A Brand Launch, COVID-19, a Rookie Mistake and the Grace I Received

When we began this branding project last summer, our biggest “challenges” were normal ones. Creative challenges of developing a brand that would well-represent the Client today and well into the future. Logistics challenges of finding a great place to host a launch party and a 40th anniversary celebration. Fiscal challenges of creating an impactful and affordable media plan. This was work we knew we’d do well because we felt the Client’s passion for it, and our team understood the importance to the community.

Then, well, you know what happened. Curve ball after curve ball. Our plan had been to launch in June at a Chamber of Commerce event followed by a 40th anniversary party in September. We had the brand, website, social media, PR and marketing all teed up when COVID-19 struck.

To their enormous credit, our Client, today known as Hudson Behavioral Health, didn’t flinch. We shifted what we could (see you at the Greater Salisbury Chamber in June 2021!) then put our heads down and powered through. We climbed a lot of hills together, doing things in new ways, from how we shot TV commercials and location photos to how we coordinated website design. Emails and texts, Drop Box and We Transfer, Zoom and phone calls flew back and forth like crazed birds.

Finally, we were at launch. Client was excited; we were excited. Everything booted up like clockwork.

And then, out of left field, I made a whopper of a rookie mistake. With all the back-and-forth of news release edits, I accidently sent out a previous (non-final) version to reporters at launch. Head-smack.

I freaked. Reaching reporters with a correction is notoriously difficult. I paced my office, trying to wrap my head around it. I had to fix it. This Client had put their faith in us. I had to make it right.

Then something lovely and amazing happened. Every reporter and editor I called and/or emailed (103) was forgiving. A couple even copped to making similar errors during the pandemic. Almost every reporter acknowledged in some way that they had received the corrected version. One told me he ran it just because I was so persistent. (I have always believed the “P” in “PR” is actually “persistent.”)

Challenges happen. Errors happen. It’s a lesson we are taught as kids: it’s what happens afterward that matters. I will always be grateful for the grace those reporters showed me. And of course, to our Client who trusted us with this project and their account. The work they do is even more critical at this moment than maybe ever before.

Many thanks, too, to my partners on this – Nicole Abresch for a.s.a.p.r. who created the logo and color palette and so adroitly handles social media and design; Paul Bianco of Orangehat Design (Colorado) who developed a strong and impactful website, and Jan White of Meetings By Design (Delaware) who planned, unplanned and re-planned what I know will be a fabulous 40th celebration. Shout out, too, to Cheryl Nemazie for the beautiful photos and 522 Productions which animated the logo.

This time in our lives is unprecedented. It’s my hope, after this experience, that we will come out of it with a little more understanding and compassion for each other. Fingers crossed.



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