PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID – Anna Lingeris



Agencies can work best by listening and being honest and empathetic, says Anna Lingeris, Earned Media & Brand Publicity Lead at the Hershey Company. It is more important than ever to read the news and spend time understanding how to work within the new norms in an empathetic way.

Organizations need to understand how their messages fit into what’s happening around them. These are times where the world needs heartwarming stories that would truly resonate with the audiences and provide relief, not carefully crafted, self-indulgent pieces.

PR’s Top Pros Talk… Social Justice – Donovan Thompson



The time to speak up is now. Executive producer of The Grapevine, Donovan Thompson, breaks down the current state of diversity and racial awareness in the workplace and shares thoughts on the effective ways to implement change.

 

PRWeek reported that only 13% of the leaders in PR agencies are non-white, even after five years of trying to increase diversity in the industry. This is a trend that goes beyond the PR field; black people are underrepresented in leadership roles across all industries. As a result, there is no one to speak to the diversity and colorism, says Donovan. He encourages that organizations allow diverse people to be experts in diversity, without alienating them. Donovan stresses the importance of empowering black employees with actual leadership roles, instead of just giving them diversity positions.

 

Diversifying your organizations could be tricky. Should the companies be explicit about their efforts? Donovan emphasizes that they need to be very overt about it, they need to make a real effort. Black employees find it complicated to speak out about systemic racism, fearing that it will follow them throughout their careers and create obstacles along the way. This is why it’s imperative for organizations to lead the way intentionally, allowing black people to take charge and encourage these conversations from the top down.

 

It’s ok to have awkward conversations, everyone needs to sweat a little bit, says Donovan. For employees, now is the time to speak up, advocate for changes that you’d like to see in the workplace and offer your services. Donovan is convinced that if organizations allow black people to be their full selves, it will revolutionize and promote the business in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

The Grapevine TV:

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPf5…

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thegrapevin…

PR’s Top Pros Talk – Matt Kucharski



Organizations need to get out of the “going back to normal” mentality. Matt shares findings of his team’s ethnography study that tries to understand how the mindset of executives is changing and evolving as a result of COVID-19 and racial unrest. The role of strategic communicators is increasingly becoming more important when it comes to giving advice on not only what to say during these challenging times, but what to do.

 
Matt also suggests that organizations be honest with their stakeholders and communicate with them, leveraging media, even if they don’t have all the answers. It is essential to acknowledge the issues that we are facing and actively cultivate change.

PR’s Top Pros Talk – Olga Fleming



Communities are stronger than ever. Olga encourages communicators to really take the time and understand what their communities are going through to convey  authentic messaging and show empathy.

 
She also stresses the importance of taking care of your employees first and then informing your customers on how you’re navigating the new environment on the channels that your audiences engage with. When it comes to social justice, staying silent Is no longer an option. Brands need to define what steps they are taking in the fight for social justice.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Marvin Stockwell



Marvin reminds us that this is the whole world’s crisis and we all have a role to play. This is a time for brands and non-profits to be flexible and give themselves permission to try new things. He encourages organizations to use television and media to convey how they are being helpful and useful during these challenging times.

Marvin also emphasizes the uptick in the interest and demand in science-related stories among the media. Audiences want to hear these stories now more than ever.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Gil Bashe



Transparency + Timeliness = Trust. This equation is crucial for businesses and communicators as they transform due to the accelerated change brought on by COVID. Will these changes be permanent? Gil shares his take for communicators and shares insight into the tidal wave of change within our healthcare system.

He also addresses the importance of getting your leadership communicating effectively through the media during these troubled times.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Tamara Norman



Employees are your number one stakeholder. Companies need to be empathetic and responsive to their employee needs now more than ever. During these times communicators really need to understand what their audiences care about and what’s important to them. This way communicators can adapt their strategy to reach the audiences effectively. Tamara’s suggestions include leveraging media and TV to go the stakeholders directly, be transparent and show what your response is to the new norm.

She also stresses the importance of maintaining diversity and educating the workforce on inclusion, even as we move into a virtual office environment.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Michael Kempner

The actions brands take today will have significant impact on how they perform during the next phase of the COVID economy. Those are among the key findings of a consumer study recently published by MWWPR. In his conversation with Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, Michael shares how brands can show leadership to stakeholders including customers and employees during this challenging time.

 

 

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Lisa Ross

Lisa emphasizes the importance of taking action in this moment – especially regarding the dramatic effects of COVID-19 on historically-marginalized communities. She notes the responsibility for brands to be serving and solving, rather than selling. And she notes that, despite low marks for all four institutions studied in Edelman’s Trust Barometer in January, the pandemic offers government, business, nonprofits and the media a chance to rebuild trust with their actions.

Check out Lisa’s most recent research piece.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Jim Joseph

It’s time to rethink your value as a brand. Brands need to seek new ways to offer value that goes beyond products and services. In his discussion with Doug Simon, CEO at D S Simon Media, Jim Joseph also encourages to listen closely to why customers are making the decisions they are–the subject of his new book The Conscious Marketer.

It’s also more important now to make appearances in the media and inform the public on the changes you’re making to ensure public safety and how they’re taking care of their employees during these times.