Confronting Crisis: from March despair to Brighter Days

Confronting Crisis: from March despair to Brighter Days

Riki's end of year note: 22 Dec 20

As I start to clear the decks for the holidays and shut up shop, I’m looking around our office and it’s time to reflect on a crazy year. Reading through some of my entries from March and April is a firm reminder of how bleak things were back in Spring time, but as we finish up for 2020, I’m seriously proud of what the team at RNN Communications and I have achieved.

There’s no sugar coating that back in April - it was one of our worst months in business. A hard pill for me to swallow but in the greater scheme of things, not my number one concern back then. As I got my head in gear pretty quickly and started to focus on what we could achieve, how we could serve our clients better, be seriously flexible in our approach, add new services and really deliver – the tide turned.

By focusing on what we could control, delivering greater service, being grateful for what we have - we manifested new business. And more new business. And new services. And faced one of my fears in implementing a long-held ambition for the team and I, which reshaped the structure of our business, our working days and our life balance (more news on this in 2021).

Quiet birthday celebrations in summer. Riki pictured with her friends. Pic credits: Paul Moane

November 2020 was one of our best months in business, and for this, I’m forever grateful.

Ten highlights over the past ten months have been:

  1. Microsoft Teams - investing in new computers and software for everyone. Ok, so we paid through the nose for new laptops but they have delivered and make our working lives more efficient, effective and streamlined.
  2. Delivering home offices to the team - proper office chairs, a set up that would be beneficial to WFH - and again was a hugely beneficial move as I doubt that any of us thought that this would go on for quite so long
  3. Being flexible. Delivering incredible ideas and campaigns for clients at break neck speed. Creating fundraising initiatives like Ireland’s first-ever virtual golf week, delivering a TV partnership that delivered 130 pieces of national and local coverage and a 400% increase in participation y-o-y; a new e-commerce client trusting us with their marketing, bringing in new specialists in SEO and PPC, and as a team TRIPLING sales in five months
  4. Being of value. Whether that was via delivering new programmes or helping our clients by redirecting our efforts into their internal comms
  5. Seriously investing in new programmes for planning, optimising and evaluating our social media campaigns for clients - we manage almost 30 accounts so a slick system is of incredible value
  6. Extending our remit to deliver social media strategy and campaigns for clients in several European markets (and in diff languages!)
  7. Introducing social media audits as a new service. Not a quick review, but a deep dive into social accounts, competitor accounts, new content creation tools etc - leaving the client with a truly valuable document and recommendations that can take their accounts from good to exceptional
  8. Rewarding the team by ensuring that their efforts were recognised and that reviews were implemented.
  9. Furthering our sustainability goals and becoming a partner organisation with the Responsible Plastic Management Programme
  10. My commitment to study. I became a Chartered PR Practitioner with the CIPR back in May – a lifetime ago. Following this, I committed to studying the learnings of quantum physics with a mentor, which I truly believe has shaped our company’s progression – and which I’m 100% committed to moving forward

Despite the current environment, the fluidity of this year and the many disappointments, I’m excited by what’s in store in 2021 as the year progresses. We will have to navigate many challenges in Q1 but the optimist in me is alive.

I’m honestly very thankful and grateful to have an effective team that can really work from home. We may have been ‘all in this together’ back in March time but as the year has progressed, the severity of this crisis has been vastly different for many - both in their businesses and personal lives – and through no fault of their own.

Business is one thing, but to those who are risking their lives for us, or have suffered from terrible tragedy and sickness, my heart goes out to you. Let’s stay safe and hold on to the hope that brighter days are in sight.

Riki Neill, 22 Dec 2020