Wednesday, July 15, 2020

What Happens When Leadership, Service and Encouragement Join Forces?

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing leadership experts. One of these experts is James Strock – who I met in 2011 – a speaker, author, and reformer in business, government, and politics. His book is a must-read, Serve to Lead 2.0: 21st Century Leaders Manual. Connect on Twitter @jamesstrock and visit his website at We recently had a discussion about leadership, and highlights follow below.

QUESTION: One of your pearls of wisdom is, "When your ultimate concern is those you’re serving, your vantage point necessarily is from the outside-in, not the inside-out.” Can you please explain? 
JAMES STROCK: Quite understandably, many people analyze their life and work from the inside-out. They approach the world seeking, as it were, to sell the notions they’ve spun, the perspectives they created, the knowledge they’ve accumulated. This is encouraged by the ways in which most people are formally educated, with focus on their individual performance.

An alternative is to work from the outside-in, to transcend self-focus to attain a service mindset, focused first on those one would serve. This can result in much more effective value creation for customers and others. It can also be of significant value in building a strong psychological basis for one’s work and life. Various studies have borne out that when we’re focused on serving others, many of the stresses and anxieties that can inhibit performance are reduced or redirected positively.

As just one example that may be familiar to many readers, consider public speaking. This is a necessity for most of us, to one degree or another. Nonetheless it is often one of the greatest fears for many. If one removes self-consciousness, replacing it with an audience-consciousness, one’s performance may be enhanced. Going further, if one is aiming the performance of speaking or other tasks toward transcendent goals, the further one goes beyond self-concern the more effective the result can be.
QUESTION: Due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders for many employees, what new practices can businesses implement to collaborate with other businesses/strategic partners in the future?
JAMES STROCK: 2020 is emerging as a hinge moment. It may well be a year that is recalled in the way of 1914, 1919, 1929, 1939, 1941, 1945, 1963, 1968, 1974, 1979, 1989, 2001, and the Great Recession beginning in 2008. Which is to say, 2020 may be a year which divides the past from the present and future. We’re very much in the midst of 2020—and it’s a very crowded year thus far—so any observations are provisional.

One change that’s already manifesting is that telecommuting is rising to a new level. Rapidly improving communication technologies are a factor. So, too, the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many physical offices to close—along with schools—has meant that many employees were directed to work from home. Many bosses who were a bit out of date were brought up to speed rapidly, learning that employees can work at least as effectively from remote locations in many cases. This will change management approaches. It may lend itself to new office arrangements and schedules. CV-19 will prompt distancing in workspaces. This will coincide with the prospect of reducing commercial real estate requirements. Cities and states may incent distributed work arrangements for the benefits in reduced air pollution and infrastructure wear. This may come quickly in areas with extensive mass transit, which may face reduced usage because of distancing concerns.

So, too, the rising capacity for a distributed workforce may incline more enterprises to retain talent as contractors rather than full-time employees. This will add to a surging political debate on the regulation of independent contractors, already stirring because of the controversial AB 5 legislation in California, which seeks to push Uber drivers, for example, from independent contractor status to full-time employees with the prospect of unionization. One anticipates that many employers and employees may be receptive to new arrangements after the forced shut-down reset their views of long-established customs.

For business, as for other institutions, the pandemic has accelerated existing trends and exposed areas of weakness. Ultimately, two overarching trends may face examination and recalibration. One is the financialization of business over the past forty years, including its relation to international trade and supply chains. Another is the transition from an industrial economy to a service economy. We may end up with a hybrid built around updated notions of national sovereignty, with a rise in the US, for example, in manufacturing capacity. However that sorts out, it will be necessary to update social insurance arrangements from the past century that were created for an industrial economy emerging from an agricultural economy, rather than a service economy.

In sum, there are numerous issues that will arise. The great thing is that ultimate outcomes are difficult to predict because we’re likely on the verge of an explosion of innovation, particularly in the US. The next decade holds the prospect of being extraordinary for entrepreneurs of all kinds.
QUESTION: You last appeared on my Blog back in 2018, and I asked you, "How can leaders (Presidents/CEO’s) explain their vision to employees so that they also embrace it?" How has the current COVID19 situation changed your thoughts about this when many businesses are closed? (Referenced link provided at end of this Q&A.)
JAMES STROCK: The specific practices change, but the principles of leadership communication remain the same. There have been numerous instances of excellent use of Zoom and related communication technologies by CEOs during the pandemic. Regrettably, there have also be dispiriting misfires. As with other areas, the pandemic may have constituted a stress test, with some enterprises and CEO’s emerging with flying colors – while others fell short.

