The Paine of Measurement, March 2020: Your guide to this month’s issue of The Measurement Advisor
For those of us who are news junkies, and I know most of you in communications are, these are particularly fraught times. The term “permanent crisis” is no longer cynical, or ironic, or an oxymoron. It’s our everyday life as we help our organizations try to figure what to do and what to say. Never mind the trials of you parents out there, trying to do your jobs when suddenly your co-workers are toddlers and teenagers.
It seems like an eon ago when we started putting together this newsletter. Way back then (a month ago?!) the COVID-19 pandemic was a distant problem. Now it’s become the filter through which we experience the world. Working from home while juggling life on the farm was something that set me apart from my most of my professional colleagues. Now it’s a condition I share with Rachel Maddow, Justin Trudeau, and probably most of you who are reading this.
In this new environment, I am having very weird reactions to email these days. Routine marketing emails, that don’t address the COVID-19 issue and just try to sell me something, seem jarring—out of place and somehow inappropriate.
But then there are all those virus-related marketing emails that offer yet another piece of advice on how to communicate, market, or survive in the COVID-19 era. They just overwhelm me; such an outpouring of bland platitudes in the face of a deadly threat.
Still, that doesn’t stop me from opening them in hopes of possibly finding something that makes me feel better. And, yes, there is the occasional nugget of important news, good advice, or vital reassurance that all will be well again someday.
Emails from friends and trusted sources of course get opened right away, as I bask in the connection and exchange virtual hugs.
I’m hoping, if you’re reading this, you’ll think of this month’s issue of The Measurement Advisor more like the latter scenarios than the first. We have plenty of great articles, beginning with coverage of an event we report on every year…
The International Public Relations Research Conference 2020
When I started writing copy, I’d just returned from what seems now like an impossibility: the IPPRC conference in Orlando. Nearly 200 people from all over the country, trying desperately to socially distance but emotionally incapable of not hugging friends we hadn’t seen in a year. And you’ll see pictorial evidence that social distancing isn’t compatible with sitting ten to a table, listening to another fascinating research paper. Thankfully we all came away healthy, and of course wiser.
Many of the papers presented there and that we cover in this issue are amazingly prescient and useful in their advice:
- Want to Up Your Engagement? Drop the Brand, Use More Visuals, and Be a Real Human
- There were excellent discussions of how to prepare for and respond to a crisis (see In a Crisis, Sincerity, Transparency, and Technology Are Your Best Options).
- The uptick in papers dealing with internal communications was particularly helpful since so many of you are trying to figure out how to talk to employees that are now working from home, or even furloughed (see For Employees, It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It).
- The conference also offered incredibly useful papers on how to identify and combat fake news (see Fake News Is in Your Future: Fight it With Truth and Preparation). It’s a problem that grows daily as conspiracy theorists, foreign political operatives, and just plain greedy people put out video after video full of false and frequently dangerous information.
- And for those of you trying to figure out what to do to help out in a crisis like this, the papers on CSR and social advocacy would be a good read (see If Corporate Social Advocacy Is One of Your Strategies, Skepticism and Hypocrisy Could Ensue, Research Shows).
Our March issue of The Measurement Advisor is filled with other interesting reads as well:
- My recent research partnership with Fullintel: Yes, You Can Use Artificial Intelligence to Predict a Crisis
- When Your Employees Work from Home, Video Chats Are Essential—and Other Tips from the Experts
- Our ongoing series on the US election 2020 (remember that?): What We’ve Learned about Measurement from the 2020 Election Cycle So Far
- And something more for you internal communicators: Looking to Benchmark Your Internal Communications’ Results? Polite Mail Has the Answer
- The New York Times Is the Measurement Maven of the Month
- President Donald Trump Is the Measurement Menace of the Month
- 14 Posts and Infographics: Your March 2020 COVID-19 and Communication Measurement Reading List
- How to Make Your Writing More Colourful—and as Concrete as Possible
And finally, let’s remember the good that has come from this time of crisis. NHPR, my local public radio station, has been asking listeners: “What brings you joy right now?” For me it’s the re-connection with so many friends and colleagues who are reaching out and checking in. For example, my extended family, whom I normally see only at funerals, are now joining me once a week online for “Cocktails with Cousins.” We toast each other and share advice and fears and problems and solutions and tell the same old stories we always tell when we’re together, along with a few new ones.
So think of this issue of The Measurement Advisor as “Cocktails with Communicators.” Pour your beverage of choice and enjoy the connections between all the researchers and authors that made this issue possible. Now that would bring me joy. And if you want to get in touch directly, maybe talk about measurement or just catch up, I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay healthy out there,