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I know we are all getting a little antsy to get out and get together. Let’s take it slow and see if we can take care of ourselves and take care of someone else as well.

Some days a chart just says it all.Social distancing for blog

Remember, true friends social distance.

Silos do serve a function. In an organization, they create fully dedicated teams working on a particular client or function. Silos can create efficiencies, focus and new skills. However, silos do not work in your digital environment. You need to borrow an idea from nature and employ a digital ecosystem.Young femal e engineer concept. GUI (Graphical User Interface).

For years, the website has been the purview of the IT department, but the new-age website, driven mostly by Google and social media, now require a wide array of communication skills and expertise not usually found in technical departments.

The ecosystem approach recognizes how content, search engine optimization, digital media, user experience and content creation all coexist to reach your goals. These areas are interconnected and enhance the entire website, from function to user experience. This allows for better storytelling, cross promotion, conversions and linking.

This modern approach, when fully engaged, brings a holistic representation of your brand. It optimizes your entire digital effort, and it brings balance to your marketing. <small cymbals should chime here>

I’ve been hearing a lot of people say, “When things get back to normal …” “We’ll do that in the new normal.” “I just want to get back to normal.” prefer to work from home

As I learned when the floods washed away our Cedar Rapids offices, when the TV tower collapsed in an ice storm, when recessions rocked businesses, normal — that feeling of conforming to a standard, the usual or expected — never comes back. It’s new, but it is never normal again.

According to statista, “Millennials have now been devastated by not just one but two ‘once in a lifetime’ crises — the 2008 Financial Crisis and COVID-19.” That will change how millennials view the world forever. “One key trend that has emerged and remained largely overlooked is the massive, swift and efficient transition most office workers made to continue doing their jobs from home,” says Niall McCarthy, data journalist at statista.

This should change every marketing personna or profile of millennials. They can now work anywhere and at any time. That will change the workplace forever — and how millennials spend their hard-earned money.

This will be a very simple, blog post.

The most important marketing thing to remember in a COVID crisis is your audience. By the way, all our audiences have changed. They have not changed in demographics, they have changed in psychographics. We all have changed. Human Crowd Forming A Target Symbol: Target Market Concept

It’s been hard on everyone and especially your customers, donors, stakeholders, patients, potential students and friends. Your target audience, at a minimum, is uneasy and unsettled. Some are so uncomfortable with their current state, they are angry. Most are just worried and dealing with all levels of anxiety.

  • They want information, not hyperbole
  • They don’t want fake compassion
  • They want ideas
  • They need confidence

The best way to be relevant to your new-normal audience is to read all your marketing out loud. If you’re too embarrassed, then there is something wrong with your copy. Read out loud all your messaging, letters, ads, sales sheets, speeches, blog posts and posters. It is best to read out loud to a group of people (on a Zoom meeting, of course) similar to your audience. Read to people who will be honest.

We’re all embracing the unknown. Yet focusing on your audience’s current condition will help your copy connect in a relevant way.

 

I’ve been consuming pounds and pounds of content during this crisis. And from time to time, it will appear as if some organizations haven’t added any fresh content for years on their website or in their social feeds. And it made me wonder: Is fresh content in a crisis even more important? I believe the answer is yes, but I couldn’t find any research to back up my hypothesis.Pinterest Fresh content board

Interest heightens for news and information during a crisis. And this crisis is a doozy.  So with consumption of media sky high, the need for more and new content makes sense.

In normal times, we can see Facebook campaigns drop off when content begins to get stale. Google knows when you last updated your website and other content. The algorithms Google uses rewards fresh, up-to-date content. According to Brandbliss, “Google employs a so-called freshness factor, an algorithm that prioritizes new, frequently updated content over old and outdated web pages. Why? Because nobody likes stale content, and certainly not Google.” So even in non-crisis times there a real SEO/robot reason to have fresh content.

The balance is always how to use the power of frequency against when a message’s effectiveness degrades. We know that you need a frequency of around 10 to 15 to breakthrough clutter, but during a crisis, when people are watching sources for news and information you may only need a frequency of around 5. And you many need more diversity of messaging. You can spread out your messages and run different messages simultaneously, but you are still going to need more content. Lots and lots of fresh content.

Building and Authority Website

The more informative and valuable content you publish (that is industry specific), the greater authority Google grades your website.  The specialists win, but if you’re not selling yourself a specialist, then your authority grade diminishes in Google’s eyes.

In 1996, the year we started our advertising and fundraising firm, Bill Gates said that on the internet, “Content is king.” In a crisis, fresh content is kingier.

 

We’ve learned a lot of new words during these COVID-19 times. Such as COVID-19 (which stands for corona (CO) virus (VI) disease (D) started in 2019 (19). It is a novel (new) corona (halo which is what the virus looks like under electron microscopic examination) virus ( an infective agent able to multiply within the living cells).New Mindset New Results

When you listen to current advertising, these “times” seem to need an adjective. Here is a list of the most common adjectives I’ve heard. The word “times” is usually followed by “remember.”

  • “In these uncertain times”
  • “In these troubling times”
  • “In these unsettling times”
  • “In these changing times”
  • “In these volatile times”
  • “In these shifting times”
  • “In these dark times”

Yet, it is these kinds of times that bring about new thinking, metamorphosis, revolution and innovation. It takes the “dark” times sometimes, to show us the “light.”  It’s these “changing” times that can bring about real change.

I’m ready for a change to new times with new adjectives. How about:

  • In these instructive times
  • In these evolving times
  • In these innovative times
  • In these transformational time

In these reflective times, it’s good to reflect and remember these times will change and they will change us.

 

If you search for crisis stages you will get millions of answers. Yet one thing that is consistent is that in every crisis there is an associated communication crisis. Sometimes layered crisis communications problems. As Dr. Seuss says, “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind.” crisis stage

From working with organizations of all kinds, we find there are 4 typical stages to any communications crisis. Strong public relations is needed at any stage, but when we get calls are usually at the “Emergency or Anger” phase. The problem is that during “Recovery and New Reality” stages people are forming ongoing relationships for the future.

The one thing we often see from organizations in crisis is a need to go silent. The second problem is going slow. Most feel safe going slow and silent. But that is probably only good in submarine warfare. However, silence is never a good strategy in the court of public opinion. And slow only makes you irrelevant.

When our business flooded in 2008, I remember those who stood up for our business and thoroughly communicated with us throughout the crisis. It is a very short list and not made up of the business leadership you would think.

Each of the 4 stages have unique messaging associated with the problem. No one stage is the most important: However, pay special attention to the Anger stage. This stage can last the longest and bleed into other stages. It is the stage where blame is set–even if it is not deserved. Every crisis needs a scapegoat. And there will be a search until an adequate one is found — best to do messaging to make sure your organization name is not a goat.

The end of the Dr. Seuss quote goes like this, “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bough a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”  The big bat of any crisis is solid public relations/communications strategy.