Four-Time Cannes Lions Winner On Remote Work, State of PR Industry During Pandemic
On the second episode of The Rough Cut’s fifth season, Storyhunter Co-Founder Alex Ragir spoke with Jenna Young, executive creative director for Weber Shandwick New York and four-time Cannes Lions winner. Alex and Jenna talked about the state of the PR industry during the Coronavirus pandemic, how to safely manage video production teams, advice for young creatives who lost their jobs and how brands need to change their messaging to hit the right tone as the news cycle changes week by week during the Covid-19 outbreak.
On the go? Listen to the full interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you listen to your shows!
Below are edited highlights of the conversation:
Content Has To Provide Value — Now More Than Ever
“You want to find out if the content is really going to help. If it’s not then it’s probably not the time to tell the story. You have to do things that are quickly deployable. We’re not going to do a great big fancy production. You’ll see a big production come out and realize that’s not how a lot of things are being made right now. Things are really scrappy, a lot of zoom calls. You have to think about what’s the most authentic way to communicate.”
Timing Is Everything as Crisis Evolves
“You have to be conscious of the timing of your message. As cases are peaking there’s a different timing that’s needed. At the beginning we were talking about how you make it fun at work, and how you get a lot of content out. If you’re a parenting brand, a lot of parents are probably saying ‘Enough already. I can barely keep up with the things I’m supposed to be doing while I’m supposed to be working. I don’t need someone else to tell me there’s something else that I need to do.’”
Brands Have To Be Conscious But Move Quickly
“Brands are acting faster. They’re realizing that you can’t go through the same slow process as before because you will miss your moment. Sometimes a week passes and the time to create something is gone. There are some brands that are used to being nimble. Some brands are marketing companies at their core and they’ve really been able to continue to add value and to continue to be part of the story. But you have to be aware of where you are as a brand. You have to decide whether this is the time for you to be talking and engaging or the time that you step back.”
We Have To Be More Nimble, Authentic When Producing Video During The Pandemic
“We don’t want to be putting production teams on the ground and flying them everywhere. I think there is a shift to more immediate, more authentic storytelling, getting to the heart of personal stories. But how do you do it in a way that’s flexible, nimble and responsible? It’s going to be a while until we do productions in the way that we used to.”
Showing The Human Side of Brands, Celebrities During Covid-19
“I think we are all getting used to seeing another side of communications, and people appreciate that. People love to see a late show host with his kids climbing all over him, seeing more of this theme that we are all in this together and we are all real people. There’s been an advantage to that. I think everyone is very used to that aesthetic.”
Consumers Are Loyal To Brands That Care
“We’ve done a bunch of studies about how many people expect a company’s CEO to have a point of view on something or they want companies to stand up for causes. Showing our humanity, showing our value hopefully will become more about how we think about brands. We’re used to always having a tone of voice or a point of view, but to have that point of view be more human and the voice be more sincere is a good thing.”
Click here for all previous episodes of The Rough Cut.
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By Alex Ragir (Co-Founder) and Jake Watkins (Head of Stories)