It’s safe to say that, for the vast majority of people, 2020 has been a difficult and turbulent year. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges, not only in our personal lives but also for businesses across the world. From the rapid adoption of home working and virtual conferencing to the complexities of keeping the kids educated and entertained from the dining room table, our incredible collective resilience has helped us all to keep going despite the tricky times we’ve faced.

We asked the Torque team to pick their standout moments, both professional and personal, that they’ll remember this historic year by.

Alex Juggins

My professional highlight this year was working on the launch of the APEX AP-0 electric supercar. After doing all the preparatory work – drafting and issuing teaser releases, writing the press pack, crafting the presentation speeches and securing media attendance – we managed to hold the launch event at the Bike Shed in London in mid-March, just before the first national lockdown. It is nice to have worked on one ‘physical’ event this year!

My personal highlight this year was having so much time to spend at home with my dog, Dennis, and watching him develop from a young puppy into a (semi) well-behaved adult dog! Incidentally, most of my personal lowlights from 2020 involve Dennis in some capacity.

Amy

My professional highlight was helping to manage the Texaco Delo international media events in September and October was certainly a highlight. Despite travel constraints, we were able to engage with the right media audiences for our client across Europe, using digital platforms and the fantastic live translation services provided by the Automotive PR Network.  Over 90 journalists from 12 countries attended, with the format replicated to support sales teams and their distribution partners.

During the first lockdown, I (perhaps foolishly) decided to set a daily art task ‘homework’ for my Mum and Mother-in-Law, both of whom are widows and found being isolated hard.  So, every day they were set an art-related task which they completed and presented over Zoom each evening. We did 96 challenges… including watercolour, finger painting, still life, black and white and self-portraits. Anyway, for both ‘The Grandmas’ it was the first time they had sat and created in years – life is usually too busy. Unsure my children or husband loved the daily zooming, but it helped keep us all connected. I even managed a drawing or two!

Belle

2020 has certainly taken me on a steep learning curve, both professionally and personally. My highlights this year have really all been about communication. Firstly, in finding innovative ways to keep clients in touch with their audiences via digital communications, and secondly, in working to support and encourage the Torque team when the demands of working from home, juggling family and finding time for yourself become more challenging.

Euan

One of my favourite highlights from 2020 happened before COVID, with the UK launch event for the Jannarelly Design-1 in January at Cliveden House. We drafted the press kit and media announcements, assisted our photographer to get some fantastic shots of the cars and worked with some of the UK’s most respected journalists to offer a first drive on the roads around Berkshire. It was a really great experience and fantastic that we were able to deliver it before the lockdowns began.

While it’s definitely been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year without the added challenge of having to deal with the COVID pandemic, it’s given me a better appreciation for the simple things in life. I’m more grateful for what I have and more thankful for the opportunities that come my way.

Libby

This year has been unbelievably busy for Torque’s digital team. We’ve worked flat out since the UK’s first lockdown measures were put in place during March, to ensure our clients remained visible and relevant as the world went a little bit bonkers. The long hours, constant creative meetings and almost instant campaign implementation has been more than worth it though. We’ve had our nose to the social media grindstone and delivered close to 3 million impressions and more than 1.5 million engagements for one client in a few short months, as well as increasing platform followers by over 200% in the same time period. Needless to say, we’ve already signed contracts to work together next year!

A silver lining around the COVID cloud has got to be more time spent with my family. Working from home means I can now do the school run (both ways!) five days per week. I join my children for breakfast and dinner each night and am always at home to bathe them and snuggle them up in bed. Life has a better balance. And that’s thanks to this crazy year.

Ian

My 2020 highlights (I’m choosing two) are undoubtedly working with Rodin Car and Thrifty. Learning about Rodin’s quest for engineering excellence and how they are fulfilling the dream of building a race car that’s faster than an F1 car has been inspiring. Placing the Rodin brand in a number of influential global automotive and luxury titles has been hugely rewarding.

With Thrifty, Torque helped devise and implement and brand-new communications strategy aimed at raising brand awareness as well as driving enquiries through the brand’s website. By establishing a new framework of customer communication tools, we were able to improve customer retention metrics and dovetailing with an extensive digital PR campaign, we were able to communicate Thrifty’s FlexiFleet service online and direct enquires through to the brand website. Enquiries jumped, sales jumped, and the campaign took off working in partnership with Thrifty’s in-house sales and marketing teams.

Paul

During the first lockdown, I furthered my role for DAF Trucks, securing my place as an integral part of the client’s internal comms function. This included drafting key statements for senior management and dealer network news for use in the client’s regular employee eNewsletter. Much of this content – and there was a lot – was also used for press features. DAF Truck’s MD struck up a much closer relationship with a key CV press editor as a result.

My eldest son, Oli, turned 18, and he passed his driving test, too. Seriously don’t know where the years have gone! Personally, I was delighted to finally get over a couple of long-standing running injuries, hitting the road again and losing half-a-stone in the process! Nowadays, at the age of 51, health and fitness are becoming increasingly important.

Peter

I think it’s less about any single campaign but more about the way we have adapted to a whole new way of working in 2020. We’ve thought on our feet, and brought fresh and clever thinking to how our clients can communicate their brands in an environment where their established modus operandi might have been turned upside down. We’ve all learned positive lessons. ‘Adapt’ is the word that best summarizes this past year in almost every walk of life.

For those of us fortunate not to have lost someone to COVID, I think many are reflecting on a year when extended time spent at home with family and less time spent in cars, on trains, planes and in offices, has had a positive and long-lasting effect.