COVID-19 - Vested

COVID-19

Video Insights

Qwoted Webinar: Media Relations in a Time of Crisis
Four journalists discuss pitching and reporting during COVID-19
Combatting the COVID-19 Recession
Eric Hazard and Milton Ezrati discuss the Fed’s stimulous package & economic fall-out from COVID-19
Tips and tools for remote working
Insights from Alyssa Gilmore, Global Head of Comms at Bloomberg and Shindy Chen, CEO and Founder of Scribe
Virtual events and conferences
Christina Bertinelli discusses moving events online
Communications best practices during Coronavirus
Vested founders discuss internal and external communications
Economic impact of COVID-19
Vested’s Chief Economist talks about the virus’s impact on the markets

Featured Videos

Video Insights

Qwoted Webinar: Media Relations During COVID19

Four journalists discuss pitching and reporting in a time of crisis.

Combatting COVID-19 Recession

Insights from Eric Hazard, CEO of Vested Ventures, and Milton Ezrati, Vested’s Chief Economist

Special edition Fintech TV update

Correspondent Emma Clarke’s special edition Coronavirus fintech update

Virtual events and conferences

Christina Bertinelli discusses moving events online

Tips & Tricks for Remote Work

Insights from Alyssa Gilmore, Global Head of Comms for Bloomberg, and Shindy Chen, CEO of Scribe

Employee Communications during COVID19

Esther Veenhuizen discusses best practices for internal communications

Communications best practices during Coronavirus

Vested founders discuss internal and external communications

Economic impact of COVID-19

Vested’s Chief Economist talks about the virus’s impact on the markets

Expert Analysis

Dave Guarino

S&P Global

“The globality and reach of the Coronavirus, and the speed in which it is moving, makes this a unique situation for communicators to manage. Very early on, we established a communications team that would serve point on all COVID-19 communications needs for the Company (proactive and reactive) globally.”

“The key to this team was to make it small and agile enough to not bog down decision making, but senior enough to make the critical decisions when necessary.” 

“For global companies that are US headquartered, ensuring that your COVID-19 communicators in EMEA and APAC have the freedom to make decisions and execute as needed during non-US hours is critical. The speed in which this virus and situation is moving requires delegation of decision making. Waiting for the US to come online while a crisis is developing real-time outside of the States is a process fraught with error.”

Expert Analysis

Leslie Campisi

Anthemis

How is Coronavirus different from previous crises you might have dealt with?

Most crises, are, or can be, isolated. Think: a single company, individual or affected geography. Coronavirus is a global concern and is more than a health crisis as it cuts through economic, political, and other sectors. It’s also unique in that its successful resolution ultimately requires collaborative action across many decision-makers. In other words, though communicators will be charged with helping to manage the crisis on a micro level, they will not be involved in the development of the macro solution. In the communications crises I have worked on, I was able to sit at the table and inform decisions around the fix. This is obviously a different, more complicated and fluid situation in which the communicator has less control.

What’ s one thing communicators need to think about right now?

The most important thing is to balance the need for transparency and facts against the possibility of creating unnecessary concern. Tone and quality of spokesperson are key in moments like this — don’t just think of what you need to say, but also how and whom will say it. Reiterate this to your leadership and even conduct some spot training and practice if needed. The rhythm of communications, including the number of touchpoints, is also critical. You can overdo it as much as you can underdo it. 

How should communicators stay ahead in a rapidly evolving situation?

This is an unfolding situation that we will likely be dealing with for the weeks and potentially months to come. Stay calm and understand that you may be in a situation where you will have to change course and correct previous information. Know that your job is to do the best you can with the information you have at any given time.

Any advice on internal communications and messaging to employees?

All of the above applies to internal as well as external audiences. Additionally, if you are a business that is trying remote working for the first time, give your employees an opportunity to settle into it. Expect bumps, an adjustment period, and more chatter than usual on channels like Slack and email. Don’t presume a “business as usual” situation — be kind and accommodating.

Expert Analysis

Stefanie Shelley

CMO Advisor & Board Member

How is Coronavirus different from previous crises you might have dealt with?

