Over 65 marketing execs joined virtual summit on how to communicate during pandemic.

Even though our workspaces may look a little different, communication remains important as ever. Photo via Unsplash

The Birmingham Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF Birmingham) held its first-ever online panel on Wednesday, March 25. Topic? How businesses can best communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted via Zoom, the summit featured 4 local communication experts and welcomed over 65 local advertising and marketing executives. Read on to get the pro tips.

A New World of Work

Be honest: are you a “get dressed and sit at a desk” or a “robe in bed” home worker? Photo via Unsplash

In the wake of COVID-19 and self-isolation, companies of all fields and sizes are having to adapt quickly. You’ve all seen the work at home posts on social media with photos ranging from beautifully-organized home office #inspo to brutally honest “I’ve been wearing the same Christmas PJ pants for 3 days” captions.

“The novel coronavirus pandemic has been a source of confusion and fear for a lot of people, and as communicators, we have a chance to make it better. Or worse.

Join AAF Birmingham for an online-only panel discussion with four communications professionals, talking about how they get their messages across the right way in this time that it matters the most.”

Advice From the Experts

AAF Birmingham is comprised of some grade-A professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. Four local communications stars were tapped to share their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Cary Bynum

Photo via LinkedIn

President, blr/further

blr | further is a full-service marketing communications agency with offices in Nashville and Birmingham.

Cary’s Pro Tip: Cary spoke to the importance of not being “tone-deaf.” Reading the situation and acting accordingly with your messaging is so important. We don’t need to keep repeating information that can be accessed elsewhere, but we also don’t want to be irrelevant or insensitive in our messages.

Richard Fudge

Photo via LinkedIn

System Senior Artist, Baptist Memorial Health Care

Regarded as one of the premier health care systems in the nation, Baptist Memorial Health Care has a network of hospitals and clinics than spans the Southeast including the greater Birmingham area.

Richard’s Pro Tip: Richard deals with a lot of print materials, so he suggests working in small quantities and being prepared for things to change quickly. For fields like healthcare, government and media, in particular, speed is everything.

Dana McGough

Photo via LinkedIn

Director of PR & Social Engagement, Cayenne Creative

Cayenne Creative is a full-service branding firm located in Birmingham, Alabama, serving a broad spectrum of clients from healthcare to manufacturing.

Dana’s Pro Tip: Dana spoke about how having such a limited precedent for this crisis has affected all of the planners and communicators of the workforce. Learning to prioritize quickly and plan on the fly has allowed the right messaging to effectively get out into the world.

Cindy Martin

Photo via LinkedIn

Founder and President, Bham Now

Our fearless leader! Bham Now is Birmingham’s modern media. We provide news and information spanning new business, how to have fun and stay healthy and a whole lot more—all with the goal to foster a better Birmingham.

Cindy’s Pro Tip: Cindy gave advice on creating structure for a team suddenly scattered to the wind. We start our days off with team conference calls to touch base on what we’re up to and what we’re struggling with. For businesses like Bham Now that juggle a lot of different clients with different messages, Cindy was right in saying this whole process has been an “exercise in creativity” for our team. 😉

Messaging Matters

A lot of discussion took place about messaging during COVID-19 craziness. Of course, that varies from business to business. As a communications professional in a major healthcare organization, Richard Fudge talked about using a calm and empathetic voice with internal communications.

At Bham Now, we’re staying true to our roots by providing info and updates on all you need to know, while hopefully keeping a smile on your face.

A little compassion goes a long way, which all of these professionals agreed upon. Every profession across the board is having to adapt right now, but that’s one message that’s universal.

Do you have a pro-tip to share for the marketing or advertising community? We want to hear it. Send it our way on social or shoot me an email: beth@bhamnow.com.

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