QUESTION: Which three brands are your favorite industry leaders, and why?
JAMES STROCK: My favorites tend to be brands that customers and other stakeholders view as occasioning relationships, far deeper than merely transactional. This is consistent with Kevin Roberts’s notion of “love marks.”

May I offer a somewhat idiosyncratic group? One is The Beatles. This is an astonishing brand, conveying creativity, excellence, experimentation, joy, and a stunning capacity to reach across time and space.

A second would be Apple. It’s no accident that Steve Jobs constructed the Apple brand in no small part from the inspiration of The Beatles.

A third would be Southwest Airlines. In an industry that in the best of times is noted for strained labor-management relations, Southwest stands apart. So too their customer-centric approach to management has created exceptional customer loyalty. With the transportation, entertainment and hospitality sectors reeling under the pandemic lock-down—and the likelihood of ongoing distancing—Southwest is benefiting from its best-in-class service.

There are, of course, many more, but these three stand out in most any consideration of brands.

QUESTION: What is your favorite leadership quote, and why?
JAMES STROCK: I have so many favorite leadership quotes that choosing one seems a bit random! One that speaks to me is the epitaph selected by the late British politician Tony Benn: “He encouraged us.” When we truly encourage one another—inspiring courageous thought and action—many, many good things can follow.


My gratitude and appreciation to James for appearing on my Blog a fourth time and for sharing his inspiring leadership insights!

Sharing Timeless Leadership Lessons – from 2018:

Leadership Is All About Serving Others – from 2014:
Serve to Lead – What a Visionary Concept – from 2011:

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What's Your Favorite Fourth of July Brand?

Some brands include “America” or “American” in their names, and here are some:

  • American Airlines
  • American Apparel
  • American Broadcasting Company
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • American Express
  • American Greetings Corp.
  • Bank of America
During the months of June and July, brands can take advantage of the “America” or “American” portion of their names for advertising and memorable promotions.

The reason behind the advertising time extension can be explained by a simple advertising fact. Businesses want to capitalize on the buzz of the moment. In the case of June and July in the United States, that buzz is Independence Day, that takes place on the Fourth of July.

If your brand had “America” or “American” in its name, what would you do during June and July to capitalize on Independence Day or the entire month of July? Certainly, product or service discounts are an option, or maybe, the launch of a new product or service, or perhaps, the implementation of a new loyalty or referral program. But whatever announcement your business makes, you will definitely have an audience.

Another spin on this topic is if a portion of your brand name is tied to a national park, national monument, theme park, hotel resort, etc. There is no doubt that your brand has a head start on brand awareness if the name of your business is Mount Rushmore Cement Company or Yellowstone Coffee or Liberty Bell Music Store.

In all of these scenarios, the first goal of all marketing campaigns has been achieved. There is immediate brand recognition.

However, don’t lose sight of your brand strengths and the competitive positioning that you’ve worked hard to achieve.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey (featuring American Greetings, American Airlines, and Bank of America)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Tips to Focus on Your Customers During #COVID19

The best part of social media, and especially my favorite platforms Twitter and Instagram, is the people I meet from all over the world and the information they share. Recently, I met Augie Ray on Twitter, and due to our shared passion for customer experience marketing, I invited him to appear on my Blog to share his expertise. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

Augie Ray is Vice President, Analyst at Gartner. He publishes research and offers guidance on topics relating to customer experience (CX), including CX strategy and governance, the ROI of CX, voice of customer programs, and the role of personas and journey mapping as tools to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.  Augie has also led the Gartner for Marketer’s research response to COVID-19. Prior to Gartner, Augie was Director of CX action at American Express and led social media at two Fortune 500 companies.

QUESTION: How do you clarify the difference between "customer experience" and "customer experience management?"

AUGIE RAY: I see CX and CXM as different sides of the same coin. CX is the customers' side, and it's their perceptions and feelings accumulated from all of the experiences they have with a brand. The definition of CXM comes from the brand’s side of the relationship, and it is the practice of anticipating, planning, and reacting to customer interactions to meet their expectations and improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. That last part is essential: customer experience management is about what we do strengthen customer relationships and deliver strong retention, frequency, cost to serve, referrals, and other business benefits.

