COVID-19: A Time For Leadership, Compassion, and Communication

March 14, 2020

If you’ve spent any time online or otherwise consuming mass media, you’ve likely caught wind of reports that the novel coronavirus (now identified by the World Health Organization as COVID-19) has touched down in the United States in full force. Already, swathes of schools, meeting spaces, large events, and workplaces are shutting down to curb further spread of a virus whose elusive incubation period and serious symptoms have been cause for significant public alarm.

In the midst of this, communications professionals across every industry are being tasked with the complicated responsibility of serving the best interests of their clients while, at the same time, remaining sensitive to the challenging realities of a public health crisis that was—as of March 13, 2020—declared a national emergency by the federal government of the United States.

During these uncertain times, many are looking for guidance and reassurance. As communicators, we have an opportunity—and perhaps an ethical responsibility—to take leadership roles in advising our clients, educating the public, and using our gift for brokering information intelligently to minimize material harm and advance the public good.

Now, more than ever, as neophyte and veteran communicators alike find themselves navigating the uncharted waters of a public health crisis of the likes that have not been seen in the United States for decades, it is our duty to act as lighthouses in a sea of complicated information. At The Abbi Agency, our team is working diligently to do just that. Here’s what’s on our mind as we work through it all.

Providing Ethical, Credible Advice

Our client portfolio includes a number of destination marketing organizations and resorts which are likely to be impacted by the sharp decline in travel that’s being precipitated by consumer anxiety and advisement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to suspend all non-essential travel.

In serving these clients, we’re working to strike an important balance between continuing to tell the unique stories of the destinations while at the same time empowering consumers to make smart, safe choices about travel that will keep them well. As a part of representing our clients, we are closely monitoring the statements issued by local, regional, statewide and federal officials, and signal-boosting their guidance across our client’s outreach channels. We are also coordinating carefully with institutions like the United States Travel Organization, Visit California and Travel Nevada to stay up-to-date on best practices in marketing outreach as it pertains specifically to the industry and regions that we serve.

In representing travel clientele especially, it is of critical importance that we respect the privilege we enjoy as influencers of mass media communications to keep the public well informed about the procedures our clients are undertaking—and the measures that the public can take themselves—to help “flatten the curve” and minimize the strain on our healthcare system as much as possible.

Adapting Our Operations

Our operations span the nation, with offices in New York City, Las Vegas, and Reno—and clients throughout the state and country. This is a reality that often grants us the privilege of traveling to special places and working with a wide variety of people from all over. It’s one of the best perks of the job.

During a pandemic event, however, it can be a major liability to our team members, to our clients, and the communities we interface with every day.

Knowing this, we’ve adopted a flexible remote work strategy that allows our employees to do what they do best while practicing social distancing as advised by medical authorities. Thanks to technologies like Slack, MavenLink, and the Google Suite—plus a fierce dedication to teamwork that drives results—this is a much easier thing to do.

In addition to our present remote work policy, we’ve also instituted a remote meeting strategy facilitated on our end with the use of technologies like Zoom that allows our clients to conveniently teleconference with us should they choose to do so, thereby minimizing the need for in-person meetings. Above all else, the well-being of the people we work with is our top priority, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure it.

A Personal Note

Times are tense. Nobody is really sure what’s going to happen in the coming days. It’s understandable that many people are experiencing significant fear about their future and what this moment in time will mean for all of us going forward.

That’s OK.

As we navigate these unpredictable times, each of us at The Abbi Agency wants to remind you that now is a time for compassion (for self and others), for understanding, and for community solidarity. Take time for yourself (especially if you aren’t feeling well, but even if you’re simply feeling a little stressed). Be patient and gracious in your interactions with others. Understand that this a moment that we’re all living through as a global community and remember: it’s up to all of us to see to it that we get through it together.

All the best,

Your Friends at The Abbi Agency