How are you doing?
In New York City, we’re 5 months into COVID.
And since the number of cases has dropped significantly, restrictions have loosened.
As a result, more and more people venture out of their homes trying to get back to some form of normal.
While most adults wear masks or bandanas, many use them like chin slings. They pull these strips of protective cloth over their mouths when others pass or they enter a store.
But in general, many people feel safe from COVID’s invisible presence.
More and more businesses continue to open. Each one posts signs stating that masks are required to enter and restrict the total number of people allowed inside.
Meanwhile, in addition to take out, restaurants have spilled onto sidewalks and streets to serve diners following social distancing guidelines.
Despite this, my husband and I continue to shelter-in-place and follow the same precautions we’ve followed for the past 5 months.
But, this past Friday, friends lured us out to meet them in a safe area mid-point between our homes. And I’m thankful to them since it was the push we needed to get out.
We met in a park along the Hudson River just north of Chelsea Piers and south of the Frying Pan, an old lightboat and railroad barge converted into a bar. Sitting on blankets and wearing masks, we visited for a few hours on an empty patch of grass near the gentle sound of the river.
Looking south, we could see the Statue of Liberty. She looked tiny surrounded by the silvery buildings of Jersey City. She’s the same beacon I look for like a kid from the subway window as we cross New York Harbor on our way to Brighton Beach.
As we crossed back to the grid of New York City, we looked up 11th Avenue to see the Hudson Yards. It’s the latest area of Manhattan to emerge and join the skyline.
Rising out of the once abandoned no man’s land of Penn Station’s train yards, Hudson Yards is a symbol of this city’s ability to survive and grow despite setbacks and neglect.
And I appreciate that Hudson Yards might not be the best landmark to pick because inside it’s gleaming exterior are luxury apartments and tony stores including manhattan’s first Nieman Marcus.
But I didn’t pick it as a symbol of wealth or privilege. Rather I chose it because as we passed walking through the art gallery section of the West 20s, it gave me a sense of hope. A chance that no matter how badly hit New York City was by COVID and the collapsing US economy it would come back and shine.
Despite its current challenges, New York City is about the people who live, work and visit it. During this period filled with uncertainty, we need to take strength from the power within all of us to keep going and to help those around us.
You may wonder why I write about this in a marketing newsletter.
My reason is simple.
As marketers we must know and support our broader audiences.
First and foremost, we focus on the people who consume our content, who consider buying our products and services, who influence purchase decisions, who make the actual purchase,and who use our products and services.
But more broadly, we need to consider and take care of the people who work for our businesses or have another form of income producing affiliation. This includes our suppliers, distributors, agencies, freelancers, retailers, influencers and/or shareholders.
Also, we must support the people who have other, often non-monetary, interests in our businesses. They include the local community where our business is located, various regulatory and government entities, journalists and others.
As a result, your business doesn’t exist in its own bubble. What each company does has implications for other organizations and people that don’t enter into its decision process.
For example, Google’s July 28th announcement that employees who don’t need to be in the office can work from home until July 2021 has broad economic implications. Due to the company’s size, this move:
- Sets trends for other major businesses in Silicon Valley and beyond,
- Hurts real estate values in areas where the firm has large footprint, and
- Devastates communities and small businesses where its employees commute to.
To illustrate the type of impact work from home has had on related businesses, look at the foot traffic to Starbucks compared to other major brand retailers. For many office workers, a regular visit to Starbucks represents their affordable daily treat. Beyond getting out of the office, it provides human interaction often with someone who knows their first name.
I won’t sugar coat it. This has been a difficult time for everyone.
Unlike people, COVID doesn’t discriminate. Even worse, it continues to spread illness and death across the US. Although it tends to have a bigger impact on people who have front line jobs and who are members of marginalized segments.
Despite the wealth and capabilities across this country, we still haven’t been able to unite on the measures needed to bring COVID under control and to eventually create an environment in which our people can be safe to live in a new normal whatever that will be.
So for now, each of us has to make difficult decisions for not only ourselves but also our loved ones.
So what does this mean for you and your marketing?
