COVID-19 Update | A Message from CEO Paul Head

Posted 20 March 2020.

Over the past few days our world has changed dramatically and the impact of COVID-19 is an evolving situation that requires close monitoring and the exercise of practical precautions. We know that many members have already taken significant steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including working from home and restricting physical meetings or the number of people in a room at the same time.

Over and above the health impact, there’s no doubt that the economy will take a significant hit over the coming months. The very significant Government package announced this will undoubtedly help mitigate this damage.

Importantly, we should also not lose sight of the fact that our industry can play a real part in making sure the damage is limited as much as possible during the downturn and that the economy is spun up to speed quickly when the virus has passed.

We are a growth engine and we mustn’t forget that.

In fact there is solid proof that brands that continue to advertise during tough times fare better than those that don’t. They also tend to recover from a downturn more quickly. At the Comms Council we’ll be working hard to tell this story as loudly as we can over the next few months.

This new environment will also impact the Comms Council and we’ve done a complete review of our programme over the next quarter and have made a number of immediate changes, particularly to activities that involve mass gatherings.

As this stage the key change is that we are postponing the Beacon awards gala dinner scheduled for early May until a date to be determined. Following the PM’s announcements on restricting the size of public gatherings we have no choice in the matter. However, we plan to continue with Beacons judging so that we can announce winners. Agencies have put a lot of effort into writing entries and it would be a shame to let that go to waste. We will however delay Beacons judging for a couple of weeks while rapidly build an online judging portal.

The Comms Council team will continue to work from our offices unless there is a significant change in the situation. However, we’re well equipped for the entire team to work from home if necessary and this wouldn’t impact our ability to support our members.

We are in the midst of challenging and extraordinary times as we together face the global COVID-19 situation. Our thoughts are with all our members as you and your clients face a challenging few months. As your industry body we are committed to continuing to support you and champion the value our members add to NZ business and society, particularly in tough times.