WHY STRONG LEADERSHIP MATTERS IN A CRISIS

WHY STRONG LEADERSHIP MATTERS IN A CRISIS

May 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis, I have been heartened by the strong response that my employer 78Madison has had throughout. So much so that it made me think that the next time an organization goes through the process of searching for an advertising agency, or an individual interviews for a job, the first question should be “how did your leadership address the COVID-19 crisis?“

Their answer will give you some tremendous insight on the company you are potentially going to hire as your marketing communications partner, or who you will work for. 

At 78MADISON, the conversation regarding “how will COVID-19 impact our clients, as well as our employees” began the moment we heard the news about this unprecedented virus. As a team, we immediately focused on the questions of the day which were, what’s the game plan; what are immediate needs; what needs to change quickly; will 78Madison be able to stay open to help our clients navigate the crisis? We had to look at everything - initiatives ranging from media placements, public relations, social media, creative messaging, digital, PPP funding and more.

Not only did 78Madison understand that quick, proactive leadership was critical to the survival of employees and clients alike, but that an eye on the greater good, empathy to those in our neighborhoods and around the world was also necessary. It was never about turning inward and going dark. Rather it was about focusing on things that mattered to people. 

Below are just a few of the ways 78Madison responded to the coronavirus crisis:

We immediately informed clients that we would remain open and that we were ready to respond to every need the client had, 24/7.

We began cancelling scheduled media for most of our clients, particularly in the travel industry where everything came to a sudden and dramatic halt. 

As needed, and as possible, we moved media buys to later in the year.

We developed a variety of e-blasts to be sent out to our client’s members, visitors, employees, and customers, informing them of everything they needed to know - What was closed.  What was not.  What procedures were being put into place for safety, ongoing commerce and more. 

We made recommendations to keep clients in the game.  For instance, we recommended that The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club offer people a bit of sunshine during the crisis by turning their web cam toward the ocean and the amazing gulf coast sunsets – and invite people to check-in every evening for a bit of rest, relaxation and beauty. We sent out emails and press releases to inform everyone we could, and the response was phenomenal. Check out the results: https://www.78madison.com/Naples_Case_Study.pdf  
The press coverage was extensive including one of our bigger hits from Southern Living https://www.southernliving.com/news/naples-beach-hotel-golf-club-webcam-sunsets-during-coronavirus

78Madison wrote a blog called The Coronavirus Pandemic – What Should Marketers Do, which was then turned into a bylined article that was picked up by Hotel Management Magazine - 11 ways marketing can prepare hotels for life after COVID-19. In other words, we wanted hoteliers to know there were things they could be doing even during the shutdown that would help them in the coming months. The article was picked up by several publication including 

Hotel Management 
https://www.hotelmanagement.net/sales-marketing/11-ways-hotel-marketing-can-prepare-for-post-covid-19 
EHotelier
https://insights.ehotelier.com/insights/2020/04/08/the-coronavirus-pandemic-what-should-hoteliers-do-regarding-marketing/  

On 78Madison’s website, the blog was shared 57 times. 

A second blog called Keeping the Lights On, followed. The blog was a rallying cry for businesses to hang on, fight the good fight, keep the lights on and be prepared for when the crisis ends. 78Madison sent out an e-blast informing companies in many industries about ideas they might want to consider. The blog was shared 24 times.

Then came a second bylined article that challenged businesses to begin strategizing now for a POST COVID19 marketplace. What happens the day the green light goes on? Again, our goal was to help other business around the U.S. and globally to think outwardly and to be prepared. The pickup was extensive including:

Hotel Business
https://www.hotelbusiness.com/marketing-planning-tips-for-hoteliers-for-post-covid-19/
Technology Hotel News
https://www.tecnohotelnews.pt/2020/04/15/11-maneiras-pelas-quais-o-marketing-pode-preparar-os-hoteis-para-a-vida-apos-o-covid-19/ 
New Jersey Business
https://njbmagazine.com/njb-news-now/10-marketing-to-best-prepare-for-business-after-covid-19/
Bar Business
https://www.barbizmag.com/covid-19-resources/10-marketing-tips-to-prepare-for-business-post-covid-19/

And we could go on. 

The point is, during these extraordinarily difficult times, 78Madison has not only done everything it could to keep our clients whole, but to keep 78Madison whole as well.  We have been active and we have tried to provide information daily that would help a broad spectrum of people. 

Bottom line, our job is not only to meet client expectations in good times, but to be actively engaged in the midst of a crisis, whether hurricane, recession, or coronavirus. Leadership drives a wedge between fear, doubt and panic, and turns everyone’s eyes toward a “we can survive this” focus. A can-do attitude that allows clients and employees alike to believe that the light at the end of the tunnel is, well, a light at the end of the tunnel. Our communications with every single client at the agency have been positive, reassuring, and most of all - reliable. Rain or shine, they know we have their backs. It is this type of leadership that has led us to have decade-long relationships with so many partners and employees alike. 

We strive to be forward thinkers and continue to be at the front and center of following current events, in real time. Know that we are here for you every step of the way. Give us a call to further discuss your post COVID-19 marketing plan. 

Tarlan Eshghi
Account Executive, 78Madison

78Madison is a full-service marketing communication firm located in Orlando, Florida (Altamonte Springs). We believe we are the ideal choice for an organization that needs the assets of a larger agency but wants one that is flexible enough to provide personal service and a high level of collaboration. Let’s start a conversation.