I worked at JP Morgan Chase near ground zero on 9/11 and we had to manage a crisis we never knew we could have.  Our job was to find all of our employees and their families, get our bank branches up and running and manage the fears and sadness in the company.  There are some parallels with the Coronavirus outbreak as our job is to keep our employees safe, but the difference with the virus is that it can single handedly affect our employees.  Back during 9/11, even without the technology we have today, we stayed in very close communication with our leadership teams, external governing bodies and our employees regularly. The key that made it all work is to stay alert and on top of things you’ve never seen before and show your authentic care for those you are communicating too.  With the Coronavirus, there is a difference that this is a crisis that is not contained and can directly hurt your employees and that impact can change exponentially every day. With this vast, fast changing unknown situation, it will be even more important to stay in closer touch and we can use all of our technologies (cell phones, emails, texts, videos, social media, etc)  to stay in real-time touch.

What’s one thing communicators need to think about right now?

With a “once in a lifetime” crisis like Coronavirus, you don’t need to think you should be an expert on health and epidemics.  It’s most important to be the best leader you can be right now and gather information from key information sources (within and outside of the company) regularly so you are up to date and then build a real, authentic relationship with those you’re communicating with.  With employees, it’s critical for them to feel that you really care for them and you’re doing everything you can to care for them. I find that people feel most comfortable with people who are real and authentic who will say they may not “know the answer”, but they show they have a plan with the proper connections and are very responsive to keep up to date on knowing what’s happening.

How should communicators stay ahead in a rapidly evolving situation?

Aside from building out your own leadership teams and communication channels to key constituents, it’s important to think through the different scenarios that may happen.  In situations like this, we really don’t know what will happen, but we can think of 3-4 different scenarios on what could happen. I’ve been in situations as an Executive and Board Director with an evolving crisis and I’ve found it incredibly helpful to plan out several different scenarios.  You can think through what could happen in each one and identify the other big risks and what type of communication based on the severity of the situation. It can stress you about “what else” could happen, but at least you know what the worst of it could be and you can think through about the paths forward and communication.

Any advice on internal communications and messaging to employees?

In my experience in Executive roles for many years, I found it very important to start communications early whenever there is a crisis developing.  It’s important to build a relationship with your employees and build a strong level of trust throughout the company. They will know that you are not necessarily experts in a particular area, but you will be doing everything in your power to protect the employees and steer the company.  It’s helpful to share how you are staying up to date on the situation, communicating with authorities and others and making difficult decisions in favor of employees early, to show your level of commitment. I always found that fostering trust throughout the company was key to keeping everyone calm and informed, which keeps the company’s operations working and the health and welfare of the employees doing well.

Any general thoughts?

 In our world today, in addition to our usual stakeholders – customers, employees and shareholders – there is also our social impact in this world.  This is one of those “once in a lifetime” situations where people and companies can step forward that might be at the expense of their own company. We are seeing the opposite of that in some ways, like spiking up the price of purell and hand sanitizers.  At least for now, we see airlines waiving fees, but there may be some overall improvements to our global economy or personal health care with this major crisis. We hope to see some “lemonade” coming from the “lemons”. 

One short comment I added

The key to leadership in a time of a crisis means thinking ahead, staying closely connected to information sources, building a deep level of trust with employees and communicating with them regularly.

Expert Analysis

Kevin Windorf

CEO, Financial Communications Society

“As with all crises, you can’t lose sight of your other responsibilities. Whether or not it’s ‘business as usual,’ don’t forget to stay true to the objectives of your comms plans supporting those projects away from the dominant crisis. For the FCS, we have a dozen live events scheduled over the next three months. Our members and guests come out for the content on our stage – but they’re also keenly interested in the experience of being in the room with industry leaders, peers and colleagues. Our social media team has not slowed down in promoting our events.”

“Staying true to our mission – Community, Education, Philanthropy – conveys confidence to our membership and the broader community, and ultimately helps us support our selected children’s charities, despite the current crisis.”

Expert Analysis

Bill Wreaks

Gramcery Institute

How is Coronavirus different from previous crises you might have dealt with?

The coronavirus crisis is different from most other crises we’ve experienced in the past primarily due to the lack of reliable information we have about the crisis. Business audiences do not respond well to the statement, “we don’t know.” still, there are positive action steps lead communications professionals should take. The first question that we’d like to answer is “what is the full scope of the crisis?” The answer to this question–at this moment– is “we do not know.”

