A young entrepreneur from Cork has devised a plan to keep young people connected and engaged all the while supporting local businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At just 24 years old, Cork native Nathan Adams has built his own digital marketing agency RMPR from the ground up and is now using his platform for the greater good.
Mr Adams employs a young team of six who put their heads together to come up with a way to keep young people entertained during isolation, encouraging them to get creative, to upskill in their areas of interest and to have fun, all the while highlighting the seriousness of Covid-19 and the importance of adhering to and implementing the restrictions put in place by government.
The outcome was RMPR’s #SelfIsolationTakeOvers which saw social media influencers with a combined following of over four million people, many of whom are small local business owners, taking over the marketing agency’s Instagram account each night and offering their knowledge and tips and tricks in their area of expertise.
In an age where social media is rampant among younger users, more younger people are turning to social media influencers in order to obtain information, often consuming their news through what these influencers share.
The idea behind the #SelfIsolationTakeOvers was derived from that idea of wanting influencers to share useful information, spread positivity, and encourage involvement amongst a younger audience during a time of such uncertainty, while also highlighting the significance of being mindful of necessary social distancing and self-isolating.
The initiative was executed by Kayley Farmer and Claire Smith of the company’s creative team alongside Mr Adams.
Just some of the influencers involved in the #SelfIsolationTakeOvers included local hair salon owner Sabrina Hill of Kopper Hair Salon on all things hair care; expert in all things makeup Ellie Kelly; personal trainer Dave King of MaxLife Fitness who covered home workouts; fashion blogger Charleen Murphy on fashion hacks; fitness influencer Caroline O’Mahony on working out during isolation; blogger Shauna Doyle on makeup tips and tricks; fitness coach Kiki Nugent on nutrition and routine; blogger Sinead Hegarty on mindset and self-care; and skilled Tik Tok user Conor Ryan set a challenge for everyone to get involved in.
Speaking about the initiative, Mr Adams said: “Before we temporarily closed we sat in the office and spoke about covering the seriousness of Covid-19 and how we need to get the message across to the youth of how important it is to practice social distancing, to use hand sanitizer, wash your hands, and being conscious of those vulnerable and the elderly.
“We were thinking how do we get the message across because we know at the very start it wasn't taken very seriously by some younger people who thought ‘we’ve healthy immune systems, it will be fine’, but it’s actually a lot more serious than that.
“If our health systems get overwhelmed, there won’t be enough ICU beds for everybody and that includes younger people who might become ill, so we’re trying to push to flatten the curve as much as we can through highly followed social media influencers from different industries.
“The strategy surrounding #SelfIsolationTakeOvers was to keep everybody occupied with something different every day. To get involved, to upskill, to keep people occupied, so that there’s something to do everyday that’s fun, exciting and different,” he said.
Mr Adams also saw the initiative as an opportunity to support other small businesses, some of whom are finding this period of uncertainty particularly difficult following the closure of most local businesses in Cork.
“I think it’s a great thing to see everybody getting out together and supporting one another. A lot of the people that are involved in the #SelfIsolationTakeOvers are actually small business owners themselves.
“We’re trying to get the message across to influencers to use their platforms to push the importance of supporting local businesses within your area. If you can buy an online voucher, do. Even if it's €5 or €10 or whatever it is, it's a small thing that will help.
“Barber shops, hair salons, restaurants, pubs, clinics, coffee shops have all been closed so we’re trying to use our social influencers that are doing these takeovers to promote the whole importance of social distancing, self-isolating and supporting local businesses by buying online vouchers.
“At the end of the day the local businesses are very important in this country because they’re employing a lot of our friends, family, neighbours, you name it, we’re a large part of the economy.” RMPR derived from an events company that Mr Adams owned, hosting festivals and marketing them online.
The owner of a local restaurant Roosters Piri Piri, Mark O’Donoghue, saw how well Mr Adams was marketing his events and enquired about some marketing for his own platform. Following a pitching meeting, Roosters Piri Piri became Mr Adams’ first client and the business grew from there.
Rooster Piri Piri is still a client two and a half years later.
“BPerfect was our next client and we’ve been working with BPerfect for two years. We got in with them when things were just really happening for them.
“It propelled from there and then we formed basically what is RMPR, a marketing agency. It was down to our results, we didn't really go out looking for business, it was more so referrals and the agency grew from there.” He said that he and his younger brother Séamus who works with him have always had a love for marketing and were always coming up with ideas when launching a new music event on how to send it as viral as possible to reach as many people as possible in order to drive up sales of tickets.
The agency now works with over 100 brands, from small businesses to large businesses and has clients in food, clothing brands, cosmetics, clinics, coffee shops, and gyms, to name a few, and handles event launches and product launches.
Despite temporarily closing and losing 80% of business since the spread of Covid-19, RMPR are still working with clients and staff are continuing to work from home brainstorming and planning how best for the agency to bounce back when things return to normal.
RMPR recently shot a campaign launch featuring The Young Offenders actor Demi Isaac for UK brand Wheyhey, owned by Irish entrepreneur Damien Kennedy, who have launched their healthy ice cream and snacks into SuperValu.
The agency’s recent ‘Brighter Days Will Come’ video featuring hurler Patrick Horgan who wanders Cork’s empty streets and passes its usually bustling businesses that are now shut, went viral after being posted last week.
The video which also featured clips of families wishing their loved ones a Happy Mother’s Day by video chat, from their cars, or through the windowpane, resonated with thousands online.
“We do a lot of creative work which is all about launching creative campaigns, social content, paid advertising, influencer marketing, it’s all very much digital and online,” Mr Adams said.
Mr Adams said that the minute this emergency is over both the agency and its clients will bounce back.
He said that he was very fortunate that there was a venue change for one of his planned music festivals which had pushed back the date of the festival, originally planned for March 26.
“This year was to be TechWorks year three. We were in the middle of venue changes which meant we had to push our dates back to move to a location closer to the city centre to suit customers and we were very fortunate in the end that that happened because if it didn’t, we would have lost a hell of a lot of money.”
He said that clients have postponed events that were planned for the months of April and May but they are planning to reschedule events for later in the year.
Going forward, the future looks bright for the business which is currently in the midst of building its own brand and working behind the scenes will continue until the current pandemic is over.
“We’ll still be working behind the scenes, we’ll take this time to plan and to make sure that when everything does reopen that we’re ready to execute all our plans for the future.
“Everybody is going to bounce back and when we are up and running, everyone’s jobs are going to be there and brands will still be continuing with their product launches and collabs.
“The most important message is that we will get through this, as will other Irish businesses. We’re all in this together, and we’re all sticking together, there’s nobody any different in this situation.
“It's a tough time, but a lot of people are coming together and are very positive and it’s great to see,” he said.