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By Hayley Jones

Kaizo, The Pollack Group’s U.K.-based Worldcom partner, presented its second #KaizoLive panel this week with agency president Stefan Pollack and two of TPG’s fellow US Worldcom Public Relations Group partners. The topic was The US State of Play, and the discussion focused on how our partners have been adapting to this ‘new normal’ surrounding the United States’ social and economic climate.

Pollack was joined by Worldcom partners Roger Hurni, Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Off Madison Avenue, and Keith Donovan, President of Airfoil Group. The program was delivered live online together with broadcast and virtual content partner Disruptive LIVE on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Pollack offered three pieces of advice on adapting to this ‘new normal’:

1. Brands and companies who work to become more agile and embrace being more adaptable during turbulent times will create the most value and will be better prepared to advance their future.

2. Companies must be willing to try new tactics and create frictionless opportunities and simple, direct ways to communicate their message.

3. Turbulence and shocks to our system will continue for the foreseeable future. Brands need to create a plan that can be changed easily.

Here were some of Pollack’s key points and takeaways:

•   “We’re now in month six of COVID-19 and are seeing continuous turbulence from a market perspective. Companies are already talking about recovery, how to plan, and what a ‘new normal’ would be. What we’re seeing is that in the ‘new normal,’ the companies that will do well are ones that will thrive in the face of constant turbulence and embrace agility through innovation and digital automation. Two types of companies are starting to emerge now, one that wants to go back to the way things were before, and one committed to a harder path to advance their future.”

•   “There’s been a shift in our clients’ communication, brand and product services. Communicating from their perspective comes down to how well brands can be the most helpful in their environment and find opportunities to invent new ways to be supportive in helping them succeed. We’ve learned that over time, helpfulness will always prevail.”

•   “Right now, from an agency and client perspective, we’re seeing one of the greatest upskilling environments. Having witnessed many downturns and recessions, this is the first-time brands have doubled down to communicate simply and directly to get their messages out. They are getting rid of the fluff by putting out messaging with purpose and finding ways to be purposeful.”

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•   “We see developments in purpose-led communications, especially with the global impact of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. This time it is different because of the substantiality of the Gen Z activist consumer. This generation is demanding change, and some brands are a bit stunned by the need to act, as well as not knowing how to act on it. Therefore, they are finding ways to be an ally to consumers and let other voices be heard.”

•   “The upcoming U.S. election is dominating the news cycle. There is no way to avoid the nature of the election news cycles. There are twists and turns daily because of tweets and headlines. It’s an overall upheaval, and if you throw in today’s media landscape, COVID-19 adds another layer on top of that. How a brand communicates in this cycle is a delicate balance. They must find ways to be helpful while understanding the shifts in the landscape.”

•   “For the remainder of 2020, companies will need to be ready for continued turbulence and shocks to their system. It’s important to have programs in place that can be adaptable at specific points in time and then create a plan that will drive the most value.”

Clockwise from upper left: Kaizo’s Steph MacLeod, Pollack, Hurni and Donovan.