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Wirral Digital Marketing Agency Takes Steps In Bid To Survive Pandemic

AN independent North West based digital marketing agency is expanding its portfolio as a way to help win new business in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Award winning OON Media, based in Wirral, has gone through a devastating 3 months of zero income with all confirmed work cancelled due to lockdown and social distancing. But instead of resting on its laurels, OON Media has come up with unique and innovative ways to survive. Despite not qualifying for any Government Grants, staff have remained employed and working throughout lockdown which has included supporting a new Community Interest Company (CIC) with its website and social media. OON Media's diverse range of services already included video production and distribution, viral marketing campaigns, corporate photography, show reels, and headshots. However, its portfolio is now being expanded to also include promotional videos, social media campaigns, viral campaigns, stills photography, aerial photography and video, event management, and equipment hire. OON Media's previous public and private sector clients have included:- theatre, television, charities, SMEs, corporate, and events companies. Now life is slowly returning to a different and new level of normality, OON Media has launched a new social media marketing campaign to:- "stimulate awareness of the brand" and "generate new leads," highlighting the skills, experience and qualities of the agency.

Mike Sowden, CEO of OON Media, commented:- "Like many of our creative industry peers, we had steady work confirmed throughout the Spring and Summer months. Covid-19 hit and everything changed. Our order book was absolutely decimated so we had to think out of the box and fast. We chose not to furlough staff and worked our way through lockdown. Unfortunately we did not qualify for the business support grant as we rent our offices from a charity, so the OON Media directors took a reduced salary. During lockdown, we completed a full skills analysis which was crucial and will ultimately move us forward as an agency. It helped us to identify the areas we need to expand our client services and also our own team; so we're now in the process of creating 4 new jobs."

Post lockdown, OON Media is devising new ways to support previous clients and ultimately win new accounts, this includes a new voucher system and introducing a payment programme. Vouchers are available in denominations of:- ₤50, ₤100 and ₤250. These are available to download with full details from the OON Media website. The payment programme will help clients to manage cash flow in these difficult times, while still enabling them to secure the support they need. After an initial deposit, they can then spread the cost over:- 3, 6 or 12 equal payments. Previous clients embarking on a new campaign will benefit from discounted rates, while new clients can sample OON Media services at an introductory price. OON Media has also partnered with Wirral Chamber Of Commerce to offer its members companies exclusive pricing.

Mike continued:- "With the introduction of the Government's Eat To Help Out campaign, we identified a need to restore consumer confidence and investigate how we could also benefit as a company so we've launched the new voucher system and payment programme. We've already worked on one new campaign for Woodside Ferry Village, a member of the Wirral Chamber. We developed a storyboard and short video highlighting the customer journey and safety measures taken to reduce customer risk. Woodside will use the video across all digital platforms, including:- website, social media, and on screens in its dining areas. We would encourage businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors to take advantage of our reduced rate through our voucher scheme; hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars, leisure centres, gyms, and other customer facing services. As well as creating the content, we will monitor the campaign and its results, therefore providing a full service from start to finish. Right now it's all about survival and we want to play our part."

Bestselling Author thanks Lancashire Nurse for saving his life

A bestselling Author has opened up about his diagnosis of bipolar disorder and thanked a Lancashire Murse for saving his life, in his debut book.  Today, Ben Woodward is an international public speaker whose book:- 'The Empowerment Paradox - 7 Vital Virtues to Turn Struggle Into Strength' topped 3 categories on just a week after its release in July 2020. Yet just a few years before, as he approached the busy Hartwood Hall roundabout outside Chorley Hospital feeling at his lowest, he received a phone call that stopped him from taking his own life.

The voice on the other end of the line was Caron Kelly, a Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust Community Psychiatric Nurse based in Chorley.  Ben said:- "At that time for me, it wasn't if I would take my own life, it was when. I was in that place. On that particular day I remember Caron calling and telling me that she wasn't ready to let me go yet. Her interest in making sure I was well brought me from the brink of death. Of that I'm sure."

