Content provided by LMA Midwest Guest Author, Monica Kriegel, Senior Marketing Manager Lead at Armstrong Teasdale
Much like the famous couch-moving disaster of a Friends episode, a marketer’s success today depends heavily on their ability to change gears quickly without losing sight of strategic goals.
Having endured a global pandemic, economic crises, and even acts of terrorism over the past several decades, marketers have been challenged to invent and reinvent programs that not only recognize and honor the weight of a variety of impactful topics, but also develop compelling communications that transcend or even help clients overcome those challenges.
Challenging times can also open doors for new opportunities that might never have been possible before. Think about how many colleagues or clients who you’d never seen face-to-face pre-pandemic, or how many of us have mastered multitasking while working from home and getting our kids through remote schooling?
With return to office being pushed back yet again in many jurisdictions and the Delta variant raging on, how do we pivot yet again? And perhaps even plan to pivot in 2022? These reminders will help set you up for success.
Plan with purpose: If you’re not asking yourself, your leaders, your team – What is our purpose? What are we out to prove? – then you’re likely not getting to the core or central theme that you should build around. While you might be scratching the surface, planning with purpose requires some real inward analysis and contemplation, and candid discussions about the challenges facing your business.
Leverage strengths: Maybe someone on your team exercises caution as a strength. Or maybe it’s adaptability, or creativity. All of the respective strengths of your team contribute something to your ultimate success, and your ability to pivot.
I’m actually that cautious person – and until I took a strengths assessment from the University of Pennsylvania earlier this year, I never considered it a strength. My hesitancy in putting myself or my voice on the line may feel backward for a public relations professional, but what it really means is that I won’t put my name on something I’m not proud of, something I’ve vetted, something I’m confident is accurate and aligned with my personal values. It means I take a thoughtful, careful, and intentional approach to messaging, and I’m investing in setting the right tone across our communications. And I think that makes me an asset in a lot of ways. You and your team can take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths here or consider one of the many others such as CliftonStrengths or Myers-Briggs, and then discuss how to incorporate those strengths in your day-to-day.
Creativity counts: Coming from a marketing agency background, I “grew up” brainstorming extensively. Nearly everything was a whiteboard session or involved sticky notes on the wall – and it worked. I am a firm believer in hunkering down in a room – or Zoom room these days – and shouting out ideas to see what sticks. That act of outside-the-box thinking and bouncing off of one another is invaluable to the creative process. The process doesn’t have to be time consuming either. Sometimes the best ideas come out of a 15-minute email trail brainstorm. Sometimes they hit you a day later in the shower, during yoga class, or over morning coffee. Wherever, however, ideas come to you – engage there – and don’t undervalue the process of teamwork.
Control what you can: My husband always tells me to not worry about things outside of my control – easier said than done. This is also a lesson I preach in media training, that while the reporter controls the majority of how an article or segment turns out, we must control what we can – the words we speak during the interview process, and the tone in which we deliver them. When it comes to planning for 2022, it’s important to think about what those stable pieces or programs might be – those we will have more control over regardless of the environment – and which will be a bit more variable.
Make it scalable: Think about projects or programs or campaigns that can scale with you and your firm, and leverage technology to stay on track. Our team has implemented tools and programs that allow us to track actions and tasks in a visual and easily manageable dashboard. Thinking about these unique applications for tech could help your team be more efficient and effective.
We have also explored different ways to host events – haven’t we all? – and a hybrid model may provide for more opportunities and more engagement moving forward based on the volume of attendance we’re seeing remotely. Having both in-person and virtual components will help ensure the event carries on, in one form or another, regardless of the state of the pandemic, and can easily shift fully to only one platform as needed.
Look internally: As we think about return to office, and potentially new challenges relating to employee morale, recruiting or retaining in light of remote work and flexible arrangements, internal communications will prove to be more important than ever. The opportunity here is in empowering your people to build or reinforce the brand for you and affirming the support of leadership as we navigate this dynamic new world together.
Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” On September 29, LMA Midwest will be hosting a 75-minute fireside chat featuring six accomplished, veteran law firm CMOs who I expect will share similar views. Register now to hear their perspectives. This year, let’s focus on embracing that change and adapting to whatever surprises the world might throw our way.