If the scope of the situation truly is unknown, it is better from a communications perspective to state that fact, rather than create momentary appeasement’s to temporarily alleviate concerns.

It short, it is OK to say “we don’t know” if this is truly the case. 

At the same time, if there are any statements of fact that may be helpful to express, it would be beneficial to state them. It is this uncertainty that leads directly to other disturbances such as market fluctuations, shortages, limited business planning ability and logistical re-workings. 

What’ s one thing communicators need to think about right now?

Communicators, right now, need to communicate. And it is important that their communications be based in fact, not in hearsay or opinion and certainly not in hype. 

Intelligence is defined as “the ability to anticipate in the next move.” Audiences seek to be well-informed and empowered with the ability to make their next appropriate move, even if that next move is to stay in place for now and wait. 

How should communicators stay ahead in a rapidly evolving situation?

During times of crisis, the expression that “no news is good news” does not hold water. Audiences need input during crisis or they begin to imagine the worst. Right now, communicators are being well-challenged in our industry. There is a heavy burden on the shoulders of communications professionals today.  Communications professionals must communicate often and regularly to stay out front. More than anything else, they need to base their communications in fact.

Any advice on internal communications and messaging to employees?

Internal audiences are critical to the deployment of any effective communications plan. Not only do internal audiences need to be kept apprised of company and regulatory policy and policy changes, but they also need to become communicators themselves. All of them–Especially during times of crisis and uncertainty.

This said, Communications professionals must take great care in regular communications with their teams and other internal audiences. Clear communications are imperative. In addition a rationale behind any instruction or communication is also important. It is critical that internal audiences understand not only the what, but also the why.  

Remember,  internal audiences need to explain policies and procedures to external audiences. They should be equipped to do so in factual and straightforward ways. Furthermore, and of equal importance, is that internal audiences all need to be singing off the same song sheet.

Any general thoughts?

Thought 1: Leader ship is important during times of crisis. It might seem easier and perhaps less riskier to sit back and lay low rather than stepping to the plate to lead. I consider times of crisis to be the times when true leaders in our professional community will step forward and help others understand the facts of what is happening as well as define the parameters of what might currently be unknown. 

Irrational fears can create new crises. Leadership should look to keep everything in factual perspective.

Thought 2: One of the most significant business challenges during times of crisis is that plans are put on hold. This is natural, as teams of professionals may not know in which direction they should proceed.

I encourage communications professionals as well as other professionals to consider various scenarios and plan for any number of reasonable outcomes. What would happen if X happened? What would happen if Y happened? What would happen if Z happened? Not knowing how to proceed should not stop us from considering various ways that we may wish to proceed based on eventual outcomes.

Expert Analysis

A COVID-19 Working Parent Schedule

Ishviene Arora

You may have seen this helpful, albeit slightly idealistic, daily schedule for working from home with kids. Vested COO and mom of two Ishviene Arora shares her hour-by-hour guide to running a business, teaching her two sons math, among other subjects, and staying sane amid COVID-19.

Expert Analysis

Impact of COVID-19 on Investments

Dr. Simon Moore, Innovation Bubble

What impact might the present crisis have on investments? There will be all sorts of financial and statistical modelling trying to figure that out – but we thought we might take a more psychological look at it.

In crises human decision making becomes focused primarily on maintaining rather than gaining. Stress and uncertainty make us give undue weighting to risk and loss and undervalue to potential and opportunity. Humans become convergent decision makers – they restrict the options they will consider and become far less psychologically open or flexible.

This is applicable to all humans – even scientists, medical professionals and financial experts.

White Papers

Economic Predictions

Milton Ezrati

It would be a mistake for anyone to pretend that he or she can forecast the direction of the Covid-19 virus.  Some media reports speak about prospects as though the world should anticipate something akin to the Black Death that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages.  Parts of the public seem to have bought into this story or something like it, for in some places necessities are flying off store shelves faster than they can be restocked.  If this sort of story telling contains more hyperbole than probability, it would also be the height of complacency to insist that today’s events will go the way of pandemics from earlier in this century.  The SARS disease of 2002-04, the killer influenza that swept the world in 2009, and the MERS affliction of 2012 all ran their courses quickly, allowing markets and economies to rebound in a matter of weeks, months at most.

