2020 has certainly not been the year anyone expected. For our clients, COVID-19 has not only brought on daily challenges, but it’s made them restructure (and even reset) corporate goals and strategies for the year.
This rings true especially for Ken Brown, senior manager of video production for Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS). Under normal circumstances, Ken is jetting around the country capturing video content of commercial and residential building projects, interviewing contractors and working with his team of producers to craft robust digital stories. With widespread travel restrictions still in place six months into these unprecedented times, he’s had to get creative with developing content.
We recently caught up with Ken over a virtual “coffee break” to discuss the impacts of the virus both personally and professionally. Known to drink 4 – 6 cups of coffee each day, especially to fuel his travels, he’s kept up that routine even during the pandemic.
Read on for more of our conversation with Ken.
LMO: How has your day-to-day work changed and adapted? What have been challenges for your team?
Ken Brown: The day-to-day work definitely changed for me. At the beginning of 2020, we had a plan in place for me to visit jobsites all over the country for large-scale video shoots. After so much planning, it was strange to see all that be put on hold, but it allowed us to evaluate what video needs were required and what could be done without travel.
In Georgia, we were quarantined for 10 weeks at home and then were allowed back in the office but with specific safety rules and guidelines in place. Work travel is still a long way away so I’ve had to learn how to capture content virtually instead of in-person. You really have to think outside of the box when it comes to getting engaging footage. We’ve also tried to strategize project storylines without a shoot date set – something we typically don’t do.
LMO: Has there been any unexpected silver linings you’ve experienced since March?
KB: I’m used to being on the road 1 – 2 weeks per month, working and traveling frequently. During the 10 weeks of working from home, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how productive I could be in that setting with little distraction…and that’s even with my whole family there as we homeschool our kids. Having everyone in the mix together was so nice and reminded me of the importance of work-life balance. Plus, not having to factor in commuting hours lets you get a head start on the day.
LMO: Even though you’re now back in the office, you still experienced the quarantine earlier this year. How did you get through those early days of stay-at-home orders?
KB: Professionally, it was all about transitioning my deliverables and finding new tasks to work on. My last flight was on March 10 and then the world kind of shut down. I certainly wasn’t anticipating all that was to come.
Though, personally, quarantine led to some fun hobbies. When everything hit in March, I started playing disc-golf. In April, my family and I started growing microgreens in our basement. It’s pretty low maintenance and we grow salad mix, mustard greens, cilantro, basil, you name it. We’ve even started selling to our neighbors and community.
LMO: What do you expect from an agency at this time?
KB: I think just a willingness to be available for your clients is incredibly important, which LMO has demonstrated. Obviously, these times lead to a lot of transition and changes for established schedules and plans. Being able to roll with the punches and continue supporting client efforts speaks volumes.