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Westminster Digital: How PR and Public Affairs Has Gone Digital During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Tom Dixon Westminster Digital

Tom Dixon, Managing Director of Westminster Digital tells us how the agency positions voices strategically & engages audiences creatively.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Tom Dixon: Lockdown has been a challenge for everyone. However, it also presents an opportunity. The opportunity for many to spend more time with family, to reconnect with old friends, to start a new business, or try a new hobby. What each person and business has done in the last year will define how they emerge on the other side. 

Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Westminster Digital.

Tom Dixon: I joined Westminster Digital in January 2019 as an intern. In just 4 weeks, we had quadrupled revenue, and I was given a full-time role as Communications Director. Six months later, we worked on Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, following the success of which I became the Managing Director and a shareholder in the business.

We quickly found a niche in helping businesses and politicians translate complex messages into engaging digital content. Our team now comprises public affairs specialists, data-targeting experts, videographers, animators, and graphic designers. 

Through our service, clients can fully leverage the power of the digital world. 

As the digital PR & public affairs agency in Westminster, our continued mission is to position voices strategically, engage audiences creatively and connect stakeholders meaningfully. 

How does Westminster Digital innovate? 

Tom Dixon: First, our PR & public affairs team share a common focus to advance social listening software and re-invent political monitoring to help our clients understand how to engage hard-to-reach groups. Second, our production team is constantly working to ensure that the production value in PR & public affairs is in line with that of film & TV in a way that meets tighter PR and Public Affairs budgets.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Tom Dixon: As a company that produces a lot of filmed content, we had to pivot during the pandemic, delivering animated content and filming in line with coronavirus restrictions when necessary.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Tom Dixon: My understanding at the very beginning of the pandemic was that no business or person would come out the other side the same. The drastic challenges to corporates and the personal challenges to people will change you. I told our team on our very first Zoom call, “no one will come out of this the same, we will either thrive or die. This is our opportunity to thrive”. With pressure from the board to explore the possibility of furlough and other government schemes at the start of lockdown, by the end of the first month, we had had our most successful month ever. As a sign of thanks to the team and to reinforce our position, we gave every employee in the company a bonus that month and continued to for every record month thereafter.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Tom Dixon: Zoom has been a great help. I think the team is sick of the sight of my study, though. But two zoom calls a day mean we can still feel some sense of a “team” even through these difficult times.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Tom Dixon: Our competition mainly comes in the form of traditional PR & Public Affairs agencies moving towards digital. For the most part, we partner with these traditional agencies to provide a duel-pronged approach to PR & Public Affairs. In the case of those that we don’t work with, we remain at the forefront of creative content and digital campaigning, and if we are able to continue that, we will continue to grow.

Your final thoughts?

Tom Dixon: Every entrepreneur will see the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity. Businesses that adapt to the ‘new normal’ will thrive, those that don’t face an uphill struggle.

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