QUESTION: Which social platform is the best tool for creating a quality customer experience, and why?
AUGIE RAY: This is a trick question. All CX should begin with an understanding of a customer’s needs and expectations. As a result, there is no single answer. A given audience and persona may need, want, or value experiences on Facebook while another may desire brand interactions on TikTok. Or, a given persona may not value having social media engagement with brands in the first place.

As a CX advisor, I recommend listening to what customers want and evaluating their feedback for drivers of satisfaction and dissatisfaction before deciding on a channel for CX. In other words, the question shouldn't be which social platform is best for CX (with the implicit assumption that one must be best). Instead ask, "What are customers' needs and drags on their loyalty, and are social platforms equipped to help your brand deliver on expectations?"

QUESTION: Have you had any exceptional customer experiences during the current COVID-19 era? Please elaborate.
AUGIE RAY: The number of disappointing customer experiences I've had during the COVID-19 era is much greater than the exceptional ones, but there is a local restaurant whose pivot to curbside pickup has been outstanding and is a wonderful model for other restaurants.

While other restaurants simply shifted their full menu to take-out or delivery, Buckley's ( gave some real thought to providing the best experience under the circumstances. It limited the menu to focus on things the staff could best produce that would travel well. The restaurant updated its website with prominent information about its COVID-19 offerings. And, the thing I really like is that the food comes with instructions for reheating and assembling.

Other restaurants' food comes lukewarm, soggy, and in need of reheating, which only diminishes the experience that much more. Buckley's food takes a tad bit more work to complete the process but is warm, fresh, and tasty. (And the handwritten thank you note in each order is a nice touch, as well.) While some restaurants merely shifted to the take-out or delivery services they already had, Buckley's reconsidered how customers can best enjoy their food despite the challenges.

The funny thing is that I wasn't that big of a fan of the place before COVID-19, but they've become my go-to neighborhood restaurant during our stay-at-home period, and it's changed my perception of the place. I suspect I'm not alone, as the lines of cars waiting for curbside pickup demonstrate.

QUESTION: On your blog, you wrote, "In an increasingly social, mobile, and real-time world, brands are created not by the messages they broadcast but by the experiences they offer — ones that create empathy, build trust, earn loyalty, spur Word-of-Mouth, encourage collaboration, and provide ever greater value to customers in innovative ways." How would you propose that brands improve their messaging for the post-COVID-19 era?
One thing brands must do during COVID-19 is to avoid relying only on messaging but to lead with actions. It's one thing to say you're empathetic but another thing entirely to be empathetic. It's faded a bit now, but in the first month of the COVID-19 crisis, brands filled the airwaves with lookalike ads competing to convey how deeply each brand cared about employees and customers. They all felt alike, and thus, did little to differentiate the brands.

Also, people got sick of those ads quite quickly because they didn't need brands to express their care for employees and customers but to actually care. Don't just say you're grateful to your frontline workers; show them your appreciation by adequately compensating them and providing the necessary protection. Don't just buy an ad to tell customers you support them; consider the challenges customers face and proactively offer solutions. Before you spend one dollar on messaging during the pandemic, make sure your actions speak louder than your words.

In addition, I try to avoid talking about “post-COVID” with my clients. We’re not likely to be post-COVID for 12 to 18 months and possibly longer. There’s a long road ahead, and I urge brands to focus on the lengthy and difficult period of uncertainty we face throughout 2020 and into 2021 rather than trying to predict and plan for a “post-COVID” world quite yet. Most brands face far too many difficulties in the immediate future to start jumping to conclusions of what 2022 might be like, in my opinion.

QUESTION: What are your three favorite brands, and why?
AUGIE RAY: I'm a big fan of Disney, particularly the quality of its content and the experience at its resorts. I joke that one of the reasons I'm a CX professional today was that my first Walt Disney World experiences were so remarkable, I had no choice but to read about the culture, practices, and leadership that could deliver those experiences.

I think Best Buy has done a remarkable job of navigating the challenges of the digital and brick-and-mortar experience. They're an example of how the online and offline channels can work together and feel like extensions of each other rather than the sort of awkward online/offline divide I see from so many other retailers.

And, I respect USAA a great deal. I had the pleasure to work for USAA and got to see how the brand prioritizes the member from the inside out. My employment experience with USAA continues to inspire me for how customer-centricity can be made such a big and important part of a company's culture.

