Firehouse Partner Matt Terrill Outlines 3 Truths In The New COVID-19 Normal

June 25, 2020

3 Truths In The New COVID-19 Normal

By Matt Terrill


At Firehouse, we are constantly thinking about the ever-changing environment for communications and public affairs, and the COVID-19 pandemic has kicked these changes into high-gear. However, the pandemic has also given us a unique opportunity to step back and reflect on how to navigate the “new normal” from a communications and advocacy standpoint while achieving the best results for our clients. And, frankly, we have found many of the truths we dealt with before the pandemic are even more relevant now. Below are three things we have been watching over the past few years, which are now even more exacerbated by the current pandemic.

#1 – Give The People What They Want: The Need For Authentic and Organic Communications

Industries across all sectors will need to embrace the public craving for authenticity. The sense of what is real vs. fake is growing stronger than ever. Nobody can expect to sell their message if their audience doesn’t believe the person who is advocating it or the medium it is being delivered on. The ability to build and mobilize a coalition of authentic and organic stakeholders who believe in the message they are delivering and successfully get it out to the public through the most effective mediums will be even more essential.

Companies and institutions must not only strive to ensure their messengers are authentic, but that their message is as well. As vital discussions continue to unfold surrounding safety, equality, and empathy, industry leaders must ensure their rhetoric matches their actions with regard to helping to solve the challenges of our time.

• U.S. product placement revenues topped $10 billion in 2019

• Social media influencers with 1 million followers and up can charge $100,000/post

• Influencer marketing spending is poised to reach up to $15 billion in 2022

Sources: StatistaVoxBusiness Insider

#2: From TikTok to TV: A Transformation of Mainstream Media

With Generation Z choosing the internet and streaming platforms like YouTube, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, and Netflix over cable TV, the mainstream media will have to further provide a microphone to internet and social media influencers to keep up. In order to effectively amplify and champion their message, firms and clients will also need to understand and harness these new influencers.

Dave Portnoy, the polarizing and oft-controversial founder of internet media company Barstool Sports, has been providing his analysis on mainstream news channels like CNBC and Fox News

#3: Winning Hearts & Minds: Restoring Trust & Confidence

COVID-19 has grown and exposed existing distrust in institutions, including the media, our nation’s political and financial institutions, and even professional sports. How corporations adapt to this new environment will have impacts for years to come. It will be paramount to project confidence internally and externally and redefine business operations to ensure trust in your organization and its mission. As a result, human resources will play a larger role than ever before, and companies will need to view HR beyond spreadsheets and rather within the context of employees’ hearts and minds.

• 61% of Americans say the news media intentionally ignores stories that are important to the public

• 2/3 of Americans say the federal government intentionally withholds important information from the public that it could safely release

• 75% of adults believe Americans’ trust in each other has been shrinking

Source: Pew Research Center