Essential Communications – April 21, 2020

(a ‘ben thinking’ spin-off)
Our definition of essential has changed quite a bit in 2020. And while I don’t think what I do is on the same level as what we now identify as essential, I do think communications have never been more important.
To that point, and because (every)things are changing so quickly, I decided to launch this communications roundup with observations, stories and insights that I think could be essential to our readers. I don’t know the frequency of this piece, but it will likely be two times a week and isn’t designed to replace “ben thinking.”
Let’s get started.
The post-COVID consumer. Caught a tweet from Mathew Sweezy, a contributor to Salesforce and Forbes blogs and author for HBR. In it he stated that the post-COVID consumer will be:
More price sensitive.
More digitally dependent.
More concerned about wellness and hygiene.
More apt to stay at home more.
More concerned about brand purpose
Which leads me to think it is time to review:
Buyer journey strategies.
Buyer personas.
Digital hygiene and capacity.
Brand purpose.
Smart homes could get smarter. I saw this piece in Fast Company about how architects can stop COVID-19 from spreading indoors. The read itself is fascinating. But it also showed me, again, that it’s not too early to be thinking about and communicating about how your business or industry is going to pivot.
Media relations, emphasis on the relations. This tidbit came from our own Bridget Hagan, account director and media relations expert. In her media outreach she has had a front-row seat to what media professionals/journalists are experiencing.
“We have to stay on top of how fast things are changing. Our contacts are dealing with furloughs, extra assignments to cover for those furloughs, and an unusually high volume of content/pitches. Our focus has to be on balancing our outreach with making things easier for them in any way possible.”

This isn’t a TRICK. You’ve heard of a values-based organization. What about values-based remote working? It comes down to Trust … Respect … Independence … Collaboration … Kindness (T.R.I.C.K.). Read more in this great Forbes piece.
Real talk. Does anyone else think that we are going to see a stripped-down approach to corporate and internal communications where leaders change how they address their teams and critical topics? This pandemic has forced leaders to find a new voice as they deliver (mostly) troubling news. I think the recent vlog from Southwest Airlines’ CEO is a great example of this.
Think big and go from there. I spent a lot of time this past weekend looking into how states are preparing to open up their economies. The responses are varied and some plans have been contested, but one thing that stood out is if any company isn’t thinking about how they move forward it is already too late.
In some states the health boards will need to approve your plan. In others, businesses will be given regulations to work around. In a few others, businesses will be waiting to see when they are reclassified as essential. But there are lots of ways to leverage communications to begin thinking through all different kinds of scenarios and what that could mean for workers. A “return" to the office could be met with as much anxiety as relief. The time is now to be putting together a 30-day plan.
Here’s an article from The Hustle’ on what offices could look like to get you started on that thinking.
I am working on some insight for how we should consider moving forward with virtual events. I’m looking forward to sharing more later this week. Hope you found this interesting!