My gratitude and appreciation to Augie for appearing on my Blog and for sharing his inspiring insights.

Image Credit: Augie Ray outside Buckley's.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Why Generic Marketing Won’t Work during #COVID19 Crisis

In 2014, while I watched the Super Bowl and the ads, I encountered a stream of live Tweets on Twitter led by Jim Joseph in New York using the hashtag #SuperBowlExp. While 3,000 miles away, I enjoyed the discussion about the ads with fellow branding and marketing experts. Each year since 2014, I've looked forward to Jim's Super Bowl chats sometimes even more than the Super Bowl itself. Based on Jim's expertise, I've invited him to participate in a Q&A about branding and marketing in the current COVID-19 era, and highlights follow his bio below.

To quote Jim Joseph, “Marketing is a spectator sport,” and he’s one of the industry’s most engaging, enthralling, and entertaining commentators. As the Global President of marketing communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), Jim constantly puts his experience to the test. He is also an award-winning author of "The Experience Effect" series and an adjunct instructor at New York University where he teaches a graduate class in integrated marketing. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimJosephExp and check out his blog at

QUESTION: Tom Fishburne's cartoon accurately reflects how countless brands are interacting with customers and consumers during the COVID-19 crisis. What is wrong with the generic strategy?
JIM JOSEPH: In one word, fatigue. Consumers are getting tired of the same messaging over and over again. This proves that you have to be a first mover if you want to break through!

QUESTION: What brands do you think are doing a good job with their advertising and marketing during the COVID-19 crisis?
JIM JOSEPH: It's hard for me to specifically call out brands with so many being clients. But I will say that the brands that have pivoted their normal activities from trying to sell their products/services to instead focusing on adding value to their communities, be it small businesses, teachers, healthcare workers, etc., are doing a good job.

QUESTION: You last appeared here on my Blog in a Q&A in August 2018, and one of your pearls of wisdom was, “It’s nearly impossible now to separate an organization’s leadership and values from a brand.” In today’s COVID-19 era, how can leaders translate their vision into actions when many businesses are closed?

JIM JOSEPH: Connectivity is key here, more so than ever. As businesses close and employees go remote, engagement and connectivity are the only ways to keep teams feeling like they are still a part of something solid and sustainable.

QUESTION: Which five marketing books should everyone read while staying safe inside?
JIM JOSEPH: I’m currently reading:
(1) Superforecasting, the Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
(2) Authentic Marketing by Larry Weber
(3) Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

And then, but of course, my two latest books titled “The Conscious Marketer” and “Out and About Dad.”

A final thought…while in the second question, Jim did not highlight specific brands, I’d like to share some excellent examples of brands who have stepped up their marketing and advertising during the current crisis – as featured on Jim’s blog: Cottonelle, DoubleTree Hotel, Jeep in Peru, McDonald’s, Nike, Honda, Fisher-Price (as well as Mattel). I urge you to check out the timely messaging presented by these brands. You’ll be impressed!

My gratitude to Jim Joseph for appearing on my blog and for sharing his amazing insights about our passion, branding. Hope you join us during the next Super Bowl on February 7, 2021, pending how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the 2020 NFL season, from the comfort of your living room and smartphone or tablet on Twitter for Jim's live TweetChat using hashtag #SuperBowlExp.

Image Credit: Tom Fishburne ( and @TomFishburne on Twitter.

August 2018 Post Featuring Jim Joseph Q&A:
Can You Build a Brand and Tell a Story with a #Hashtag?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Leading and Brand Building during #COVID19 Pandemic

To quote Matthew Kobach (@mkobach), "Twitter is a key that unlocks thousands of doors, some of which you never even knew existed." As a member of the Twitterverse for ten years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. I recently connected with John Cloonan and invited him to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A format. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

John Cloonan is a marketing and branding strategist who creates measurable growth for both companies and people. He's created brand and marketing strategies for companies ranging from startups to $2B plus, and has talked about those experiences as a speaker. John's held roles as a marketing consultant, an agency owner, a corporate marketing executive, and an adjunct professor. You can follow John on Twitter at @JohnCloonan and visit his website at

QUESTION: On your blog, you described the difference between a boss and a leader (link provided at end of this Q&A). Can you provide some examples from your work experience?
JOHN CLOONAN: In a recent role, I was brought in to manage a team of early career professionals and to reduce turnover. A typical marketing team member on this team would stay for a year or two and then bail out for greener pastures. When I got there, the reasons became pretty clear to me why they were leaving. They were being managed, mainly because of their relative youth. They had no decision autonomy on how work would get done. The person managing them was remote and treated them like children. In fact, one of the first things I had to end was other leaders calling them "the kids."

