Livin’ la Vida Lockdown

By Kim Browne

Mayday, mayday – we have a problem. The world around us has gone mad! How did we get to May even? There we were in February, still basking from the afterglow of the December holidays and bam – along came March, which is now May… We’re still here, which says something. We’ve progressed to Level 4 Lockdown with more businesses opening up daily and anticipation that we’ll go to Level 3 by end-May. The optimist that I am takes comfort in these baby steps.

The horror of seeing people “shopping” for scraps in the bins parked outside a residential estate on garbage collection day, the closure of magazine businesses I grew up with, successful airlines going into business rescue, so many jobs lost – who would have thought this would be our reality in 2020?

More than ever there is no shame in admitting that we are not okay, and we need to help each other to get through this. Business is a disaster for almost everyone, with clients cancelling long term contracts, because they too are struggling to pay salaries and keep afloat. Business preservation for a post COVID-19 world is mission critical – especially for small businesses like ours, so we’re speaking from experience.

As the prolific aviation writer Benet Wilson famously said: “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures”. At Twisted Toast we’ve adapted the second part of his quote to: We see a business need that needs to be filled, and we’re stepping in to help. Channelling the Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas from 1947, we will not “go gentle into that good night”. We intend to “rage against the dying of the light”.

But what do we mean? Firstly, we closed Twisted Toast’s physical office a few days before lockdown – moving computers and setting up The Toasters to work from home indefinitely. Two weeks prior to that we moved our software engineer to his home office. We have been working through the entire lockdown period from home, with daily Zoom meetings with the Toast team to ensure we stay connected and spread the load. Our team has been simply amazing, working weekends and late at night to meet client deadlines when required. Incredibly, we feel more connected than ever.

It doesn’t help to bemoan the business we’ve lost during this time, or the fact that we have not received any government or other relief funding. Yes, the entire TT Team have had to take salary cuts. Positively there have been no retrenchments at The Toast. To survive we have to look forward. We also know that in order to endure, it is critical for brands to communicate – even more so than before. Businesses must pivot rapidly and fully to whatever their new normal is going to be.

One thing is for sure – we’re never going back to exactly how things were before. COVID-19 has forever changed us. The trick is to harness what we can during this time and build on it as we hurtle into the future. If you’re innovating and trying something new, people are less critical of the mistakes you might make right now. They’re more impressed with the fact that you are out there, sticking your neck out. It’s terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. We believe we can come out stronger together on the other side. Reinvent your business. Digital is no longer a nice to have, it’s a have to have. Give it a try. We’re here to help you do it!

We’re not saying throw out the old. We believe in a hybrid approach. When we find our new normal, there will be space for both old and new. And during your businesses journey to a new destination, you need to communicate along the way – otherwise you’ll be muted out. No-one will remember your name.

I want to thank our clients who are sticking with us and for every little piece of work that comes our way, no matter how small. We truly appreciate it. We’re in this together.

#staysafe #savelives #winteriscoming