This means we need to take a deep breath and realize that, as marketers, our shoes have gotten bigger and more difficult to fill. Even if they fit yesterday.
Because as Peter Drucker pointed out, marketing must be integrated into every element of your business.
So whether your management team and/or investors realize it or not, your work is critical to your business’s ability to adapt and survive these current challenges. Because marketing provides consistency across your entire organization to meet the needs of all of its audiences whether it’s in your job description or not.
How do you accomplish this?
- Align your marketing strategy with that of your business to drive profitable sales.
- Help your business achieve its higher purpose to support your community.
- Ensure your business creates a consistent, on-going customer experience.
While I wish that I had a magic wand that could make the past 5 months disappear like a bad dream, I don’t have that super power.
Instead what I have to offer you is some advice I learned from my mother, a woman who believed that she could accomplish something just through her sheer strength of will.
No matter how bad something seemed at the time, my mother believed that you just had to put one foot in front of the other to do what you had to do. Even if the action seemed small at the time.
So maybe it’s time for each of us to hit “Reset!”
Let’s admit that life and your work haven’t been what you imagined they’d be at the beginning of the year.
And maybe COVID dealt you a bad hand.
Or maybe you couldn’t manage more than getting through the days
Let’s face it–COVID has upended everyone’s life in good ways and bad ways.
BUT to move forward to have the life you want, YOU have to give yourself permission to be okay with how you handled the past 5 months. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
While you have to deal with your current reality and responsibilities, give yourself the space to step back and think realistically about what you want your life to be like going forward.
- Not what your parents wanted for you,
- Not what your partner and/or children want for you,
- Now what your besties want for you, and
- Not what your boss, colleagues and/or employees want for you!
But what YOU want from life starting now and going forward.
Know that, despite what you may feel, you’re not alone. And more importantly you have the ability to do this.
Want a real example of what this type of inner strength looks like?
Of course you do–we all learn from seeing how other people succeed. This is why stories are so important to your marketing!
Because like you, Gini doesn’t have Harry Potter’s magical skills. Instead she had a business with clients and employees that depended on her to lead them. And she also has a husband who works full time and a daughter who needed to complete first grade from home.
So what did Gini do during this COVID period?
Gini put her big girl pants on to figured out each challenge as best as she could. Even better, she transparently and publicly shared what she did.
As she wrote in her new Spin Sucks “Surviving and Thriving” column, she’s used this time to rethink what’s most important to her: to be happier and more fulfilled.
And you can be like Gini too!
Take your strength from my mother. I know that like me she’s rooting for you to succeed. And you can!
Like her, be strong and decide what you want and what you have to do. Then put one foot in front of the other and move forward.
RECOMMENDED READING: </h5
Shout out to new readers:Urs, Hau, Sharita, Scott, Shei, Donna, Karen, Ifeanyi, Daphne, June, Mireia and Lordina.
Thank you and welcome to the Actionable Marketing Community!
P.S.: Want Heidi Cohen to contribute a quote or other commentary to your next article, presentation, video, research and/or book?
Then hit reply to this email and ask.
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FEATURED ARTICLE: Influencer Marketing
How do you define influencers and how do they related to:
- Your prospect’s buying process
- Your marketing
This article provides some of the theory behind the power of influencers. Including Malcolm Gladwell, Jonah Berger, Kevin Kelly and Li Jin (Andrressen Horowitz).
As well as 10 steps to guide you to create an influencer program.
In addition, check these related books by some of the thought leaders in the field:
- Jonah Berger: Contagious and Invisible Influencers
- Neal Schaffer: The Age of Influence
- David Meerman Scott: Fanocracy
FEATURED ARTICLE: Storytelling and Content Marketing
Then tell your stories better.
AND, continue to transform them into other formats to expand your audience.
Did you know that Hamilton, the play, can show you how to do this?
FEATURED ARTICLE: Sonic Branding Definition
Do your brand’s unique sounds stand out from the non-stop noise and sounds people regularly hear?
Why do I ask?
Since increased ownership and use of voice-enabled devices means the audio elements of your brand must be consistently identifiable.
The fine print:
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