White Papers

Remote Work

Shindy Chen

Vol. 2, Issue 9

Scribe special edition: How we remote work

With much of the world on edge because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and workforces around the world grounded, hunkered down, or on lockdown, we thought now was a good time to share how Scribe’s fully-distributed team works remotely and collaborates across four different time zones.

If you’ve ever wanted to work remotely with success, then this Scribble’s for you.

White Papers

Remote Meetings

Shindy Chen

Scribe special edition: Remote work meetings

The impact of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on global workforces continues to be significant and far-reaching. Its market and corporate effects have been felt, but the full ramifications are still uncertain.

As workplaces self-quarantine, we continue our series on how Scribe’s fully-distributed team works remotely and collaborates across multiple time zones.

Last week, we introduced you to Scribe’s remote work culture and our top 6 tools to help us operate as a fully-distributed team.

This week, we discuss best practices that make virtual meetings work for our team members and clients, no matter where they are in the world.

If you want to make the most of your remote work collaborations, then this Scribble’s for you.

White Papers

A Technical Guide to Remote Work

Kevin Trowbridge

Our Chief Technology Officer Kevin Trowbridge shares a step-by-step guide to all things tech while working from home.

March 2020: Coronavirus edition

Internet Connection

I really need the internet to be working right now! What can I do?

Tether your phone to your computer, so you can access the internet via your phone.  Have both the WiFi and your phone’s connection turned on at the same time, this way there is redundancy.

Bluetooth Tethering on iPhone Made Easy: Share the Internet with a Mac

White Papers

WFH: With Trust Comes Freedom

Adam Honeysett Watts – DTCC

WFH: With trust comes freedom

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some businesses are making it mandatory for their employees to work from home (WFH). For many, today will be the first time they’ve worked this way. As someone who already benefits from a company policy that allows people to WFH from time-to-time, I wanted to share some thoughts and best practices for making a success of this new-found freedom. More freedom should always be a good thing!

Forward Guidance

Caring for your team

Dan Simon

Vested has put together a work-from-home package for our staff to help convert laptops to desktop setups, as well as a few additional items to help make working from home more tolerable. It’s especially cost-effective for smaller teams (below 30 people). Here are the products we offered our US and UK teams.

Forward Guidance

Employee
Comms

Amber Roberts & Elspeth Rothwell

Many of our clients have been reaching out with questions about protocol for the likely and unfortunate event key members of their staff become sick.

Our CEO of Professional Services Amber Roberts has put together a memo to help leaders balance HIPA guidelines and legal protocol with necessary internal communications.

Forward Guidance

Virtual Events

Overview & Options

Vested Leadership

Just a few weeks ago, our managing director Christina Bertinelli appeared on Asset TV to discuss moving physical events online. As the COVID19 pandemic has progressed, the virtualization of events is now a must – creating a format that is compelling, reliable and able to garner attendance can be a challenge.

Our leadership team has put together a guide that answers questions surrounding hosting a virtual event, such as:

  • What are the pros and cons of a live versus pre-recorded online events?
  • Which platforms are the best to use for which format?
  • How should you quantify engagement before, during and after a virtual event?

Forward Guidance

Media Relations

in a Time of Crisis

Ishviene Arora

Over the last few weeks, many of our clients have reached out asking us for guidance around successfully working with reporters during COVID-19. Our proprietary tech platform, Qwoted, has looked at reporter activity inside the platform, analyzing:

– Most frequently-searched COVID-19 topics
– Progression of COVID-19 coverage across the media landscape
– Frequently-requested commentary topics around COVID-19

Forward Guidance

Combatting

the COVID-19 Recession

Milton Ezrati

After a few days of shameful positioning for special interests, Congress in late March finally passed legislation to head off the worst recessionary effects of the present medical emergency or rather from the quarantines and shutdowns associated with it. There was a risk that Washington’s policy response might miss the unique nature of the economy’s predicament and adopt policy measures out of the standard anti-recessionary playbook. To the credit of both the government and the Federal Reserve (Fed), that has not happened.  Some policies are of the standard sort, but most do focus on the special needs of this situation.

Our Chief Economist Milton Ezrati offers his analysis of what’s ahead for the economy amid the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.