Beattie, the integrated communications agency, has come through the COVID crisis and emerged stronger than ever.

A shocking 49% of our fee income disappeared overnight when the pandemic struck but it spurred us to take decisive action to thrive, not just survive.

We immediately put 26 members of staff on furlough and with our offices closed and travel curtailed we dramatically slashed our outgoings.

I, for instance, stopped taking a salary. We cut subscriptions, the purchase of newspapers and the cleaning of empty offices.

At one stage, we looked at closing one of our offices but fortunately that was a step we did not need to take.

I’m pleased to say that we streamlined our operations by sweeping aside profit centre barriers so that everyone could work together as a united team to deliver digital, PR, social, creative and content services to our many clients.

We were extremely grateful to those clients who stuck with us despite their own pain and, as you would expect, we proved our worth by adapting our services to meet their needs which, on occasion, meant morphing ourselves into business consultants.  

We did not abandon clients who had turned the tap off or cut our fees. We upped our game and continued to support them. That, of course, paid dividends, as it put us at the head of the queue to resume work as their situations improved.

Just because we were in the midst of a storm, we saw no reason to stop our own marketing activities, and I’m delighted to report, that we have reeled in a substantial amount of new business that’s helped to make up for the loss of clients that went bust.

We have gradually brought most of our people back from furlough but we’ve been forced to cut our cloth to match our income. Unfortunately, it’s meant parting company with a few well-loved and, in some cases, long serving colleagues.

That was a painful experience for us all and, it goes without saying, that we’re doing everything in our power to help these great people find new jobs.

Of course, we’re now facing the prospect of a grim recession. Some say it will be the worst since the great depression when soup kitchens popped up in towns and cities across the country.

I’m pretty sure it won’t come to that. Nonetheless, we are preparing ourselves for a long and tough journey.

Having learned lessons while battling COVID, we’re going to grow the B2B side of our business while further expanding digital, data and social media and we’ll focus even more on healthcare, fintech and our business transformation services.  

When old hands leave, we’ll replace from within to give our passionate young colleagues the opportunity to blossom and grow.  More responsibility for more of our people will be our rallying cry.

Lots of great people are currently looking for jobs in the marketing sector and our stated objective will be to recruit top talent who can bring a client book with them.

We’ll also look at acquiring creative agencies that are in trouble. We have the financial resources and support systems in place to turn damaged businesses around.

We could not have done what we’ve achieved without the wholehearted support of our people and the leadership of our CEO Laurna Woods. I would like to thank each of them all from the bottom of my heart.

Times are tough in the world of business right now, but Beattie Communications is leaner, healthier and fitter than it has ever been.