For those of you who tuned into Mark Ritson’s live podcast last Thursday about marketing in Covid-19, you would have heard him talk about the false ‘pneuma’. Pnuema being the ancient Greek word for breath and his view that immediately post Covid, there will be a 3-4 week period, the false pneuma, where the royalties on Bill Withers lovely day will sky rocket as we see ads full of hope in the new dawn. Then very quickly, we will settle back down into the reality of marketing in a recession.
As a marketer classically trained in the late 90’s I love Mark’s advocacy for the 4 P’s of marketing and how we have largely forgotten 3 of them and focussed all our efforts on promotion. Now, perhaps more than ever, we, as a marketing and creative industry, need to really spend quality time thinking about the other 3 P’s. We are already witnessing that those brands focussing on their Product and Place are winning at the moment. Think Uber Eats altering their delivery & payment protocol for the good of their customers and society, LVMH producing hand sanitiser and only this week, British American Tobacco talking about testing a Coronavirus vaccine on tobacco plants!
Perhaps this will be one of the triumphs out of Covid-19 in that we will up our game as an industry and while we continue to rightly obsess about how we Promote to our target audience, this will be matched by an obsession on our Product or offer, Price and how we make money and help bring in much needed short term cash and Place, in terms of what our distribution channels will look like to make it easy for customers to buy from us.
One thing Mark didn’t talk about was HOW are we going to work differently, particularly post Covid lockdown, to deliver this for the long term. As we start week 3 we have the tech platforms sorted, and are getting into the groove of juggling virtual meetings with real family life. For those clients and agencies I have spoken to, we are starting to shift the dial around our focus on wellbeing as we work with many great initiatives from daily team check-ins ,to see how people are genuinely feeling, team cookery demos at the end of the day and everyone I know is managing to access some online inspiration or go outdoors to take some exercise.
However today, Marketing Week shared 2 stats that 53% of marketers are now worried about productivity being affected by travel restrictions and the adoption of new tech (this is up from 45% worried about this 3 weeks ago) and secondly 70% now feel team morale is being impacted by the current situation.
In our Let's Reset book published at the end of 2019 we photographed and interviewed over 80 industry leaders on how they have built their resilience and wellbeing at work. In collaboration with Rankin we chose 3 Photographic images, our 3 P’s, to help reveal aspects of their true selves: The back of the head shot which represents FOMO, The BIG emotion shot that expresses our true self that colleagues might not always see and the Face Palm shot to signify a moment to stop, reset and have time to channel thinking, be creative and take time to breathe.
One of the benefits we are seeing from our current ways of working is that there is a reduction in FOMO as we are all effectively missing out. How refreshing that we are not feeling the same amount of pressure to be at every meeting and perhaps learning ever so slightly, to start playing in position, playing to our strengths and being where we are truly needed and can truly add value in our business. We are having more time to Face Palm, think and reset away from the frenetic way of office working and lastly people are learning to be their true selves. Suddenly we are all in this together and so it is somehow more ok…not to be ok, to have a bad day and to share it.
So, while we are not yet in post Covid freedom listening to Bill Withers for the 100th time, we need to think now about how we will return to work and reset our business culture. HOW we take the good things that have happened from our isolation and continue our increased focus on building our own and our team’s resilience and wellbeing at work.
Mark reminded us about mad cow disease in 1996 and how people were never going to eat beef again! They of course did because people go back to their old ways even after significant bumps in the road and so our challenge is to add to Marks 4 P’s of marketing the 3 P’s of our resilience and wellbeing and how we do this for the good of us as well as our customers both now AND in the future.
If you are promoting a positive working culture in your business during the Coronavirus , have a story about how you are keeping your business running or just want to share your story of being an entrepreneur, business leader or employee at this extraordinary time, we would love to hear from you. You may also be able to promote your business on our website. Drop me an email at let's reset firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Helen Gorman is a Partner at let's reset