INDUSTRY PROFILES

Lisa Burling - Coronavirus Advice

Lisa Burling - Coronavirus Advice
Q. How are you feeling personally right now about the current situation the world is facing?
As the Founder and MD of my own PR consultancy LBPR, I operate in an industry that many other businesses see as optional rather than essential. I will admit that my own business is going through a massive shift as a result of world events. When you work in PR and you sell your time, nothing is guaranteed. I have felt incredibly worried about what the future looks like for me, my employees and my family.
Q. What measures have you put, or are putting into place immediately to cushion the blow for the business?
I’m sure you’re like me and have watched helplessly as many family and friends have lost their jobs – it’s truly heartbreaking. I am doing all I can to ensure my team remains employed in some capacity, and that my business, LBPR survives. Only time will tell if it’s enough, but I’m going to give it all I have!

Right now, I am operating with laser-sharp focus. I have two little children at home so I have to be efficient, nimble and practical. I am imagining the worst-case scenario is the reality, executing like there is no tomorrow, treating LBPR like a client and implementing all the strategies we advise our clients to, offering clients the expertise they truly need (like issues preparedness), remembering we are all human, having complete faith and being strong – but doing it with vulnerability and empathy.
Q. What strategies do you think businesses can put to their clients to help them through this?
Issues preparedness and management is the obvious offer, but we are fortunate to have clients who are open to the opportunities that exist AC (After Corona). Now is the perfect time to amplify content creation online; businesses that stand out are those who choose to write content that is timely, innovative and inspiring. They can connect with the thousands of Aussies who’ve been ordered to self-isolate or work from home, and who are spending longer hours scrolling social media.

It's also critical to be focused – with ‘COVID-19 updates’ every minute of every hour, it is easy to get distracted. Truth be told, turn it off or at least turn it down. You need to be able to get your mind thinking right in order to get ahead today. Now is the time to focus in on understanding the needs of your clients or consumer, what they’re dealing with and tailoring your messaging to communicate that.
In times of social-distancing, creating a sense of community is incredibly important. We advise clients to go out of your way to make meaningful interactions.
Q. Many businesses did not survive the GFC but yours did – what did you learn from that?
N/A…I was in London!
Q. Everyone will have clients who will lose during this time, but also clients who will thrive – how do you marry the two? Can any of your clients band together in any way?
The saying “we are all in this together” has never been truer. Surviving this crisis is going to take a shift in mindset, and an army of support. Where we can, we suggest collaborations with clients. We are also offering a free PR series where we talk about the opportunities available to those businesses who want to take them. Anyone interested in tuning in can sign up to our e-newsletter here.
Q. Finally, are you optimistic about the recovery and are you ready for the fabulous bounce back when the industry revs up again?
I don’t think the PR industry will lose momentum at all; our expertise and skills are needed more than ever. We can work remotely and technology has equipped us to keep connected. If anything, it’s our time to shine as an effective, efficient and nimble element of the marketing mix. Afterall, you can cut all the flowers but you can’t keep the spring from coming.