One of the first things we did as a team when we started was figure out what goals we had to accomplish to be successful in the organization. We then determined, as a team, how we were going to accomplish those goals. I provided guidance to the goals, acted as an advocate with the rest of the leadership team, and removed roadblocks. Mainly, though, I was there with them in the trenches. As an example, we found ourselves needing to edit hundreds of job descriptions on our employment site. I sat with the team for several nights, working right alongside them. We accomplished in a week what the rest of the company thought would take forever.

In a short period, the turnover stopped. The team overcame many challenges together, and both productivity and quality increased.

TWEET THIS: A boss directs and manages the activities of a group. A leader motivates a group to a common goal. ~@JohnCloonan #LeadershipTip

QUESTION: How can leaders be educated to understand that an amazing culture will yield a positive employee experience that will ultimately spill over into a positive customer experience?

JOHN CLOONAN: Begin by explaining to leaders that HR and marketing have the same job. The only difference is segmentation. Think about it. A brand represents the promise you make to your customers, and how you fulfill that promise. Your employees are a customer segment for whom you need to provide value in order to attract and retain them. You increase your customer lifetime value by providing a positive experience. That positive experience is your culture.

Beginning with that framework makes the rest simple. If you're happy, you're more likely to provide good service to your customers. If you're delighted, you're going to be an advocate for the organization and go above and beyond to improve the overall experience.

QUESTION: As a result of the current COVID19 situation, how would you recommend that leaders connect with their employees - when most businesses are closed?
JOHN CLOONAN: Be creative. Meet your team where they are. Give them the opportunity to reach out to you in the channel they want. Also, make an effort to be where they are. If you have a team member who is active on social media, engage with them there. Comment, like, and reshare their posts. If you have team members who prefer text messages, give them your mobile number and respond there. A personal favorite of mine that tends to surprise people is the occasional handwritten note in the mail. I've had former colleagues tell me they still have notes from me from years ago. Don't assume that everyone wants an online video call.

No matter what channel you choose, what you have to do is connect regularly, and continue to motivate and advocate.

QUESTION: As a result of the current COVID19 situation, how would you recommend that brands communicate with their customers and fans - when most businesses are closed?
JOHN CLOONAN: If you have customers and fans, you should already be communicating to them in a preferred set of channels beyond in-person interfaces. What changes is the message. My personal belief is that the only acceptable messages right now are "How can we help you through this?" and "Here are ways we are trying to help. Is this valuable to you?"

Notice that both of these are questions. Spend a lot of time listening. Find out what your customers and fans need or want from you right now and figure out how to deliver it.

TWEET THIS: During #COVID19, brands need to spend a lot of time listening. ~@JohnCloonan #BrandTip #BrandExperience

QUESTION: What is your favorite brand, and why?
JOHN CLOONAN: I always struggle with this question. I'm not terribly brand loyal, in fact, I'm more brand DISLOYAL - as in there are certain brands I know I'll never use. If I had to pick one, though, I'd have to say Southwest Airlines. I make a point of always flying with them, which is almost anathema here in Atlanta. I've never had a truly awful experience with them, as I have with a couple other of the major airlines.

My gratitude and appreciation to John for appearing on my Blog and for sharing his inspiring insights.

Link to John's blog post referenced in first question:
"Boss vs. Leader"

Image Credit: Medium.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

TweetChat Highlights: How to Improve Leadership Readiness during the #COVID19 Crisis

On April 22, 2020, I collaborated with fellow member of the Twitterverse and leadership development advocate, Katherine Spinney, to co-host a chat on Twitter. Katherine tweeted from Maryland, and I tweeted from California. Since we originally met on Twitter a few years ago, this social platform was a good fit. Our topic was "How to Improve Leadership Readiness during the COVID-19 Crisis."

Here were our five questions:

(1) What are some books to read during the COVID-19 crisis?

(2) Who are some leaders to follow on Twitter?

(3) What are some blogs to read?

(4) If you could interview any leader from history who dealt with a crisis, who would it be and why?

(5) What are some activities to pass the time that can improve one's leadership skills?

