I think it was Bob Hoskins who coined the phrase ‘it’s good to talk’ when he appeared in an advert for British Telecom in the 90s. Only four words, but boy have they made a difference over the past eight months.
Covid-19 has done its best to strangle any ‘social’ element out of life as we know it, causing a tragic number of deaths, economic hardship and, for many people, restricted face-to-face contact with people outside of immediate households.
In a nutshell, it has been shit and I would imagine there aren’t many individuals it hasn’t affected in some way, shape or form. With that in mind, it is probably more important than ever to check-in on your friends, family and loved ones to make sure they’re doing ok, but at the same time let’s not forget about colleagues, clients and suppliers.
These are often people we spend a good chunk of time with and, in our case, many have become close friends and sources of inspiration over the last seven years.
When we were working out how the pandemic was going to affect Cucumber PR, we did all the financial stuff like playing out worse case scenarios, identifying what small costs we could cut and where we might be able to find new contracts to offset the anticipated casualties of the pandemic.
Once we had got the numbers out the way, we made a mental commitment to try to keep in touch with suppliers who we may not use for a while and clients who may have to put us on hold or even cancel contracts.
As it turns out, we had five companies do just that. Two we don’t expect to come back, three we are still hopeful will return when budgets are finalised for next year and the uncertainty that has dominated 2020 will be a distant thing of the past.
We’ve spoken to all five of these businesses over the last eight months. Not because we’re trying to work out when they may ‘spend’ again, but just to check-in to see how things are going and how their families are doing? Two of them share the same football team so our check-ins have been a little more frequent, either enthusing over three points or lamenting VAR…again.
I think what has been noticeable from these calls is that it’s good to see a friendly face or talk to someone that isn’t in your immediate bubble. I’d like to think both of us have got something out of it; I know that I definitely have and I’ll continue to try to make time to keep in touch.
Will it result in business? No idea as we haven’t really discussed it and I don’t intend to. What I do know is that, at a time when social interaction has been ripped away from us, it has put a smile on my face.
And I won’t lie, I needed it as this week has been tough and I can’t even put my finger on why. So, cheers Bob, I’ll raise a heavenly pint to you and remember that ‘it’s good to talk’.