What with the infamous “poo jogger” and her office being defaced with the C-word, it’s undoubtedly been a tough six months for Sydney PR maven Roxy Jacenko.
Now come reports that the coronavirus has seen 85 per cent of her agency, Sweaty Betty’s, clients desert her.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the client exodus has all occurred over the past 72 hours with a number of staff redundancies announced.
Jacenko’s businesses – that include The Ministry of Talent, Social Union, 18 Communications, Pixie’s Bows and Roxy Jacenko Accessories – reportedly turn over about $18 million a year in revenue.
However, Jacenko telling B&T that it’s not all doom and gloom with “brands who are ‘essential’ such a food and health categories retaining PR services, those who are ‘luxuries’ have fallen over”.
According to the 39-year-old, Sweaty Betty clients that have remained loyal include Oscar Wylee, Mermade Hair, Vital Health, Messy Monkeys, TR1VE Ready-Made Meals.
“It’s an interesting one, watching something you’ve built from the age of 24 tumble in just 72 hours is surreal; having worked in the business for so many years, in such a hands-on capacity, it is something I didn’t ever think I would face,” Jacenko said of the agency’s woes.
“That said, I feel a sense of relief as strange as it sounds, I have been chained to my desk through my husband’s jailing, my children’s first days at school, a battle with breast cancer and never been able to step back and take a breath – I feel like this is my time to do that, I have decided that I would rather have my sanity than another fast car or Hermes Bag,” the PR guru revealed.
And for agencies facing similar COVID-19-related client issues, Jacenko’s advice to B&T readers?
“Look at every single cost. I have reviewed everything we are spending, refined it or abolished it if it’s an expenditure we don’t need to spend right now,” she said.
“We are also looking at ways of working through this time with clients that remain, you need to rejig the way you are pitching and the angles. Going to media with irrelevant pitches right now isn’t a smart move – no media wants to look at a press release for a new car when consumers don’t have the budget for such extravagances or a restaurant menu that has closed its doors for the short term and isn’t offering takeaway.
She added: “Keeping team morale is vital, we use house party and Google Hangouts to check in multiple times throughout the day as well as WhatsApp to keep the lines of communication open and flowing.”
As for what clients are now wanting in this CV-19 decimated landscape, Jacenko said they needed “guidance and support through this”.
“They want ideas to communicate new offerings tweaked based on the situation and ways to communicate which go beyond traditional to make sure they are maximising opportunity whilst people are in isolation. What strategy is going to make consumers want or need to spend with you? What solutions are you offering to them to make sure that the clients brand is a consideration?” she concluded.