How Being Forced Apart Made Us All Better
When the shelter-at-home orders came down in mid-March, I had the same reaction much of the rest of you did: I wondered how the heck I was going to handle a full-time job and homeschooling my kids while simultaneously keeping the stress and anxiety at bay. I have done it all with varying degrees of success over the last 6+ weeks, but I struggled most sharply with how my role as a Marketer would be perceived during a time of global crisis.
During the first week, I was paralyzed to act and chose to shut everything down while we assessed what the impact would be to our business and lives. A webinar we had worked on for months was immediately shelved, and all of the sales promotions and social posts were put on hold. I paid attention to what other B2B and B2C companies were doing. Early on, many companies seemed to miss the mark by trying too hard to make a quick buck off of the collective pain and fear our country was suffering. It turns out that every company I had ever patronized (or who somehow wrangled my email address) felt the need to tell me how serious they were taking COVID-19 and how my health and safety were their top priority. Some of this correspondence felt vitally necessary and did comfort me, like the gym telling me how they are sanitizing facilities or my kids’ schools detailing their remote learning response. Conversely, others induced the need to shower immediately because they were so unnecessary and self-serving. They felt plain wrong, and my coworkers and I tossed bad examples around in Slack with statements like, “Let’s not be these guys! What clowns!”
After some soul-searching and meaningful interactions with people I respect and admire in my LinkedIn network, I came to work on Monday of our second week at home with a plan. We would create a space where our impacted clients could come and get all the answers they desperately needed to maintain business continuity during the pandemic. Rather than blast their inboxes with incessant messaging from all of the operations teams at MultiVu, our SVP would send one thoughtful message directing them to a resource they could use to answer the questions they had been asking in scores for at least a week: What do I do now that my event has been canceled? Can we still conduct our SMT? How do we continue to make our video content now that we can’t travel? Can MultiVu handle webcasts or virtual events?
Our crisis comms hub became a destination for PR, Marketing, and Comms professionals that had the same questions and worries we had been dealing with: How can we continue to run our business in a way that is dignified and helpful? What new tools do we need to acquire or create to keep our proverbial doors open and business on track?
This crisis has brought the entire team of MultiVu together in new ways. We quickly had to create a lot of content that could help our clients learn new skills like filming from a smartphone, what to expect during a Virtual Media Tour, how to pre-record with Chorus Call, etc. We also created entirely new workflows to support products borne of the needs uncovered by our current reality. In short, a team that was used to working shoulder-to-shoulder in offices around the country came together in ways I had never seen before, all during this trying time of working at home during the quarantine. I know we are not unique in this manner, but it is worth celebrating nonetheless. During perhaps our most stressful hour as individuals and the world, my MultiVu peers have risen to the occasion to be the best versions of themselves at work. We have found ways to adapt and be resilient, to cut through the meaningless in order to create something even better together. We communicate more than ever and seem to value each other more, too. It is perhaps the hallmark of being human – we are often the best versions of ourselves during our darkest hours.
Every ask I have made of someone on the team has been met with a resounding “yes.” They have created content for the Marketing or Social teams while being simultaneously buried under their own workload. They have let each other rant when the stress got to be too much without harboring sore feelings or judgment. They have covered for each other when someone needed a break from the screen or their responsibilities. They have shared personal stories of fear and anxiety. In short, they have been the best possible coworkers and friends.
It was Fred Rogers who said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Not everyone can be a healthcare provider or essential worker, but we all can choose to help from right where we are. Thanks to every one of my peers at MultiVu who have done just that.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: Melissa Elsner
Melissa Elsner is the Senior Director of Product Development and Marketing at MultiVu, a Cision company. She began her career as a web designer and worked her way up through various operations roles before being asked to lead the product development and marketing team at MultiVu.
Melissa has a BS in Organizational Leadership from Penn State (WE ARE!) and will soon receive her MBA. She is a diehard Giants fan and a busy mom of two teen boys. She strives to be a leader that empowers and supports her team to reach their highest potential while having fun along the way.
MultiVu is the strategic team at Cision dedicated to the creation and targeted distribution of creative content. Our award-winning diverse pool of industry-leading talent are extremely passionate about partnering with our clients, bringing best-in-class stories and concepts to life, and getting those stories to the audiences who want to experience them most. To start crafting your story, visit us online at www.multivu.com.