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The First 100 Days
1st July 2020 By Mark Killick & Rachel Pendered
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Lockdown has been a challenging time for people and businesses everywhere and there is no denying its effect on the global economy. But 100 days into the UK’s first peacetime lockdown, we wanted to reflect on what it’s meant for us. 

First and foremost the team at Media Zoo has been astonishing. Everyone, from every department, has pulled together and made a really tough environment work. We pivoted, overnight, from an office based community to home working. For many of us that comes with the challenges of having to balance working with homeschooling or having to adapt to having children that can quite easily pop in and out of the home office. 

From crying babies, to cats that decide to walk across the keyboard and housemates all working in the same room - our Zoom and Workplace calls really have been a window into what lockdown life is for the Zoo Crew. We created a video in the first week of lockdown showcasing how life was changing with working from home and how integral Workplace has been in keeping us all connected. 

Secondly, we want to shout out to our incredible clients. This pandemic has caused huge uncertainty and we’ve been blown away by the resilience and spirit of the businesses we work with. We’ve seen learning projects come to life with BrewDog, Lego and The Body Shop and clients such as INEOS, Tandem and Blue Water Energy really dig in to stick with us during this time. 

We’ve also had amazing feedback from clients who have embedded digital teams with us, including Santander, they are really seeing the value in having that switched on embedded content creation machine working side by side with them during the past few months. 

Through this coming together of both our own team at Media Zoo and our fantastic client roster, we’re delighted that our numbers have managed to stay strong during the crisis. 

Not only that but we’ve led the communications for the Hiscox Action Group who are suing Hiscox Insurance for not paying out on their business interruption policies for over 350 SMEs. 

This itself has generated incredible coverage including broadcast slots with Sky News, and print and online across all of the National newspapers. The Financial Times even went as far as calling Mark a “consumer champion” and Media Zoo ‘an award-winning publicity machine’ which is a quote that we’re sure will be stuck up on our office walls once we all get back to our life in Imperial Wharf. 

Alongside that incredible recognition we’ve also seen a number of award wins and shortlists in the last few months. Rachel was recognised at the Inspiring Women in Business Awards as the Entrepreneur of the Year in Marketing and Communication and the Media Zoo film team won big at the New York Film Awards with five awards including Gold in the Not For Profit and CSR campaign category and Gold for Editing. 

The PR team have had 3 campaigns shortlisted for the PRCA DARE awards and Media Zoo was shortlisted in the Large Agency of the Year category. The Learning and Film team have had five nominations at the EVCOM Clarion Awards. 

This really is a testament to the Media Zoo team but this isn’t to say we haven’t had our setbacks. We do have colleagues who have been furloughed and we did see our pipeline of work change dramatically at the start of the lockdown. 

But if the past 100 days have taught us anything, it’s that in the face of all this, our teams have surpassed themselves in keeping the business thriving. We have the obvious heroes like the sales team who have done an incredible job bringing in new business even in the face of an almost impossible to navigate market. 

But we also have our unsung heroes. Emily Drake on the PR team has stepped up to support the consumer function as well as continue with her role on the corporate team. She never says no to helping, no matter how full her plate, and she always has a smile on her face and an idea ready when needed. 

Natalie Loveless on the corporate PR team has taken on the management of one of our biggest clients, HRA Pharma, running both their internal and external comms and never letting on just how much work that entails. 

Jack Carter on the Film team also deserves a special mention. Jack oversees the WGC account, and even though they keep him incredibly busy, he is always the first to put his hand up and help others when they are in need. 

Another unsung hero is Roman Stanley. He works incredibly hard and is a real team player. Even though we throw a ridiculous amount of work his way, he always works though it with a smile on his face and keeps morale high in the team around him.

Dovile Caplikaite, is a graphic designer in the Santander embedded team. She has taken on a much broader role, becoming a creative consultant to the development of the MIO platform as well as being absolutely instrumental in delivering one of the biggest strategic priorities for Mio which is the roll out of Global Questions and Skills Clusters, always to the highest of standards.

In the Learning team we’ve got Yani Spassova. Yani, who started with us as an intern, has thrived in the 100 days of lockdown, taking new challenges in her stride. She has offered creative and innovative options for clients who can no longer shoot and are limited by budgets. Yani has taken the post-production reins, writing unique animation treatments, delving into stock footage libraries and weaving magic out of, frankly, limited materials.

Elizaveta Khmelnitskaya made an epic return from furlough, working on a massive tender and client whispering with some of our biggest clients.

And then there is Rob Beer, the ultimate team player, who is always willing to lend a hand and show how to use tools efficiently. These are just a few of the Media Zoo crew who have worked tirelessly over the last 100 to deliver outstanding client work. 

All in all, lockdown has been really tough. Tough for business and tough on our teams. We’re a sociable bunch. We love a natter and to catch up over coffee or lunch. And whilst Workplace has been an incredible tool in keeping this part of our lives as normal as possible, we all miss having a supportive and collaborative colleague a few steps away to brainstorm ideas and bounce ideas off but, generally speaking, even though we’re apart we think we’re as together as ever. 

As for the business itself, we’re looking as healthy as we could have hoped for and we’re really excited about some of the work that should be kicking off soon. 

Everyone stay safe and well and thank you all so much.

Best

Mark & Rachel 

 

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