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Creativity in the time of Coronavirus

Written by Michelle Sokol

March 17, 2020

It’s been an unsettling and uncertain few days.

At Write Connections, we have the privilege of working with clients in many different industries, from food service to nonprofits and from political campaigns to theaters. Helping with communications and marketing for such a diverse portfolio of clients is what makes this business so fun.

But there’s one thing each of our clients has in common: They’re probably going to feel the burden of the challenging preventative measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We enjoy working with several area restaurants, including Antonio’s Italian Ristorante and Kelly Jae’s Cafe, who have been forced to close their doors to dine-in customers for the indefinite future. Both employ a staff of servers, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, and hosts who may not receive the hours or tips they count on to make rent or purchase groceries.

Local arts organizations have also been hard hit by the CDC recommendations of canceling gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. It was a heartbreaking decision for the South Bend Civic Theatre, which has been planning its production of “West Side Story” for more than a year, to lower the curtain on its stage for the indefinite future. While the theatre is working on a date to reschedule, many members of the cast won’t be able to make the commitment the second time around. Not only do canceled or postponed shows mean a loss of experiences for the artists and the audiences, but they also deliver a significant financial blow to arts organizations.

In a few weeks, we hope we can reflect on this and find it all to be an “overreaction.” It would be far worse to look back and realize we didn’t do enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whether it’s pushing out a “Keep Calm and Carry Out” special for Antonio’s or creating a special landing page for the Civic Theatre to collect videos of performers rehearsing the songs and scenes that COVID-19 robbed them of, we have been busy this week helping our clients chart new communications and marketing strategies.

We’ve also been watching how other businesses are navigating these murky waters. Creativity is always an asset when it comes to communications, but we expect creativity paired with strategy will help all businesses stay afloat when they’re asked to temporarily close their doors or postpone their events.

The creativity and generosity we’ve seen locally is inspiring. It has given us energy when we’re already feeling drained by the self-isolation and heavy news stories.

We’re sending kudos to the businesses trying to make a difference, like the one offering free box lunches to students who no longer have a school lunch to count on. We’re also giving gold stars to the ones who have thought outside the box, like the local cocktail bar that is selling handcrafted mixers to go (just add alcohol at home).

We’re also grateful for the many tools that are allowing us to navigate this isolating time (Zoom, we’re looking at you!). Technology is often blamed for making us all disconnected in a connected world. But it appears, for the time being, technology is going to help us remain close in this new world of social distancing.

When we emerge from this — however long that takes — we’re confident the businesses who put on their creativity and strategy hats will fare far better. Need some help getting into that mindset? Reach out and we’ll see what we can do to help you solve your urgent marketing needs. We’re here to help.

Pop something on our calendar here for a free consultation.

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