests and short lead press stories. We are working with our clients in an individual and tailored way, not one of them has the same strategy in place.
Managing self isolation and working remotely
Our bees have been working from home the last week. We have shifted our morning WIP meeting to FaceTime. We do these first thing in the morning to discuss priorities. Our WIP discusses clients, where we are at, and if anything needs to be sent out. At the moment, I action any send-outs personally, working with our courier company to do so. Before the end of the day, each team member sends a short daily wrap up to update the team on anything outstanding or progress otherwise.
We are keeping conversation upbeat and making as much fun as possible, whether it is sending each other some positive inspiration or a funny meme we have seen. Internally, we are prioritising communication as this will ensure we are cohesive and socially supported whilst isolated.
Communication and mood boosting
As things are changing daily, it is a priority that we stay in constant contact with our brands – this is a general rule of ours anyway as it allows us to pivot quickly if need be. Consistent communication also lessens anxiety. We work with our clients as if they are our own businesses. We understand the importance of keeping our clients as up-to-date as possible while at the same time forging strong relationships with media, influencers and other like-minded brands.
We are also keeping in touch with media to ensure we can be there for them during this time. Our established relationships mean we can keep the conversations light – which is a nice change of pace for many in this time of uncertainty. Supporting our media relationships by sending product requests, emailing them to check in or having a quick phone call is a priority. A lot of the media are now working from home and this can be isolating, so we just want to ensure we can help them, their work and perhaps be the mood boosters!
As well as running Hive HQ, I am the co-founder of Rogue The Podcast. We began the podcast to create a more cohesive and collaborative PR industry. Through both Hive HQ and Rogue, we have been talking with other PR agencies and freelancers to ensure we can help in any way possible. Whether it is a quick call or email, seeing if we can offer them work, brainstorm ideas or create a brand partnership. Working as a collective has never felt more needed.
Key business impacts of the virus and how Hive is managing them
A severe setback has been the cancellation of events. Providing products to media and influencers has also been impacted, although with appropriate planning, is still achievable at this stage. We have pivoted by gaining home addresses if required for media send-outs, remaining in touch with our courier company on any changes, and ensuring we have given high res imagery to media. Our approach is about giving as much, if not more, information to those who need it whether that be a client, media or industry contact.
The inability to forecast how long this may last is creating a great uncertainty. It’s a tumultuous time for the media as they work on possible unknown future issues as well as immediate concerns. Good PR means being across lead times and being empathetic with story ideas. We are that key link between our media relationships and our clients, and this means navigating when to push back timeframes or pull them forward if necessary.
We want to ensure whatever we are doing, it is in the best interest of everyone: our brands, relationships, and teams. For example, if we know we have a new product launch in November, the key for now is remaining adaptable to the needs of the rapidly changing environment and fitting that launch into a timeframe that will satisfy all stakeholders.
At Hive HQ we believe in creating honey, whether it be a new industry relationship, creating a brand strategy, gaining our clients press, or maximising our brands’ visibility. This is something out of our control at the moment, however, ensuring our Australian brands have our support and feel confident in our next steps will ensure these brands stay current and known.
HIVE HQ brands you should be following:
- Bangn Body https://www.bangnbody.com
- Daily Naturals https://dailynaturals.com.au
- Damn Gina https://www.damngina.com.au
- Etoile Collective https://www.etoilecollective.com.au
- La Beach https://labeachbeauty.com
- Press Beauty https://pressbeauty.com.au
- Rawkanvas https://rawkanvas.com
- Renya Xydis (Valonz & Salon X By Renya Xydis) https://www.valonz.com.au
- Tribe Skincare https://tribeskincare.com.au
- Jackie Mack Designs https://www.jackiemackdesigns.com
- Midnight Mischief https://www.midnightmischief.com.au
- Prene Bags https://www.prenebags.com
- UNE PIECE https://unepiece.com
- Beauty Bags for Bushfire Hero’s by Victoria Baron and Jennifer Kate McCloy https://www.foryoucollective.com
- Pink Hope https://pinkhope.org.au
All images feature HIVE HQ founder Jessy Marshall and her team/clients.