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By Hayley Jones

On April 28th, agency president Stefan Pollack joined fellow Worldcom Public Relations Group partners for #KaizoLive, presented by our U.K.-based PR partner Kaizo. The topic? US PR agency leaders on the challenges brands are facing and the opportunities that still exist in the current climate.

Pollack was joined by Worldcom partners Elizabeth Sosnow, Managing Partner at Bliss Integrated Communication and Matt Kucharski, President of Padilla. The program was live online with broadcast and virtual content partner Disruptive LIVE on LinkedIn and Twitter and can be seen here.

Here are some key points and takeaways from Pollack:

“In California, we’re approaching day 50 in self-isolation, and the crisis management issue itself has really narrowed down to local vs. state vs. county on the issues. California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti have been exemplary leaders throughout this pandemic, reporting factual and concrete information daily on the current status and protocols. As an agency, our agency moved virtually on March 12th and fortunately, the ability to adapt internally was seamless since we updated our work from home policy and IT systems to accommodate back in late 2019.”

“One thing that became apparent is that there were some internal communication things to adapt to. Our offices in New York and Los Angeles are open floor plans and communication happens freely, in real-time. Now, at home, it is easier to fall into a silo, so checking in and sending updates, occur more frequently. Externally, the biggest shift with clients has been that everyone is at home they have more time and, as such, we have found CEOs looking at, and evaluating aspects of their company, that they hadn’t looked at before or in a long time. They’re narrowing in on all parts of the business, like social media, for example, to ensure the right message is being communicated to consumers during this time.”

“The COVID media landscape is showing consumers which brands are actually “walking the walk” and “talking the talk” in terms of their brand purpose. Brands that are excelling are finding ways to be helpful and useful, and those that can provide expert data, while being resourceful, will be better off post-COVID.”

“Planning for after the pandemic should be happening now. There is an opportunity for digital and corporate communications teams to put these plans into place — especially because we have seen that, while brands unfortunately are furloughing people, they are still sticking with their communication teams to ensure the company’s message is shared and communicated to their stakeholders and audiences.

Pollack also offered three key pieces of advice to get through the current climate:

1. PR and marketing professionals have to put themselves in the journalist’s shoes and understand where we [the brand] are in the story and how a story develops and transitions to get noticed and covered.
2. Brands’ purpose is being tested and, as such, brands may need to reexamine their purpose in a post-COVID world. Purpose has taken on a deeper meaning, and ones that did not resonate with consumers in this time of crisis will need re-think their purpose.
3. With everyone working remotely, communication must be done in a diligent and purposeful manner. Look for ways to provide help where needed.

For more agency insights, visit our WellRed archives