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Truth, Justice and the American Way

The 2020 US Presidential election was never going to be simple, straightforward or dull.

However, good old Superman’s catchphrase of ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ has arguably never been under more threat. 

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News PR

DTW rises in annual Top 50 Northern PR companies list

Some great news to start the month of October! DTW has risen three places to #23 in respected trade website Prolific North’s annual list of Top 50 public relations companies across the north of England. 

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Latest News PR Strategy

Standing up for communications professionals

It’s not been a good week for Government communicators and public relations professionals in the UK. Our MD Chris Taylor takes issue with anonymous briefings about spin doctors, the plans to massively cut UK Government comms activity and the challenges ahead.

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#teamDTW Latest News PR

Kitchens, motorhomes and spare rooms – lockdown life at DTW

It has been a crazy ten weeks or so. Chris Taylor, DTW Managing Director, gives his take on life running an agency in lockdown.

Firstly, my heart goes out to everyone who has suffered or lost someone they care about to Covid-19 (or anything else) over recent months.

Secondly, I’m sure most people would join me in paying tribute to the amazing work done by NHS, social care and other frontline key workers. You’ve been awesome. Thank you.

Moving into the DTW world, we closed our office on Friday 13 March. Since then the team has been working remotely – some in spare rooms, at kitchen tables and even in motorhomes on the drive.

In all honesty, we thought we’d be away for a few weeks rather than several months. But it feels like lots has changed since 13 March.

A massive thank you to our team, our clients and our partners for everything you have done to work with us over the last ten weeks. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

Here’s a few takeaways from agency life in lockdown.

Content is still king

Everything has been urgent and important. Almost every piece of content or campaign that was planned back in January/February now feels like it’s from a different age or another planet.

Marketing and communications activity has often been leading the way as organisations re-adjusted to the world changing around them. Digital channels became even more important and we all had to learn a whole new Covid-19 language and apply it quickly.

The engagement levels for the campaign work we’ve been doing with fresh, relevant and appropriate content have increased. Turnaround times have been remarkable. People have responded to the challenge.

Talk to people. Even better, listen to them

Staff, clients, partners. Listen and understand their challenges and work with them. Video chats may not be perfect but with technology being updated constantly, they are becoming more and more effective. We’re making huge use of them. Keep your camera on for small group discussions. Eye contact is important.

Remember that people of all ages have faced very different personal choices and challenges over the past two months. From a leadership perspective, keep in touch so you understand what the problems are before you try to provide solutions.

Leadership matters

Whether it’s with colleagues, your family, your local community, or across your professional network. Communication, honesty and quick and clear decision-making are all important.

We shared our 12-week emergency plan with the team on 26 March. It was critical in showing the way forward and keeping us focused. We’re working on the plan for the next 12 months now we’ve had a chance to take stock and work out what the ‘new normal’ might look like.

Events, dear boy, events….

I don’t often quote Lenin, and certainly not in combination with Macmillan, but 101 years ago he said “There are decades where nothing happens, and then there are weeks where decades happen.” We’ve just been through some of them.

 The pace of events and change has been phenomenal. Just from a DTW perspective, we’ve been commissioned for major new projects, some clients have increased marketing investment – recognising that it’s a good time to get noticed if others are scaling back, and others have cut their investment while they work on their own emergency plans.

Whatever your plan is or was, you have to be nimble, flexible or agile (insert your own buzzword here). But stick to your principles and values and make sure your actions reflect your words.

We’ve furloughed a couple of members of staff who couldn’t work due to much lower demand for certain services.

The human impact for many people has of course been much more profound. You can’t forget that.

Be prepared for next time

Updating our business continuity plan over the years was never a task any of us looked forward to with much relish, but I’m glad we invested time and money in doing it. Covid-19 has pushed through major organisational changes around the world that would have taken years otherwise.

Similarly, any business needs some cash reserves. Your rainy day fund (note the irony of the best British spring weather ever) is there for a reason. This has been it.

Covid-19 has challenged us like never before but this preparation and planning meant our emergency 12-week plan was implemented almost immediately. Now we truly understand the importance of business continuity and expecting the unexpected. Preparation is key.

Look after yourself

You can’t take care of others if you’re silently drowning. Much more qualified people than me have given much better advice about the importance of looking after yourself. They’re all correct. The CIPR’s mental health resources are a great place to start if you’re looking for support.

Looking back, my stress level first peaked early on the morning of 12 March when reading about hospitals in Italy being overwhelmed, as I lay in bed with a cold. I was back there a couple of times that first fortnight in particular. Support from the team, friends and family and going on a daily bike ride with my amazing kids kept me sane.

So, what happens next?

In one way, nothing has changed. We carry on providing an important and valuable service for our clients, and I’ve never been prouder of the work our team delivers.

In every other way, almost everything has changed. We’re not all going back to the office any time soon. Working from home is working fine.

More importantly right now, it’s the best way we can contribute to keeping everybody as safe and well as we can and preventing a second wave.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe everyone. See you all on the other side.

Chris

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#teamDTW News

Construction facing the ‘new normal’ as it comes out of Covid

This morning I joined the first in a series of new ‘Coming out of Covid webinars’, all focused on the impact of Covid-19 on the infrastructure and construction sector.

Today’s topic was a nice easy one to start with…..“With the easing of the lockdown, what is the new normal for construction?”

Hosted by Infrastructure Intelligence (it’s worth signing up to their twice weekly newsletter if you don’t already) it was a really thought-provoking and interesting session.

We heard from Georgia Hughes from Arcadis, Hannah Vickers, Chief Executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, Matt Blackwell from Costain and Mark Coates from Bentley Systems. They each talked about how their organisations are changing for the future.

My key takeaways were:

  • The new normal will be very different to the old normal. The changes made in the last ten weeks that will last for ten years and more. Look forwards, not backwards. Embrace digital technology, kids occasionally joining in on Teams calls and expect the unexpected.
  • What we build for the future is going to change, as well as how we build it. As a result of Covid-19, local community business hubs, business tourism and bike lanes for rural communities are all going to be in demand moving forward. Processes and finances are being turned on their head as well.
  • Take staff and clients with you on the journey – communication is critical. Keep it simple, keep it regular and listen to what people say. Adopting new technology is great, but it’s the people behind it that are going to make our future a success.

Oh, and the technology worked a treat. Well done to Andy Walker and the Infrastructure Intelligence team – looking forward to the next one.

Stay safe.

Thanks for reading

Chris

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#teamDTW Latest News

DTW – how to get in touch during the coronavirus lockdown

We hope you’re all well and staying safe. Please read the information below on how to contact #teamDTW during this time.

Our team are working and we’re here to help our clients. But we know it’s not business as normal for anyone.

Obviously, in light of the ongoing coronavirus situation, DTW is adopting a more agile way of working to ensure our clients get the same great service until things change and we are all able to move around again.

All of our team members are working remotely. We’re fully set up to work from home and lots of us have done this on a regular basis in recent years.

If you want to get in touch with a member of the team but don’t have their contact details please email office@dtw.co.uk and we will pick up your message and come back to you right away.

Stay safe everyone. See you on the other side.