As the agency world adjusts to its indeterminate new normal, W2O has unveiled a handful of programs designed to support healthcare providers on the COVID-19 frontlines and provide a needed signal boost to a host of pandemic-related medical efforts.
W2O is backing Ventilator SOS, a project focused on modifying sleep apnea devices for use as ventilators and getting them to hospitals in need, with strategy, PR, web design and digital campaign development support. Alongside the California Life Sciences Association, the agency has created a communications dashboard that provides a quick snapshot of media and social trends around the pandemic.
W2O has thrown its weight behind a philanthropic effort to find, buy and transport hundreds of thousands of N95 face masks to medical facilities facing PPE shortages. It has also seeded the #OurCoronaFighters Instagram account, designed to celebrate the accomplishments and bravery of healthcare professionals.
W2O CEO and founder Jim Weiss has also joined The Commons Project, a nonprofit that has created a COVID-19 risk-assessment and mapping platform, as a trustee. W2O is lending its support to the organization’s communications, strategy and web-development efforts for the platform.
According to Weiss, W2O sprang into action in part to combat the sense of powerlessness felt by its people.
“Everyone feels a sense of, ‘We’re in a fight,’” he said. “People on our team want to feel empowered while they’re sitting at home and coping with work and managing young children. They want to feel like they’re part of the solution.”
W2O is doing what it can to ease COVID-related stresses for its 1,400 employees. The agency has offered counseling and meditation and mindfulness services, along with weekly town halls and similar efforts to bridge the still-new geographical divide.
The agency’s efforts are underlined by a sentiment that’s in rare supply nowadays: optimism.
“I’m optimistic about what the private sector can do and what science and medicine can do,” Weiss said. “Did you ever think we’d all stay home the way we have? If we can arm people with the right knowledge and information, they’ll take it and use it, for the most part, for good. People tend to do the right thing.”
As for client relationships, Weiss said it’s been business as usual amid unusual circumstances.
“I feel like we’ve come at this more like a partner and a citizen, and not like an ambulance chaser or somebody trying to sell something,” he added. “It’s a natural extension for us to offer our help, and not in a self-serving way. It’s about improving the overall climate of collaboration and partnership.”
This story first appeared on mmm-online.com.