Infinite Global, an international media firm, recently held a virtual event with the Midtown Business Club. The keynote speakers included Infinite Global experts Ryan McSharry, UK Head of Crisis and Litigation, and Jed Backhouse, a Digital Brand Consultant. Both McSharry and Backhouse took the time to explain their take on how the pandemic resulted in some key communications lessons.
As stated by Infinite Global, "From reputational resilience and reorientation to the ongoing alignment of digital brand experience, the event covered those working practices and perspectives that have changed (and those that haven’t)."
Jed and Ryan talked through the following questions in regards to communications and the pandemic (check out 32min 33sec for a summary). Here are my takeaways from their discussion:
1. What has changed?
- We are no longer with each other. We now meet virtually. This has a massive impact on the nature of our communications with colleagues and clients - more organized, prescriptive, and less 'natural'. The thing I really miss is the accidental, unplanned chats when you pass a colleague in a hallway. Also of course fewer drinks, lunches, and trips to sporting events!
- Employee work-life prioritized more - this is a good thing in my opinion. No one missed the commute.
- Diminishing levels of brand trust: trust in societal leaders is lower than ever. For us here at Passle, this is really important. We enable experts to be present online and showcase their expertise. It is crucial in my opinion to give voice to your experts as they are the trusted advisors of your firm.
2. What hasn't changed?
- Need for a brand purpose: the need for a brand to stand for something
- Importance of empathy and understanding your audience. Empathy will always go such a long way.
- Need for reputational risk, assessment, and planning: risk management
- Need for a robust communications plan: think ahead and be proactive
3. What did we learn?
- How to align digital brand experiences - for me this is also about empowering the voices of all of your experts so that their personal brand is celebrated as well as your company brand.
- The empowerment of the communications function - now more than ever, you, your firm, and your colleagues need to work on and excel at communication so there is continual improvement.
- You are more interesting and capable than you think you are - I could not agree more!
In conclusion, not ALL that came out of the pandemic involved negativity (although I hope to never see one in my lifetime again). Employers and employees were able to take the time to take a step back, adapt, and reprioritize for the benefit of both parties. Importantly, we have all learned how to communicate more effectively online.