Signal AI Covid Panel Event
Our event this morning, in partnership with Signal AI, looked back over the last year and the impact of the global pandemic on our professional – and of course personal – lives. As a panelist it prompted real reflection for me around what we’ve all experienced, how our lives and work have changed and what will continue to be different, better and impacted because of Covid.
Thank you to my panelists Benedict, Zarina and Enzo, and Charlie our host, for making this morning’s discussion so thought provoking. What was so interesting to me is how quickly as a collective we recognised the rollercoaster we have been on and how despite all of our incredibly different and unique human experiences, how similar they really are.
From anxiety, fear and being overwhelmed to an incredible sense of resilience, agility and adaptability, I recognised both sides of the Covid coin in equal measure. Yet throughout the conversation, despite all of the tough times, I could feel a strength from within. A year on we have learnt and grown.
While the conversation was incredibly wide ranging, when I think about my key outtakes from they focus on what I will call three Cs of communications in a post covid world:
1 – Collaboration – we talked alot about how brands which historically have competed, have come together in recognition of a common mission. From LinkedIn’s alliance and support for The Big Issue, to Burger King supporting local businesses and of course the collaborative approach to the vaccine. Being stronger together came through loud and clear. And when we think about the opportunities for financial services, we already know of fintechs collaborating with financial institutions, of collective voices around ESG, but I believe so much can be learnt and evolved in this space going forward.
2 – Culture – as organisations which have all onboarded new starters remotely, I was struck by how important culture was for all of us, as we talked about supporting individuals within our organisations in challenging times. The need to be more human and more connective, sits of course at the heart of all communications, but in this environment it truly has meant that as Zarina said ‘communications has become an essential service’.
3 – Community and connectivity – when we talked about the shift in financial services communications, it became clear that change has happened. Benedict talked about the shift to serve not sell, I observed the shift to share not tell. 2020, I hope, has been a watershed in how organisations truly consider their responsibilities to their workforce, environment and customers, which in turn shifts how they engage and communicate.
Yet in many ways the principles of great communications have not, really changed all that much. Understanding your audiences and their fundamental drivers; knowing and owning your story; and grounding both of those in the reality of the world we are living in remain true. What has changed is the need for greater agility, flexibility and humanity, and long may that last.