Last Friday marked the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Like 2001, it was a cloudless blue sky full of potential.
Back then, nothing alerted us of the horror to follow.
I was working from home on Manhattan’s upper west side when my mother called.
She told me: “Turn on the television, It looks like a Bruce Willis movie downtown!”
BUT it was real life!
Using commercial airplanes as bombs, terrorists flew them into the World Trade Center Towers.
As the buildings crumpled, they left smoldering asbestos laced remains floating in the air. And the remaining site became a visual scar on NYC’s skyline where the Twin Towers had stood.
What I remember most from that day was the deafening silence that followed. It descended on a city known for its noise and activity.
Beneath this lull, New Yorkers feared that more might still happen.
In my neighborhood, people did what they always did during uncertain times:
They rushed to stock up on groceries and perishables. And they left the refrigerated sections of grocery stores bare to the wire shelves.
At my branch of Citibank on Broadway, an employee had posted a quickly scrawled note that read:
“Closed until further notice.”
They didn’t take a few minutes to type and print the note.
By the evening, hand written signs plastered every pole throughout the city seeking news of people who worked in the twin towers.
A block from my building, a red candle burned in a tall glass jar for a woman who never returned. It attracted flowers and other memories during the days that followed. And a candle stands in its place every 9/11.
During the days that followed, the silence continued. The signs begging for news of loved ones were replaced with requests to attend funeral services for firemen and first responders.
When I ventured down to Wall Street, the subway slowed down and creaked through the remaining rubble. YET, the city managed to get the financial markets back online in less than a week. To accomplish this, black-taped cables filled the sidewalk curbs to bring Wall Street back to life.
Emerging from the subway, I remember the flood of light where the World Trade Center towers had proudly stood straight and tall. Before 9/11, they blocked the light. Even in the summer, their shadows cooled the street level plazas.
At the time, 9/11 loomed large in our minds. It felt large and historic as if it would loom large in our memories for years.
But it hasn’t!
Except for those who lost loved ones or who still battle related illnesses.
More than 9/11, COVID underscored and sped up fault lines in the US. They include:
- Health: The leaked audio tapes from Bob Woodward’s latest book, Rage, reveal that the President knew about COVID’s power to sicken and kill people. But he mislead the American people about it. As a result, about the same number of people who died on 9/11 die every few days due to COVID in the US.
- Social inequality: COVID disproportionately hurt people of color and immigrant populations. Since they have more “front line jobs” and less resources. Also, the death of George Floyd became a call-to action. It started peaceful demonstrations across the US and beyond. It resulted in quicker than usual governmental and police change.
- Economic and finance. Despite keeping financial markets going, US tax laws have shifted wealth to the top few percent and drained the government of necessary funds to support during COVID. Due to time lags, the decline in economic indicators and the full impact of job loses remain hidden.
- Political instability. Since top US and UK elected officials lack leadership skills and fuel divisiveness, other world leaders feel that they have permission to be bad players.
- Environmental responsibility. While the current administration has refused to acknowledge the growing need to be green, fires in Western US states continue to burn out of control. In addition to the loss of human lives and property, the natural resources and animal species can’t be replaced. Due to natural wind patterns, this problem has spread debris and toxic air as far east as Western Europe.
What does this mean for your business and marketing?
- Your audience expects your business to make up where government falls short! According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, this applies across customers, employees and others in your local community. Cone Communications has said for years that customers view higher societal purpose as key to branding and purchase.
- Public trust continues to erode. Even worse, this extends to your content, communications and promotions. It includes the platforms you use for advertising according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer. So take care as to where you post your content and advertising.
- Concerns about fake news before the Presidential Election continue to increase as the audio tapes from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward’s latest book, Rage, reveal how the President misled Americans. (BTW, Woodard’s reporting brought down Nixon!)
- Under-reported COVID cases and deaths. Most US COVID data remains unreliable due to different test types and their lack of consistent application.
- Expect increased and expanded cases of COVID. Like HIV in NYC in the 1980s, the pandemic started in focused communities before spreading more broadly. The combination of college openings and students tired of sheltering-in-place with mom and dad has already translated to higher case rates.
- Since a good number of universities, especially those with strong frat organizations, have opened. Then shutdown within weeks due to overwhelming numbers of COVID cases. Further spreading the virus when students returned home.
WOOT! NYU’s Professor Scott Galloway agrees with my assessment that I mentioned in this newsletter 2 weeks ago. Watch his video:
Professor Galloway also emphasizes the need for colleges and universities to rethink their high fees out of line with the rest of the economy. While I grew up in a family that focused on which top ranked school, I would send my children to a public university due to the cost factor.
What we’re reading:
Ultimate Guide To Social Media Marketing by Mike Allton, Eric Butow, Jenn Herman, Stephanie Liu and Amanda Robinson. This book was the group effort of some of the top names in Social Media Marketing.
So you know that you’re getting the social media goods hot off the presses!
It’s also a lesson in how teams work together. This group already knew and supported each other. The result is a unified work.
In other hands, it would just be a collection of articles.
I loved how they tapped into the power of Entrepreneur with their coordinated unboxing of their books.
My favorite part:
This group knows its stuff about social media. When it comes to putting together a launch. For me, this was one of the biggest learnings. As always, you should “steal like an artist!.”
My only gripe:
Entrepreneur’s format for this series only uses black and white. So readers miss the full value of their visuals.
Have a swipe file for launches and marketing programs that you think are good. Then modify them to meet your needs.
Your audience is different and may react differently. So always be testing. And keep a control to measure your true improvements.
Thank you to our new subscribers: Anita, Sharon, Muhammad, Luiz, Jerry, Talkto, Jessica, Miro, Vittorio, Chris, Donald, Abbie and Samu.
And if you enjoy reading the AMG Newsletter, I would appreciate it if you forwarded to your friends and colleagues.
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.
FEATURED ARTICLE: Audience
If you only focus on customers and their influencers and end-users, then you miss out on improved marketing promotion at lower costs.
Includes templates and checklists to help you as well as related marketing theory.
FEATURED ARTICLE: Seismic Content Marketing Shift
In addition to laying out the marketing undercurrents that existed pre-COVID, it provides useful charts and actionable tips to get you up to speed to help reassess your current marketing plans.
FEATURED ARTICLE: Sustainable Content Marketing
To get more from each content marketing effort, follow these 3 sustainable marketing tactics.
Includes charts and actionable tips to help you.
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