April was one of those—dare we say it—unprecedented months. And you, the sign, graphics and visual communications industry, rose to the occasion, serving customers, manufacturing personal protective equipment and working remotely.
ISA was there with you. After the coronavirus hit the fan, ISA nimbly adapted to have a weekly webinar on pandemic-related topics featuring some of the top experts on the topics. Eight webinars for the industry, ranging in topics from applying for loans to HR policy discussion, helped you navigate the uncertainty and grasp this new business environment. 1,090 industry attendees participated in these webinars. Missed these webinars?
It was the insight and timely information that made these webinars so valuable.
"Stephanie found the HR seminar to be helpful and insightful. The presenter was knowledgeable and Stephanie found it interesting how different our state is handling the unemployment benefits etc., compared to other states. Our CFO attended a different seminar in which he learned we could possibly qualify for Emergency Disaster Assistance through the SBA. We had thought we were limited in participating in only one program. In our case, we have been successful in securing a grant through the PPP. With what he learned, we are moving forward with submitting our SBA application and see how that goes. I know how hard your team works on behalf of the members and just wanted to be sure you know these both were very helpful to us." - Richard V. Poyant, Poyant
And many industry professionals are finding about these timely resources through a new e-newsletter. Almost 60,000 industry professionals are receiving ISA's Daily Industry Digest, aimed at bringing actionable and regular updates on the top issues impacting the sign, graphics and visual communications industry.
Many of these updates directed you back to a new resource center on ISA's website, the Business Continuity Resource Center. There were nearly 20,000 additional page views of ISA's website compared to the previous year, including more than 2,000 visits directly to the Signs.org/BCRC resource.
"I just want you to know how impressive your website is and the information you are getting out to everyone. I have all of my reps here at Avery Dennison, making sure that they are sending out your link and sharing with as many sign shops as possible. During this difficult time, everyone is struggling with finding ways to help or make a difference. Your website is of true value." - Deborah Weber, Avery Dennison
Your communication back to ISA—including responses to daily surveys in the Daily Industry Digest and emails to ISA's advocacy team—was crucial. ISA was able to communicate with the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), earning the sign and graphics industry's official place as "critical infrastructure" because we enable so many "essential businesses" to operate. This designation proved immensely valuable during this pandemic—and will live on for any future challenge we may face.
And we've been uplifted by the responses from many of you to the new daily videocast by ISA's president and CEO, Lori Anderson, which offers quick tips and leadership to guide the industry. Her videos are inspiring the industry to reopen businesses with the latest facts and information, while maintaining a sense of humor.
"If you don't get on board with everything ISA is providing, you’re overlooking an amazing resource which could make the difference between surviving vs thriving. Your videos and words of inspiration are excellent. You and the team have been great on the rapid response to everything. I think we're all going to go a little loopy with the insanity we're hit with on a daily basis - it's good to have reminders we're not in it alone (isolation doesn't mean we're cast away, just apart together)." - Deacon Wardlow, Vantage LED USA
To top it all off, hundreds of planners were educated on the importance of temporary signage through an ISA webinar. This effort by ISA's advocacy team helps your customers to communicate important messages, stay open and keep employees working. ISA has another planner education webinar on the importance of permitting during the time of COVID-19 set for this week, with hundreds more planners registered to participate.
From homes and desolate offices, industry professionals prepared for what's next—and invested in themselves, earning 413 digital badges through ISA online learning courses.
In April, Keith Wilson of Allen Industries earned the Sign Industry Professional badge, the industry's highest demonstration of broad proficiency:
"I have been in the sign industry for just over a year now. I come from a background of 20+ years in IT and construction management. While the juxtaposition between the industries overall is very similar, the ISA online classes and training has provided a knowledge base that bridges the gap. It also creates an environment of empathy for other departments, i.e. Sales, install, production, learning their roles and responsibilities." - Keith Wilson, Allen Industries
It seems that virtually every marketing message and every television advertisement over the last month has reminded us that "we're all in this together." The close partnership between you, the sign, graphics and visual communications industry, and ISA has proven just how true that is. And together, we have served vital roles in helping our businesses and communities stay safe, and now, as we prepare to reopen and rebuild.