essential communications – April 23, 2020

(a ‘ben thinking’ spin-off)
Thank you for all the positive feedback to the first ‘essential communications’ blog! Like I said, I’m reading everything I can get my hands on, as I know so many of you are, so hopefully this helps a little while you’re sorting through things to read/finding topics you might have missed.
Mental health. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York called mental health the next pandemic. That statement has been etched in my brain as each week of ‘stay at home’ (or whatever your state calls it) passes by. I’ve been noticing more and more topics around the psychology of what this will do to our mental state, how it will change us forever and what we can do about it. A few that I’ve flagged this week:
“So you’ve been having weird dreams during lockdown, too?” (The Guardian)
Here’s why quarantine screws up your perception of time. (Digital Trends)
How to curb emotional eating during quarantine. (Yahoo! Life)
Reopening? But what about flying. I thought this read from CNET was interesting as it tries to answer the question, when should we fly? As companies think through reopening, non-essential travel is accounted for in the different phases of Federal regulations:
Phase I: Minimized
Phase II: Can resume
Phase III: No restrictions
It’s definitely a question employees are going to have!
Virtually, real. So I have been having a lot of conversations this past week about virtual events. I will have more to share on this going forward, but the biggest thing I keep coming back to is the need to ‘retrain’ people that what we will be using in lieu of real events is … real. The virtual event becomes the real event. Yea, it blew my mind too. But there is a lot we have to think about, including how people interact with live speakers, how they attend events in their home or office and how to manage engagement. (Which is one reason I’ll be watching the NFL Draft tonight as a fan and as a communications professional.)
This was definitely a topic of interest we saw in our ‘new normal’ survey (linked here if you want to participate) as companies are looking for ways to be ahead of this curve.
One conference taking the plunge early is the YouToo conference held annually at Kent State University through Akron PRSA. They will be virtual tomorrow from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. with some great topics on tap. And let’s be honest, while we work through the semantics on how to make this normal … the content is still what really drives the interest!

So, what are we buying? Up? Snack food and alcohol. Down? Beauty products. This tweet from Morning Consult as they cover the ARF town hall gave us a sneak peek of all the categories affected.
From ‘pass the mints’ to passing on a mint. There is no shortage of industries and products affected by this pandemic. But I’ll be honest, this one surprised me … but I think it’s right. I am a big-time gum chewer. I used to go through a few packs a week … until this pandemic hit. Turns out, I’m not alone. Apparently, people don’t care about bad breath at home!
Thanks for reading—talk to you soon!