Telum Talks To... Lars Voedisch, Founder & Managing Director, PRecious Communications

Telum Talks To... Lars Voedisch, Founder & Managing Director, PRecious Communications

Telum spoke to Lars Voedisch about life at PRecious Communications during the pandemic and how brands can make their message stand out in the midst of COVID-19 stories.

How has the circuit breaker affected work-life at PRecious Communications?
At PRecious, we are still trying to find ways to get better at this. We have been trying the usual mix of video calls, messaging apps, emails and some collaboration tools - and there seem to be waves of overdoing each other at times. After an initial dip in productivity, we have found our balance now. Our leadership understands the mental and emotional pressure the situation has levied on everyone, and we try to address it explicitly. In the end it is all due to our amazing staff adjusting to this situation – everyone slightly differently from another. For some it’s the daily workout routine that gets them through the week, others have picked up cooking, doing daily video chats with their families abroad or simply indulging in those books or TV dramas that were on their to-do lists.

With the circuit breaker making face-to-face interviews, events and other activities that require human contact no longer available - what have you and the team at PRecious been doing to overcome this?
Video calls have become the de-facto standard around the company now. Even event organisers are experimenting. There are day-long virtual events, week-long festivals, and even lunch-time video calls. Webinars and podcasts have been booming and we started participating and hosting our own virtual talks. We started working on some very interesting projects across our client practices to challenge ourselves on how to best engage with audiences in a virtual and yet genuine way.

On a more personal note, one of the things we miss the most is having a light-hearted, and often unplanned chat with your colleagues at the end of the day over a drink.

With COVID-19 and the economic impact still dominating the news cycle, how can brands make their message stand out?
This might surprise many, but media and audiences are actually keen on non-COVID stories. We have to keep in mind though, that substance is vital in the message you are trying to communicate. Marketers need to be sensible about the story they are pushing through. Just because some media is keen on non-COVID stories, that doesn’t mean a story lacking substance will garner successful coverage.

For example, it is common knowledge that the travel sector has been hit hard by the outbreak. However, the story does not need to only talk about the negatives of the outbreak and its disastrous impact on the industry. Instead, a different story angle could be about sharing the hopes, experiences and dreams that people connect with travelling.

Has there been a shift in terms of the channels PRecious is using? Have you been exploring new methods of communicating with audiences to overcome limitations?
I feel our marketing methods have changed quite drastically since the circuit breaker began. The impetus on social and digital marketing has increased exponentially. However, the most exciting thing we have been working on is our upcoming pod and webcast series.

How has PRecious been keeping employee morale up?
Especially during these times, PRecious has become even tighter. Naturally, we have been using a lot of video calls just to see each other. Our team meetings used to be fortnightly, but now they are scheduled every week. Our Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai colleagues have also been joining our calls - a small silver lining to this cloud.

Every Friday we celebrate the weekend in a different way, be it happy hour to have a drink and play games together or a pub quiz night which involved Pictionary and Fibbage! We have also been doing weekly learning sessions as part of our all-hands-on-deck calls.

The general mood around the company is one of positive sincerity. We openly speak about the situation, what we know and what remains uncertain. Therefore we try to celebrate even the small wins more than ever to remind us of the things we can control.

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