Resilience and Empathy – Lessons from our Community Uninterrupted

This week’s Community Uninterrupted has already packed a punch of insights around communications and crisis management. Kevin Keane, CEO of Brainsights presented compelling data on the current condition of Canadian consumers’ thoughts. Brainsights research shows how very important it is to meet the consumer where they are emotionally in order to get any communication right. Driving the point home, Keane shared some powerful stark imagery that we have all been exposed to over the past weeks and showed how advertisers might lift themselves out of the blindness and appropriately reach consumers who are inundated with the visual reality of the news.

We were particularly interested in his Keane’s take on advertising within current affairs. The key to success here is to strike the right tone, one that is appropriate for the backdrop.

Another great presentation was delivered by Sam Sebastien, CEO of Pelmorex. Sebastien shared insights on the past seven weeks and how the Canadian organization has responded to the crisis. A great lesson learned was around the fine tuning of expressing empathy in a time of need. Striking the right buoyancy between over-communicating with clients vs. simply being “present” was cited as a major pivot for the organization.

Sebastien went on to compare today’s situation with the financial crisis in 2008 where he served as MD of Google Canada. Noting IAB Canada’s Barometer Report on expenditure, he concurred about the paused media activity levels and pointed out that COVID-19 had caused a lot of brands to recalibrate messaging around the current circumstances. Brands and indeed all organizations must shift towards shorter and mid-term planning and apply agility to match the rapidly changing circumstances.

Notably, Sebastien shared that he has seen a great level of collaboration and sharing across the industry. Competitors are acting like community and are authentically expressing that we are affected and that we are in fact, all in this together.

We are so grateful to our community for sharing their experiences and insights over the past weeks and overwhelmed by the industry involvement. It has been such a privilege to host such pertinent discussions and to have seen participation by so many talented Canadians in this amazing industry. Please continue to stay connected by joining us next week for another series of incredible conversations. This storm will pass, and we will be stronger than ever.