When you wake up in a new world of communications

Barbara Zejn, Account Director, Grayling Slovenia

Barbara Zejn Grayling

Over the last month, there has been a song in my mind that I have loved ever since I was a teenager – ‘Galvanize’ by The Chemical Brothers. When I was at the beach or in a club dancing to this song, I never thought about the depth of the lyrics – well, not in the way I'm thinking about them during these COVID-19 times. I don't know why, but when things are changing and everybody is talking about what “the new normal” will bring, the lyrics finally have meaning.

When Slovenia declared COVID-19 epidemic and when we all started to question what it really meant, my first thought was that it was about time for a reset. Feeling like we were all starring in a movie, someone pushed the pause button and we all stopped for a second and thought afresh about the future. Companies had to react to the situation overnight and adapted their plans. Everything that used to be a daily routine and the way we were used to communicate, even in the middle of the night, was no longer part of our daily tasks.

Communications moved online because people were now spending more time at home, balancing between time with their families, online schooling and home offices. As a result, it is no surprise that online portals increased their reach by over 20% in March (source: MOSS).

Press announcements of new services, invitations to events, interviews on long-term plans, ads with new products, engagement with Instagram influencers… all of those activities were relegated to Plan B. Or, to be honest, removed from the plan altogether. After a really long period of time when we all could predict the next front page story both in print titles and online, the news we would hear on radio or see on TV, and the products which would be shared by beauty bloggers on Instagram, there are now new areas of focus with which we are much less familiar. The virus has turned the tone and topics of communications upside down.

While many companies focused their efforts on helping communities with donations and other support, media experts and the media itself also asked companies to show their responsibility by supporting the media and journalists during this uncertain time. Not only the media, communications experts have also been faced with new challenges. Now what? A deep breath in and an even deeper breath out showed us that what used to be “normal” even a month ago is not “normal” today. News that might give readers/viewers/listeners new hope in this situation is now our ultimate goal through every communications channel. Without holding back, we embraced new directions, as we had very little time to think but knew in the blink of an eye that this was the perfect time to reset our knowledge about communications and embrace new ways of thinking.

We are all on the same page in willing this to be over soon so we can all go back to “normal”. But we all know that the normal we used to know will never be the same normal in the new world after corona. How long will it take us to realize that things have changed, online and offline, and perhaps we needed those changes? It is up to us. We will slowly return to our routines, but our memory of the situation will remain. And if these memories will remind us that, no matter the situation, we need to be responsible to each other’s, then we can be proud to have learned something in this crisis. Because in the end, every individual needs a community. So – continuous communication is a basis for being well informed and it will help us to retain the “don’t panic” state of mind.

“Don't hold back. If you think about it too much you may stumble, trip up, fall on your face” (The Chemical Brothers, Galvanize)

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