I’ve been thinking about my father more than usual this season. When he passed away nearly 20 years ago, I was eight months pregnant and had been on bed rest for a little over a month. As the only child of one remaining parent, who was still in shock after losing a battle to an inoperable glioblastoma, the task of acknowledging those who came to mourn fell to me. After I thanked everyone for coming, one of Dad’s coworkers mentioned that he didn’t know how I could be so strong during such a traumatic time. It was simple, I said. I didn’t have any other alternative.
The same is true for the team at Well Done, nearly a year into the pandemic. This team has stayed beyond strong in the face of challenge after challenge. When they could have become isolated at home, they kept each other going with calls and cards and jokes when we went into lockdown. They lifted one another up when we all were mourning the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and too many others. They challenged the agency to be better and do better in our pursuit of racial equity.
For the past nine months, they have hung in there through the long hours and weekends. Because, when our clients and the community asked for our help, this small but mighty team didn’t consider anything but saying yes. And, man, did they deliver.
Remember when it was called the “novel coronavirus?”
Even before the first NBA player contracted Covid-19, we had begun working with the terrific marketing teams at Hancock Health and Hendricks Regional Hospital to get the most up-to-date information about testing and treatment into the community and to reassure patients that it was safe to keep regular health screenings and appointments.
As the city and state began to shut down, we felt compelled to create our own campaign—StayIN—to remind people to stay true to what makes Indiana great while they stayed inside. Soon after, we were asked to develop an even larger campaign to “Spread the Word. Not the Virus.” In 10 days. It was worth the rush. In the first two months, more than 70 partners downloaded the assets our team designed and 46,000+ people used the hashtag, #INthistogether, reaching more than 610 million viewers.
Three months later, we helped the City County Building and the Indiana Convention Center reopen safely and train its staff on new pandemic protocols. And, while we can’t take credit, we were like proud parents when the Indiana Convention Center became the first in the country to host an event in July.
We believe in a culture of diversity and justice.
When the country exploded in protests for racial justice this summer, we worked alongside Lilly and Mayor Joe Hogsett to produce a 30-minute program, Day of Solidarity, calling on Hoosiers to make Indianapolis a racially just and inclusive city.
Together with Mays Entertainment and the most diverse filming crew Lilly had ever worked with, Well Done finished the show in one, crazy week, delivering it to WISH-TV, the Indianapolis Recorder, and Urban One four hours before airtime.
Our work for racial justice continued in October, when we designed the branding and co-produced the launch of the Indy Racial Equity Pledge. We’ve added our own pledge recently, with a commitment to improve our staff, vendor, and partner diversity, joining the more than 30 companies that have asked to join the pledge since launch.
At the same time, one of our senior writers worked with CICF on the program and script for an important announcement for InclusiveCity about dismantling systemic racism. We’ve turned our work inward too, with book clubs and webinars on how to be an antiracist and webinars on how to be more empathetic and manage the stress that comes with this kind of meaningful work.
Of course, there also was an election.
Well Done has worked with the Marion County Election Board all year to encourage the vote, starting with the primaries. The voting process can be surprisingly complicated. Between registering, the deadline to request an absentee ballot, figuring out where to vote, and what you need to bring, there are a lot of details that often get left out of the message. Our team broke those messages into bite-size, time-sensitive chunks, earning high praise from one 40-year public servant who called it “one of the clearest, most understandable explanations of the voting process” he’d ever seen.
Now that the election is over (at least in Indiana), I can let you in on a little secret. The “IndyVotes” landing page at the core of the campaign went down at 8:30 a.m. the day before the election. While one team member stayed on the phone with Microsoft and the election board for most of the day, our web team went to work creating a backup site while our director of PR worked through a proactive communications plan. It was some of the best crisis planning I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, it wasn’t needed since the site was back up later that same day.
What may come
That’s just the way this year has been—planning for what may come, without knowing how things may change the next day. I am so proud of how everyone at Well Done has navigated the challenges that pace creates.
Like many industries, advertising agencies have a tendency to focus on the measurable parts of the job: billable hours, capacity, deliverables, KPIs, etc. Those things are crucial to business success and I promise to think about them—starting tomorrow. Right now, I’m going to close my eyes and reflect for a few more moments on all the ways our team lived up to our mission of making the world a better place.