By Jason Newman and Shaina Travis on Apr 17, 2020
The first half is over. We had our plan, following what we thought was right. Then the script got flipped. Time to re-group, re-align, and get back out there with a new game plan.
A lot of the work we do as an agency is focused in sports. So, it always helps when we can break things down into a sports analogy. Right now, Covid-19 has taken the lead and we’re walking into our halftime huddle not sure how or why this happened. We’ve been forced to wipe the whiteboard clean, and focus on what we have to do next to return better than ever in the second half. We as people, as creatives, as marketers need to take a look around and re-examine what’s happening in the world. Not all wins are easy, and this may be our toughest comeback yet.
In these times the best plan might just be to strip it down to the basics. This means teamwork, proactive reactions, compassion and empathy. We incorporate these simple traits in our day-to-day game plans with a simple phone call to a friend, a walk around the block for mental clarity, or the 7pm salute to our healthcare workers. But it’s also taking what we know from the past and applying that knowledge into a more ‘advanced’ plan so we can come out of this stronger. AR, VR, technology that’s keeping us connected with friends as well as helping doctors and nurses on the frontline communicate and scientist racing to develop a vaccine.
Right now, we all need to play our roles in the best way we can. And we can do that by speaking to each other as actual people. What’s the biggest thing we all want and need right now? Compassion, togetherness, a sense of community in the midst of something requiring us all to isolate. We all know we can return bigger, better and more determined than ever after this. When we look at brands that are speaking to us during this pandemic, the ones that are resonating are the ones speaking to us as people. Brands that are showing us empathy, are understanding that what’s happening is absolutely terrifying, and maybe we don’t want an influencer that has a perfect life shoved in our face. We want a sense of safety and community, and if a brand can offer us that in an authentic way, they will definitely win us over. Then when this is over (and it will be!), we’ll head back out on the court with a newfound trust for those brands that had our backs. Not just the backs of us as consumers either, but the backs of those going the extra mile to ensure our safety. Truly, there is nothing more important and beneficial to a team than trust.
And speaking of that safety… an influx of brands have been helping our ‘starting line-up’ continue to ensure we’re all safe: providing PPE to healthcare workers, providing comfortable footwear free of charge to nurses for their long hours, and yes, even the monetary donations, which though lacking that personal touch we talked about, is needed more than ever at this time. We’re rightfully celebrating the doctors, nurses, the volunteers, our local leaders, etc. but at this time we also need to be celebrating the sixth man. The individuals coming off the bench, doing their best Lou Will, and helping us beyond compare. Our sanitation workers, grocery store workers, delivery people, cleaning crews at hospitals, our mail carriers, bus drivers… Never forget that sixth men can have just as much impact as a starter. They should always have a place in our huddle.
So as we continue our analogy and look back at some of sports greatest comeback moments, LeBron coming back to Cleveland and winning that Championship, MJ coming out of retirement with a simple, but impactful “I’m back” and kickstarting the sports world once more, Muhammad Ali picking himself up incessantly after each and every knockout, we can see a common thread through them all. Each were able to plan their actions carefully and intelligently to great success. But more importantly, they never gave up. Sure it’s a cliché, but it’s exactly what we need to be thinking right now. The world isn’t ending, it’s just in its halftime huddle…