Subdued Super Bowl ads, observing Black History Month, and more
Glean takeaways from President Biden’s all-female communication staff, learn how to make your newsletter shine, and gain some outside-the-box ROI tips.
Greetings, comms pros, readers and friends.
In this new feature, we’ll strive to share recent and relevant content from around the industry, as well as stories that might make your day-to-day work a bit easier. As with everything we do, it’s about you, the reader—so I hope you’ll find the links uplifting and educational. Maybe even entertaining!
There’s never a dull moment in the world of communication. Let’s share these moments together and continue striving toward a healthier, happier, more informed society. If there’s any way we can serve you better, please get in touch anytime. Cheers!
Onto highlights from Feb.1-5:
1. Hail to the chiefs (of communication).
What can we learn from the Biden administration’s messaging so far? You might want to add the White House’s Briefing Room to your daily reading list to keep up with current events and press briefings. So far, President Biden’s historic all-female comms team is getting high marks for their transparent, hopeful messaging.
You can learn more about the most diverse cabinet of all time here.
2. Getting your vaccine messaging on point.
The CDC has published a trove of messaging guidance for companies keen on encouraging workers to get inoculated. The toolkit includes a slew of templates and turnkey content, such as posters, flyers, social media graphics, slide decks, newsletter content and FAQs about vaccine efficacy.
While most employees seem amenable to mandatory vaccinations, there is strong skepticism among certain groups. As your company crafts its vaccine policies and messaging, be especially sensitive and understanding toward communities of color.
3. Celebrating Black History Month—with action.
How is your company observing Black History Month this year? A social media post is fine, but tangible action is better.
For a bit of inspiration, the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings are driving traffic to locally-owned Black owned businesses, Apple and UPS are “amplifying” Black creators, and multitudes of companies are using the opportunity to announce new DE&I commitments.
For your own edification—or for your colleagues’ consideration—here are 32 books to read during Black History Month.
4. Is a Super Bowl ad worth it in 2021?
Brands are taking a conservative approach this year, with many sitting out the big game altogether. Many more have shelled out $5.5 million for a 30-second spot, however, and Variety has a sneak peek at what to expect here.
5. Leading during an ongoing crisis.
Your workers are weary. Execs probably are, too. How can we all solider on in an ongoing pandemic?
Rita Men, a PR professor at The University of Florida, reviewed 21 academic studies on executive leadership comms to distill the essence of how to communicate amid crises. Her guidance: Be transparent, convey authenticity, show empathy, and demonstrate optimism.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot’s interview in La Repubblica offers a more recent example of how to “demonstrate real command of the subject matter, a clear sense of how being transparent helps rather than hinders a business’ reputation, and comfort and confidence in tackling the most difficult questions head-on.”
6. Add zip and zest to your writing.
For a bit of lighter fare, Atlas Obscura serves up a tasty read on the new rules of “food grammar.”
7. Microsoft launches new intranet software.
Tech Crunch reports on Microsoft’s new “employee experience platform” called Viva, writing:
“Nadella argues that every organization will require a unified employee experience platform that supports workers from their onboarding process to collaborating with their colleagues and continuing their education within the company. Yet as employees work remotely, companies are now struggling to keep their internal culture and foster community among employees. Viva aims to fix this.”
Microsoft seeks to create a one-stop comms shop, which, theoretically should minimize the “platform-itis” (and Zoom fatigue) that’s causing so much employee burnout.
8. Crafting a better, brighter newsletter.
Forbes lists 15 tips to craft a better newsletter, including asking employees what information they need, being transparent, triggering an emotional response, and making it inspirational.
9. Are offices gone for good?
A study from Clever finds that “63% of employees prefer working from home than in the office, and nearly 30% plan to continue working remotely even after the pandemic.”
They save time by eliminating their commute (62%), have increased flexibility (61%), save money (55%), spend more time with the people they live with (50%), and they can sleep in (43%).
As the pandemic rages on, is it time to kiss office life goodbye—for good?
10. Reinvigorating your measurement prowess.
Are your measurement efforts flagging already? Come on, it’s only February!
Just kidding, you’re far from alone. Aside from tying your efforts to engagement, retention, morale and productivity, you can learn from what others are doing. Beef up your ROI game by seeing which KPIs leadership coaches track, how marketing gauges progress, which metrics HR monitors, and how to track the ROI of your company culture.
Historic all-female communications team? Transparent? Trump had an all female communications team that didn’t screen questions before holding a press conference. Also, his transportation secretary is not the first openly gay Presidential cabinet member. That was Richard Grenell under Trump as well.