If you'd like to read the responses, visit Twitter and search for our hashtag, #LeadInspireChat. Click "latest" to read the entire chat.

My thanks to Katherine for co-hosting the chat, and to the many tweeps who participated or "liked" or "retweeted" one or more comments including @ErikaAndersen, @KevinEikenberry, @LeadToday, @LeadershipNow, @AdamMGrant, @Rebecca_elvy, @AskAManager, @DavidBurkus, @jasonmorena_, @Tips4Tech, @LindaHirshman1, @Kimballscott, @JohnBaldoni, @DougDickersonSC, @ebboyd, and @mgarcia9622. 

I always enjoy chats on Twitter. What are some of your faves?

Here's my interview of Katherine Spinney from 2018:
How Can Leaders Help Employees Exceed Expectations? It’s All About the Culture!


Image Credit: Katherine Spinney and Debbie Laskey.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

How Has Your Brand Reacted to the #COVID19Pandemic?

Life has changed dramatically over the last few weeks since the COVID-19 crisis hit the United States. Also referred to as the coronavirus pandemic, most Americans have been directed to stay-at-home to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the virus. As a result, non-essential businesses closed their doors - which has led to an eruption of email marketing campaigns so that brands can stay in touch with their customers and fans.

Has your email box been overflowing? Mine certainly has. I have received emails from brands I regularly support - retail brands as well as nonprofit brands, as well as brands that I may never have communicated with via email.

The following resembles the content of the emails that I've received:
BRIGHTON - jewelry brand: Brighton your day. Faith. Hope. Love.

TALBOTS - clothing brand: A love note from your Talbots family - while our retail stores are temporarily closed, we'd love for you to still visit us online.

LOVEPOP - greeting card brand: At Lovepop, our mission is to create one billion magical moments by helping people connect with those that they love. In today's situation of isolation and social distancing, this feels more important than ever.

SKIRBALL - museum brand: It's an unprecedented challenge to serve as a place of meeting when we cannot meet in person. We look forward to welcoming you back. Until that time...we're all in the same boat! By staying safer at home for the common good, let's navigate this storm together. We invite you to #SkirballAtHome. We've compiled new content and resources to help during this time.

LINCOLN - car brand: Doing what we can, where we can. That's the Lincoln way. Nothing is more important than your well-being. And now more than ever, your home is your sanctuary. So, as the COVID-19 virus presents new challenges every day, we're taking steps to minimize direct contact, while making your Lincoln ownership experience as easy and flexible as possible.

CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE - nonprofit brand: When the world needs love, our dogs are there. Staying paws-itive during ruff times. (This nonprofit even provided a link to its puppy cam!)

According to Jeff Beer of FastCompany:

"There seems to be three tiers of brand emails at this point. First, the service message. This is the most important and helpful, the ones that inform us about a change in service, an updated policy, or a relevant discount. It’s the Gap telling you about store closures. It’s airlines keeping you posted on travel restrictions and flight updates. Tier Two is the Brand Friend. This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation, even if it’s just to say hi with a “We’re all in this together.” The third tier is the seemingly completely random, we-just-happened-to-have-your-email-thanks-for-buying-our-cat-food-three-years-ago message."

In addition, marketing and advertising are changing almost daily. More from Jeff Beer of FastCompany:

"As the spread of COVID-19 began to rapidly increase, sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the NBA began suspending play, and the NCAA made the move to cancel the March Madness basketball tournaments. Ford had planned to boost ongoing campaigns around its Escape and Explorer models with ads during March Madness but now had to alter its approach, and quickly created two new ads that addressed the crisis, launching them just days later. In those spots, the company said that if customers were impacted by COVID-19 and were financing or leasing through Ford Credit, they should contact the company about payment relief. It’s a move that the company routinely does around regional emergencies, like hurricanes and wildfires — but typically doesn’t advertise."
So, what has your brand done or will do to make an impact during this crisis? What message has your brand communicated? If your brand does something truly memorable, it might just be regarded as a defining moment for your brand and will be remembered long after the pandemic ends.

Follow along by AdAge: A regularly-updated list tracking marketers' response to coronavirus

See an appropriate cartoon by Tom Fishburne (@TomFishburne on Twitter):

From FastCompany: Why every brand you’ve ever bought something from is sending you coronavirus emails

From FastCompany: ‘We’re all in this together’? Why brands have so little to say in the pandemic

Image Credits: Brighton, Twitter, Budweiser, and Walmart.