Corona time: agencies are not hair salons

Since 14 March 2020, my watch has been stopped at 20 minutes past ten. Time is standing still. Initially, my customary glance to my wrist conveyed a shock that it was already so late. Or I was pleasantly surprised at how much time I still had. I put my watch away. It is not possible to get the battery changed right now. My wrist feels unusually light.

Corona is changing our times, our day-to-day existence and our profession. One thing is certain: We will emerge from this crisis spick-and-span, all tidied up from basement to desk to attic, and optimally stocked and provisioned. Will we start calling this “corona-ing”? Enhanced domestic closeness, cocooning and social distancing also produce surprisingly warm feelings. In our high-density, cosmopolitan neighbourhood, it’s the evening household concerts on balconies and terraces: “Ode to Joy” played on recorder, saxophone and clarinet, the sweet notes borne upward upon the spring air....

Agencies are not hair salons. When the restrictions are lifted, people won’t be storming our offices to get their shaggy manes sheared. Events as we know them require time, planning, communication and execution. Even though the event industry was hit first, it will be among the last to recover fully. What can agencies do, except stretch our financial resources as far as possible and cut costs?

Corona time is “gifted time”. We’re using it to do our homework, finally realise long-planned aspects of our portfolio and ready our marketing strategy so that we can hit the ground running once the storm has passed. And naturally, we are putting a lot of thought into expanded business models for us as an agency. We are even going so far as to make substantial investments in these highly uncertain times: the great leap into web events, web networks and webcasts with our own online studio, our own topic format and the right offering for everyone who needs to send a message. Additionally, the reflection on our own unique selling points opens up new potential that transcends conventional events. Letting us see the opportunities – and grasp them. We cannot change corona. But we can set our own accents to our professional, social and domestic actions. New things can emerge when time stands still.

Dr. Achim Stegmann