It was the 9th of March 2020, life in most parts of the world was normal, serene, calm and relatively uneventful. As I live in the UK, I must say that the people here started to slightly worry about the in China originated COVID-19 virus that started spreading and had reached Italy and several other European countries.
As the spread in Italy started to intensify, we knew that this virus was definitely going to hit Western Europe as well. Subsequently, our normal life ended, and lockdown measures were imposed. Nobody knowing when it would or will be lifted.
In the period just before the virus began its spread through Western Europe, I started working as an intern for a PR and sport marketing agency in London.
My main responsibility was to deliver monthly coverage reports for ten leading golf brands. Besides that, I focussed on online fan engagement and marketing, platform strategies, writing press releases and social media analysis.
The first day of the internship was obviously just an introduction. There were new colleagues, a new office which meant new software, and a new way of working I had to adjust to. Throughout the following four days, good guidance and mentoring quickly made me feel more familiar and comfortable with my tasks, the office, and the new way of working.
This first week absolutely felt like the week in which I had to prove myself. Therefore, I suggested two ideas.
Firstly, I was asked to research the Dutch golf market. I had to ascertain the leading media companies, retailers, brands, and other golf associations in the Netherlands. When I made the suggestion to create and distribute an online survey in order to obtain data concerning the Dutch golf market, the agency directly welcomed the idea and expressed their enthusiasm.
Secondly, I realized that the coverage reports I was creating were largely focussing on physical exposure, such as magazines for example. And on the one hand, this made sense because magazines are booming in the UK golf business, on the other hand, I was wondering what online opportunities there might be.
By delving deeper into the essence of coverage, considering it could mean in terms of competitive advantage, I discovered an effective, live, and easy-to-use tool called ‘Fanpage Karma’. The correct utilization of this tool enabled me to compare clients’ online platforms to their competitors’ platforms. The agency was again quite satisfied with the result and extra data-based coverage details that they could provide their client with.
The next week, all my colleagues started to work from home due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. On Monday and Tuesday, I actually still worked from the office because I preferred it to working from home. But eventually, as of Wednesday the 18th of March, I started to work on all my projects from home as well. The virus totally disrupted normal life in the UK, London suddenly equalled something close to a ghost town, and my internship experience was going to alter completely.
Please let me know your experiences during the final days of normal life before the COVID-19 virus forced governments to impose lockdown measures. Were you working like me, studying, or meeting friends?