FRIEL

COVID-19 Business Case Study 
As an agency still in its infancy and with a several clients in the construction sector, Friel was especially hit by the closure of sites and shared the same concerns as many SMEs around the fear of the unknown. 

Published in Suffolk and Norfolk Director Magazines, Summer/Autumn 2020

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Marketing and Communications

Founder and Director, Clare Friel explains. 

“In the early days of COVID-19, it was really the “unknown” element that affected us. Our workstream temporarily froze as the world waited and watched for guidance from the Government. The pause button was hit for many, which in turn had a knock-on effect for us. We held our breath for what seemed an eternity waiting for the answers to the many questions we had as a young small business. 

Virtual communication became key to us adapting to the circumstances. And in fact, we found ourselves speaking to clients even more as everyone migrated to platforms such as Zoom and Teams. We’ve loved seeing a different side to our clients, meeting their spouses, children and pets whilst everyone has been working from home. 

Pivot rather than pause

The strategies and plans for 2020 that we had worked so hard on with our clients felt a little redundant in the early days of COVID-19. However, we were quick to adopt the approach of needing to pivot, not pause. We knew that the worst thing for companies to do was to stop all marketing and communication activity, so we revisited plans with clients and looked at what was still relevant, what could be used but needed to be adapted, and what was completely irrelevant in the current climate. Sometimes key messages and tone of voice were changed, the “hard-sell” was removed and a more personable approach was adopted. 

A positive for us has been that Coronavirus gave us time to look at our business model and re-evaluate the direction we wanted to go in. This led to some restructuring of the team and the appointment of our new Digital Marketing Manager, Tom Cox. His expertise and background in paid digital campaigns provides another dimension to the team and our offering as an agency. 

Remaining united

Important to me was that the team still felt united and we kept our company culture alive. So, we had Zoom team quizzes and virtual drinks every Friday. We even had a Zoom pamper and cocktail making evening to celebrate our first birthday! I now feel the team is stronger and more motivated that it was pre-pandemic! 

Ensuring our business plan is adaptable and flexible has been our biggest lesson learnt. Our personal and professional lives have changed as a result of Coronavirus and as we get used to the new “normal” (whatever that ends up being), I think the pandemic has taught every business owner or leader a lesson or two. 

Personally, I have learnt that change is ok

Whether your business is big or small, national or regional, no one saw this coming, so even the best-laid plans had to be changed. No one had a crystal ball back in March 2020 and I’m proud of the way Team Friel reacted and supported our clients. Were we prepared for a global pandemic? No. But I don’t think even Jeff Bezos saw this one coming! 

FRIEL 1

Clare Friel is Director and Founder of Friel. For more information: E: clare@frielgood.com or visit: frielgood.comTwitter:Friel

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