Yeah, so, how ‘bout them Bills?
All of us can agree that it’s hard to find bright spots in 2020. This has been a year like no other, filled with unexpected challenges and incredible hurdles to overcome. With only hours left until we can put it all behind us, we thought we’d take a moment to look back, reflect, and tease out the highlights of a year we’ll never forget.
Starting Off Right
New Year’s Day 2020 came, and as the year started, we were full of promise and vigor, ready to make 2020 a memorable year – for the right reasons. Here at JFG, we launched four websites in the first 10 weeks of the year, including Cornerstone Community FCU, Window & Door Solutions, Buffalo Pharmacies and AAA Timberline.
Yet, in spite of a good start, things quickly ground to a halt. As we moved into March, the specter of COVID-19 hit everyone’s radar, and we quickly adapted to half occupancy, to one-quarter occupancy to working from our homes. This was a new experience for most of us, but we’ve always been adaptable and flexible, and though there were technological stumbling blocks and a need to find new ways to collaborate and communicate, we quickly found our stride.
Springing into Action
As we moved into spring, we found the snow melting and revealing a strange new world – one that looked the same, but operated far differently. Streets were largely empty, storefronts remained locked, and our TVs played the news as we watched the cases rise as the pandemic moved across the state, country and entire world. As we adapted to working from home and ordering takeout, we were also looking to help in any way we could – both on behalf of our clients and for our local business neighbors here in Lockport.
Eager to lend a hand, we set to work on a new COVID-19 resources page. This new page included updates on closures and restrictions, business programs to help those organizations most in need of support and assistance, and a directory to all the restaurants in the greater Lockport area where people could order takeout or delivery to help support these small businesses get the word out and survive the restrictions that impacted them most. We also worked tirelessly alongside our medical clients like UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and Windsong WNY to promote their services and steps taken to keep patients safe during the peak restrictions. This included developing two new TV commercials for Windsong and a comprehensive digital campaign for UBMD Orthopaedics to promote the practice’s new telehealth care options.
Getting online continued to be a priority in this time as well, and we maintained a healthy pace of web projects throughout the spring. We again launched four new websites, including the Bewley Building, JMI Consultants, Help Me Grow of New York State and Gym Bro Fitness – a new business for selling fitness equipment to those looking to start or continue their workouts in quarantine as gyms closed with COVID-19 restrictions.
The Year Without a Summer
Entering the summer months, we had some cautious reasons for optimism. COVID cases were trending down. Warmer weather made it easier to get outside and socially distant while still in small groups. And sunshine always brightens the mood. But the latent impacts from the springtime closures still lingered. Business slowed, and budgets were scaled back, leaving us like most businesses – a bit in the lurch moving into the summer season.
Ready to adapt again, we worked to be flexible. We moved to a reduced schedule for the season, still able to tackle our clients’ needs, but tightening our own belts alongside so many others across the world. We continued to reach out to organizations in need, and offered to help however we could. This time also brought us a few new clients, including building and launching a new website for Chapman’s Heating & Cooling and winning an RFP bid for the Girl Scouts of Western New York to manage the organization’s digital recruitment campaign through 2020 and a new membership campaign in 2021.
Falling Leaves, Brighter Outlooks
With the arrival of fall, we saw the pace of projects really pick up once more, and our work again felt almost normal – despite still all working remotely. Website projects continued to be in high demand, and from the last week of September through the end of December, we built and launched nine new websites – almost one a week. This included redevelopment of our own site and the Concussion Management Clinic for UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, in addition to new redevelopments for Enzo’s Cleaning Solutions, Aspire of WNY, The Prevention Council of Erie County and Bling. We also created new landing page experiences for BOMAG Americas and Orleans-Niagara BOCES.
Additional projects included a major rebranding campaign for Jacobs Ladder as part of the launch of the company’s revamped flagship machine, the Jacobs Ladder X. This also incorporated digital ads, development of a new tagline and redesigning the company’s ecommerce website. We also tackled branded collateral for Northland JCB, launched two new monthly email campaigns for BOMAG Americas and started a comprehensive rebranding project for the Bristol Homes. All as COVID began surging once again, bringing about new challenges for each of us, including finding work-life balance, juggling the demands of homeschooling and celebrating the holidays safely and socially distanced.
Still new challenges lie ahead in 2021. The pandemic continues to be a major concern for our collective health – physically and financially. Updates to search engine algorithms, social network platforms and website tools will require us to stay informed and adaptive to new best practices to find success for our clients. Together, as a JFG family, and with our clients and partners, we’ve survived 2020, but for all that is different about it, this year echoes so many others with a single refrain that holds true – change. When the only constant has been change, we’ve learned to be more agile and adaptive than ever before, and will continue to do so into 2021 and beyond.
Start Your New Year with JFG
Head into the new year with a strategy and plan with JFG. Every one of our clients has unique needs, whether it’s reaching new customers, expanding their message to a broader audience or increasing their sales on the web. Regardless of what you need, our team has the knowledge and experience to help you find success. Enter 2021 ready to make the most of a bright new decade and contact us today to have a conversation about your goals.
Bringing with him more than a decade of experience in traditional and online news media, digital marketing and content production experience, Ryan Yaeger is the copywriter and digital content strategist at J. Fitzgerald Group. When not busy wordsmithing at his proverbial word anvil or working on client SEO, you can find him testing new board games or cheering for the Bills or Sabres.