Hear from our co-founders on the challenges of launching an agency during COVID-19

Earlier this month our founders Corinna and Ellen spoke to PR Week about the challenges of launching an agency just days before the pandemic:

“We launched in March 2020, mere days before the world went into lockdown. We went from excitedly planning ‘IRL’ events and campaigns for clients such as lululemon; to working from home (kids in tow!) wondering how the heck we were going to navigate the situation. Here’s how we did it…”

Co-founders Corinna Field and Ellen Durrant

Why did you decide to launch an agency during COVID-19?

We didn’t so much decide to launch during COVID-19, it’s more that COVID-19 decided to arrive during our launch. We always expected curveballs, but that had to be one of the biggest.

What has been the major challenge in launching and running an agency during COVID-19?

Driving new business when suddenly our tried and tested methods of networking and face-to-face contact were no longer an option. Never had we needed more tenacity and sheer determination to identify new opportunities to grow the business. Nurturing our fantastic young team virtually was a key consideration; we needed to be creative in how we built a welcoming and inviting agency culture at a distance.

What has been the major opportunity/surprise you’ve encountered?

As they say: out of crisis comes opportunity, and we certainly lived that. We decided early on to go after sectors that were adapting well, from online retail [to] delivery and subscription services. As a generalist PR start-up, we could be nimble, and we took advantage of that.

We started seeing a greater inclination from clients to try new routes to success; trusting us with creatively reaching their audiences in ways that they wouldn’t have considered before the pandemic.

How optimistic are you now that the world has reopened?

Very optimistic. The past eighteen months have really brought PR to mainstream conversation. From the PR disasters and victories alike, never has communicating the right message in the right way been so valued. It’s great to see brands continue to embrace the industry and we’re excited to see what we can continue to achieve as life moves towards getting back to normal. We’re also equally cheery about being back together in the office, not to mention the resurgence of the PR lunch and the return of air kissing!

Red Lion at launch, days before lockdown...