What we had to learn (and unlearn) in 2021

Ancient Greek-style bust in thinking pose with 2021 glasses in pink wash

2 minutes read

If your 2021 has been anything like our 2021, you’re no doubt looking forward to some well-earned time off.

Also, if you’re like us, you’ll spend some time reflecting on the year that was, weighing up the wins and losses, what worked and what didn’t, and how to get the most out of the year ahead.

To kick things off, we asked our team of seasoned PR pros, marketing mavens and consummate content creators what changes they made this year and their key takeaways from 2021.

Be prepared for anything

It was the year that “plan to succeed” morphed into “prepare to pivot”, especially for campaign planning and strategy.

“If there’s anything 2021 has taught us, it’s that a good marcomms strategy must have the ability to pivot,” PR Campaigns Director Natalie said.

While it’s important to have a framework and plan in place, be ready to change your direction at a moment’s notice. Pull in the team for a brainstorm and act quickly so your fresh new plan is in the market before the competition.

Reconnecting the dots

COVID was still a significant and somewhat disruptive agent of change in the workplace in 2021. Multiple lockdowns, restrictions and border closures threw standard industry operating procedures into disarray and working remotely once again became the norm.

Lockdowns and restrictions proved particularly challenging for coordinating public media opportunities, as Account Manager Anna discovered.

“I had to learn how to put together an unmissable famil – despite COVID restrictions and regulations frequently changing – and how to create national relevance for local events and festivals with border restrictions,” Anna said.

While working-from-home enabled companies with remote capabilities to keep the wheels turning, the new paradigm came with teething problems.

I was getting stuck in a work-from-home routine. I relearnt how to manage my time to allow for face-to-face meetings and also stopped using the word ‘unprecedented’.

The personal touch

PR is a client-facing occupation, be it in-person, over the phone or via teleconference. Social distancing demanded a shift in terms of client servicing and securing valuable facetime.

“In 2020, we needed to learn how to work remotely yet still be connected and creative,” Marcomms Team Leader Nicole said.

In 2021, we somewhat had to unlearn elements of that to balance remote working and collaboration and bring back in-person meetings and events to connect. In 2022, we’ll transition into a new happy medium.

Bring back the banter

Vital internal organisational communications also changed dramatically in 2021, becoming a more intentional act rather than part of the office social construct.

“Pre-COVID we could, unknowingly, rely on watercooler chat to keep across what is happening in various facets of the business,” Account Director Claire said.

Now you need to make a point to catch up with people and ask pointed questions to keep across what is happening in Arugaland. Not better or worse, just different.

From how we interacted with clients and colleagues to achieving campaign success under less-than-ideal circumstances, there’s been a lot to learn and unlearn this year.

As we bid 2021 farewell and prepare to face the challenges of 2022, whatever they may be, a flexible approach to a fast-changing media landscape remains essential.

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to putting a great big bow on what has been a tremendous year at Aruga.

Public Relations

Igniting that spark between audience and brand is what we do – creatively grounded PR that grabs attention like a box of glazed donuts. Our team of results-focused publicists has the strategic nous and a contact list to die for that will put you, your product or your business in front of the media.