This is the time to communicate and act with compassion
25 May 2020
As a brand operating in a world experiencing a crisis, what we say, and how we say it, matters more than ever. While our thoughts are with those on the front lines, most at risk or suffering because of this pandemic, we recognize that individuals, households, communities and countries are confronting unprecedented social and economic challenges. During such a culturally defining moment, we need our brands to step up and treat the situation appropriately, with the care and sensitivity the situation demands.
Be moral, noble and show some humanity
The impact of COVID-19 is felt on an individual level around the world. It’s highly personal and relatable. Together, we’re trying our best to adapt to a new reality; coping and adapting as best we can. I’m seeing marketers acknowledging the challenges we face by treading lightly in their messaging to avoid appearing insensitive.
It’s time for compassion, not conversion.
Organizations must adjust tone and messaging according to the enormity of this crisis
Striking the right tone when communicating in a global crisis is crucial, and the responsibility of this sits on the shoulders of marketing leaders. It’s the marketing division that sets the personality of an organization. Marketers need to acknowledge the gravity of the pandemic and lead by offering a sense of reassurance, openness and understanding. Right now, we must be honest and authentic in crafting our messages and using our voice.
Create togetherness, even though when we’re apart
Our #PartOfTheTeam social media campaign acknowledges and accepts the new working-from-home reality, facing millions of workers around the world. As health concerns grew, at NTT Ltd., as soon as we could, we enabled our employees to work from home. We immediately recognized that working remotely during COVID-19 was not going to look the same as it was a couple of months ago. Our employees are sharing workspaces with their children, housemates, partners and pets. Celebrating a newfound camaraderie, we spotted many similarities in our remote working environments in the images posted across our social media platforms.
Talking about family as part of the team highlights common ground and acceptance of our new reality.
Greater transparency, and realness
Marketing amid COVID-19 is different. We’ve accelerated parts of the portfolio that are in higher demand, adjusting execution, schedules and budgets as we go. Most marketing teams have seen discretionary spend reduced, as leaders pivot towards increased communications, as well as creating more storytelling content and resources to share across channels. The demand for information is great. Our conversational tone is more thoughtful and considered. We’re introducing more transparency into our words, more real talk too.
It’s important, though, that we show compassion and understanding not just through our words, but our actions. Our emphasis on patience, kindness and humanity comes through in how we listen to each other and engage with employees and clients. We're adapting by doing simple things like turning on video when chatting to colleagues or clients, and opting to send a video message instead of typing an email.
Focus on what matters most
We’re all in this together. As the virus continues to unfold and we navigate more unknowns ahead, I want to share with you some of the areas I’m focusing on to guide marketing activity during this time of change:
- focus on your people
- be led by your values
- do what is morally right for your customers and employees
- keep the wheels turning and make an additional effort to secure a sense of normality
- identify and embrace new opportunities to form relationships internally and externally
- use this time to regain control of your plan
- acknowledge that right now; no-one has all the answers