It’s more than 25 years since Bob Hoskins (RIP) fronted an award-winning ad campaign for BT, reminding us to pick up the phone because “it’s good to talk”. And all these years later, this still rings [sic] true – even more so in today’s world of lockdowns. It’s not just good to talk… it’s essential!
Much has been made of maintaining lines of communication during these times of isolation and restricted movement. Family, friends, and work colleagues are all trying to stay safe and stay in touch. It’s good for lifting each other’s morale and it’s good for maintaining good mental health. Even if it’s in a virtual landscape, via Skype, Teams or Zoom, we need human contact for reassurance that we are not in this alone. For us as a creative marketing agency, this same approach to maintaining communication with our clients is just as vital - even more so now!
And the “why” may not be as obvious as you think. Of course, we want to ensure our clients and friends who we work with are okay. Of course, we want them to know we are here to help them in any way we can – that’s just what we do. And, of course, with self-interest, we also want to know how their business is coping right now, in these strange times so we can anticipate how it may immediately affect ours. This is perhaps unspoken but acknowledged and accepted.
But, perhaps more importantly is listening to our clients - understanding what decisions they are making and why. This is essential for planning. Not planning your day to day workload and studio time right now. I mean when this pandemic is under control and we are free once again to go about our business lives properly once again. Clients can provide much needed insight in this time of working from home often in isolation. Their reasons for making business decisions can influence how you can be prepared when we come out on what is currently so often referred to as “the other side”, and with the vaccination programme well under way, that time is coming.
What if your client makes some hard decisions now by pressing pause, to ensure viability and even create more opportunities when businesses start trading again? If you aren’t talking to your clients now, you may make assumptions like they are just cutting their losses. With ad revenues dropping, this would be an obvious conclusion to jump to, but a dangerous one to make all the same. We have clients who are making very agile, strategic decisions right now, and because we are in touch with them and understand their rationale, it helps us understand what we need to do now and what we will need to have in place in the (hopefully) not too distant future to help them achieve their goals.
We may have more time on our hands right now, so it’s sensible to use this wisely and spend time talking to clients. It’s an opportunity to get all of our ducks in a row.
Read more about the story behind the famous 1990’s ad campaign: (warning – subscription required)