Adapting to life since Covid-19

Adapting to life since Covid-19

Since COVID-19 hit Northern Ireland back in 2020 life has changed completely. I remember I was at Limelight in Belfast at an Example concert living my best life on the 28th of February 2020 and then woke up the next morning and the first thing I saw on my phone was that Covid-19 had hit Northern Ireland, lovely! Since then, it is safe to say life has been a roller coaster.

In the beginning I thought by summer it will be gone we would all have to stay inside for a few months, and we will be good to go. Pretty sure I jinxed it. Who would have known that this awful virus would last for nearly one year with on and off lockdowns happening, selfishly the only thing worrying me at the time was the fact that we were going into a national lockdown 2 weeks before my 21st birthday? I think I was so annoyed because stupidly I did not fully understand Covid and how serious it was. To me I was in my own world having a mid-life crisis about how I was not able to celebrate my birthday. How ridiculous!

2020 in general was just a rubbish year for me and indeed everyone. With Covid happening, experiencing health issues, leaving my placement early, going back to uni online and not being able to see my friends or attend lectures, not being able to see family and friends and struggling with the anxiety of what was going on in the world.

You nearly forget what life used to be like and I struggled going back into social situations.  Although, with all this happening I believe my mentality has changed and I have a different way of thinking.

After 2020, I am very grateful for my health, friends, and family. The most important thing now in my opinion is making sure your family and friends are healthy and happy. I still get to go to uni, I still have a job, and importantly my friends and family are not sick with COVID-19. Some people are really struggling mentally, financially, physically, and emotionally with the aftermath of COVID-19. I really feel for people who are sick, who have their businesses closed and are struggling.

It is important to focus on the positives and have a positive mentality knowing that this will not last forever. Although, the start off 2021 has been questionable with me getting covid I have absolutely no idea how I got it either which is scary, it really makes you realise how infectious this is but nevertheless we move forward!

Everyone has been affected by covid in some way in their life, it is important to stay strong during this time. I really recommend “The Secret” on Netflix it helps you develop a happier, positive mindset on how to manifest your dreams. I am currently manifesting winning the cash call on Cool FM.

Being thankful for what you have during this time and doing things that makes you happy are key for surviving this pandemic and obviously staying indoors!

jojo cards© — A brighter day is coming your way...

Tara Hamill is a final year student studying communication management and public relations. She can be found on Linkedin and Twitter.

Was the BPerfect Megastore opening a PR disaster?

Was the BPerfect Megastore opening a PR disaster?

The Belfast born brand BPerfect Cosmetics owned by Brendan McDowell launched their first “Megastore” in CastleCourt Belfast on October 1st. This event was heavily promoted on social media across each of BPerfects online social media platforms, with former EastEnders star Jac Jossa attending to launch her first ever tan, tanning mit and facial tanner called the “Jac Jossa Collection”. Many famous beauty influencers such as “MMMitchell”, “Stacey Marie MUA” attended the store launch acting as the staff for the 4-hour opening. Combined each influencer equalled over 7 million followers.  The advertising and marketing carried out prior to the launch date was well executed with the BPerfect team launching their very own “BPerfect Megastore” Instagram page in which they provided every exciting detail about the store launch along with promoting the event on their existing Instagram, Facebook and website platforms . To compliment BPerfects Megastores launch, Jac Jossa and other successful beauty influencers all promoted the store opening night on their very own personal Instagram page, to ultimately bring more people to the not to be missed event.

The BPerfect team knew the megastore would attract many fans as they are a well-established brand, celebrities were attending and of course it was the launch day of the Jac Jossa collection. CastleCourt offered free parking to everyone, and all the BPerfect team arrived in a party bus to create an air of excitement and you guessed it, it certainly attracted a massive crowd. During these unprecedented times, Brendan McDowell and his team knew they had to be responsible and obey the COVID guidelines ensuring the opening was carried out safely and did not breach public safety guidelines.

As a further measure, McDowell posted on his personal Instagram, the megastores Instagram and on the BPerfects Instagram explaining that he had consulted with both the Public Health Agency and CastleCourt to put safety measures in place such as following the one way system while entering the store, wearing a mask in-store, or they would provide one for you, providing hand sanitising stations and a security team to ensure social distancing.

With all safety measures in place, what could go wrong?

On the night of the store opening, as anticipated hundreds of fans gathered from all over Belfast. Queues of people lined up for the must have beauty products and to meet the celebrity influencers, Jac Jossa, and of course get the all-important selfie of themselves instore.

However, the next morning BPerfect were slammed as a “disgrace” by other beauty bloggers. IRadio presenter Louise Clarke tweeted “How is this acceptable? As if it was ever going to be a controlled environment. Shame on the influencers who attended and promoted the event and massive shame on BPerfect for holding it. What’s with certain ‘influencers’ thinking they’re above Covid guidelines?” Ultimately, something that was meant to be a great achievement in the history of the brand backfired and ended up being slammed in the media as a “Total Disgrace” and “A joke”.

How could BPerfect come back from something so brand damaging?

Once Brendan and the BPerfect team heard about the backlash they received, a spokesperson for the brand issued this statement to the media “Before, during and after the opening of our new BPerfect Megastore, we made numerous public pleas to anyone shopping with us on our opening night to ensure they adhered to all social distancing guidelines at all times. This included asking everyone to be personally responsible for social distancing in the outdoor queue, wearing a mask when indoors, sanitising their hands and following all instructions from security.” Brendan posted on his Instagram stating that he was extremely sorry for any offense caused and him and his team really tried to make the store launch as safe as possible for everyone involved. A spokesperson for CastleCourt shopping centre said: “We thoroughly examined BPerfects event management plans and were satisfied with the measures outlined and the focused approach taken to address public health guidelines and to promote safety advice at all times”.

The BPerfect brand had to apologise to their fans. You could argue that it is not their fault as fans chose to attend the event having received the appropriate advice and knowing the safety measures in place. On the other hand, you could argue that their timing was off. Should a successful brand like BPerfect with hundreds of thousands of followers launch their first store knowing it will attract a large crowd in the middle of a pandemic?

The BPerfect launch is the perfect example of how something so exciting and ground-breaking for a brand can very quickly be torn to shreds by the media in the space of 24 hours.  I feel this was a PR nightmare because it happened during a global pandemic when the emphasis is on personal safety and social distancing. The brand cannot undo the damage but can demonstrate how they have learnt from it. I personally feel that despite the publicity drive for this launch and  given the unprecedented times we are living in, they  could not possibly predict the outcome, that hundreds would attend or even be interested in all things beauty related when social events  everywhere have been cancelled. While I’m confident the brand will recover, there is no doubt that their next move will have to be an outstanding PR success.

Tara Hamill is a final year student at Ulster University studying Communication Management and Public Relations. She can be found on Linkedin: @TaraHamill and Instagram: @TaraHamill.