Caron who is now a Team Manager for the Community Mental Health Team in Chorley and South Ribble, had been taking care of Ben after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression), a mental health condition which means that people's mood can swing from one extreme to another. She said:- "Ben was in quite a low phase when he came to me. I monitored him and made sure he was seen by a consultant to decide the best medication for him to be on to stabilise him."

As is the case with many of those with bipolar disorder, Ben thrived on the high mood swings of the condition but then he would crash and hit a low, leaving him feeling suicidal.  Ben said:- "Sometimes you don't realise you're on a certain path. I went from fantasizing about dying, to researching the most effective methods and from there to setting a date to do it."

Caron didn't feel the medication that Ben had been prescribed prior to him coming into the team's care would benefit him and help raise his mood.  Ben said:- "When I sat down with Caron originally, I was on a mood stabiliser. When my feelings of suicide were getting worse and worse, the medication was changed for the better. I remember her telling me how wanting to take your own life is not normal thinking. It was evidence of psychosis."

With the change of medication and after working through NHS led courses to provide him with knowledge about managing and helping his illness, Ben showed signs of stability. Caron commented that:- "When a patient appears to be doing better mentally, the team takes a step back to allow them to manage their condition."

However, as Ben's suicidal feelings began to reduce, he took the decision to come off his medication, which he now admits was the wrong thing to do. He said:- "The new medication helped and I stupidly came off it. I took myself off it because I didn't feel suicidal. As a result, I slowly sank back to the place where I was before."

After Ben visited the Oakfield unit at Chorley Hospital, Caron felt the ache of experience that comes from working as a mental health Nurse for over 25 years. She said:- "There was something not right about him. He left that day and I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach. I rang him and asked if he'd left, and he said yes, he was at the roundabout and I asked him to come back."

Ben however insisted that he was okay. "He put on this bravado, telling me he was absolutely fine. I said 'no Ben, I want you to come back'," Caron said. Reluctantly Ben returned to the unit. By the time he walked in the door, Caron had spoken to a consultant on the unit about increasing the dose of his medication to something that might help.  She admitted:- "If I hadn't have done that, I do think we'd have lost Ben that day."


Ben, who has 7 children and another on the way, is an in-demand public speaker on transformation and leadership, speaking at events across the world. He is now a passionate advocate of positive mental health, talking about living with bipolar at his public speaking events. The 1st time Ben spoke about it in front of hundreds of people, it wasn't easy. He said:- "I was a keynote speaker at an event in England and it wasn't my usual audience. I felt a desire to speak about bipolar and my struggles with it. I remember there being a standing ovation and people with tears streaming down their face afterwards. From that I now see bipolar as my superpower. While it brings with it some challenges, it also offers many benefits. My ability to empathise with others, to be tolerant and understanding and to be patient with progress is something I could not have developed without this. Some wisdom can only come from suffering. It's a necessary and worthy price to pay."

Ben moved from Chorley to Orange County, California in 2018 and has continued to work hard towards his recovery. He still has periods where he struggles with bipolar and with his now ever busier schedule, he is doing his best to stay in control of his medication and his mood. What Ben has always retained through what life has provided him was a special bond with Caron. While writing the acknowledgements of his book, Ben felt he had to thank Caron as the person who saved his life. Ben commented that:- "I found that so many of the good feelings I have from being in recovery are reminiscent of my time with Caron. Bipolar was such a painful thing to confront and I'm not sure how often people like Caron get acknowledged for saving lives. I hope they do."

Ben also feels strongly about the cliché of how someone who struggles with their mental health is perceived.  "People who struggle with their mental health are often portrayed as social misfits, but it's often far from the case. No matter who you are and what you believe others may think, if you're struggling, please seek help. And seek it early! You might just find someone like Caron."

If you are struggling with your mental health in Lancashire or South Cumbria, please get in touch with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust's Mental Health Crisis Line, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on:- 0800 953 0110.

Ben Woodward's book The Empowerment Paradox: Seven Vital Virtues to Turn Struggle Into Strength is now available via Amazon.

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