Communicators, marketers, media folks and anyone in related industries reading this blog: I may an incurable optimist, and focus on a lot of positive strategies. But it’s time to return our seats to an upright position and prepare fora bumpy ride.
But it’s going to be a long, hard slog –to borrow a phrase from the good folks who brought us to this precipice. And it’s time for us communicators to start banding together, to find ways to use networks and tools like these to help each other out. Why do I say this?
- Just this week I heard of two experienced colleagues still looking for work; I don’t envy being in that spot at this time.
- The US treasury secretary is still warning of dire times, more bank failures etc.
- Advertising budgets are evaporating. Have been, even before the crash.
- One newspaper here in Arizona, the East Valley Tribune is cutting back circulation (and jobs). In some local areas it will be down to four days a week next year.
- “”We’re in this together and we’ll come through this together” says President Bush. Translated: Please help us!
- The cut back on business trips will mean trade events will lose attendees, airlines will get hit, etc
How could communicators be of help?
I get a lot of requests and helpful suggestions via social networks. For now it has been those needing insights on vendors, job openings and recommendations, pricing and marketing tactics.
I wish IABC, PRSA, the AMA and other associations will use this time as a way to deliver more value to members. Heck, even to non-members who would be potential members down the road. PRSA ran a very good piece on the role of the Communicator in an unfolding crisis. It’s still about communicating.
My short list of what we could do:
- Make an even bigger case for putting an end to spin. It may not seem like a huge thing at the time to call a modest improvement “a revolution in…” but when companies fail, or fail to deliver, people’s jobs and lives are affected. We communicators are therefore culpable.
- Educate people on the value of social media in letting the sunlight in. Not every CEO could blog, but when we make our intranets and wikis and podcasts more blog-like, that transparency virus creeps into everything.
- Empower the bottom-up movement. I am a big fan of media training, but not for the typical reasons (of staying on message etc). I want to see those who are not confident with speaking to the media have the ability to convey the rich nuances of the organizations. I had a very bad experience with a bank recently that illustrates why it is dangerous and counter-productive to throw employees under the bus.
Jeremiah Owyang had some great tips on the questions we need to be asking at this time of doom and gloom.