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COVID-19 changed change and communications will never be the same

By Chris Bath

It’s feeling more like ‘normal’ (at work) than ever before and that’s fine because, honestly, pressure creates an environment of change and learning and that’s exactly what I want to talk about.

The pandemic had a truly devastating impact across society, communities and families, and challenged the way we all live our lives. However, something stands out for me in this moment: change changed. Before, affecting behaviour or transforming business could be tricky and slow. Now, we have experienced it happening overnight.

Why? A myriad of reasons, but these three are key:

1. Forever flexible: none of us wants to work from their kitchen table forever, but every now and again, it turns out, isn’t so bad. If the quality of work over the last year is anything to go by, teams can be creative and win pitches without being in the same room and we can build an exceptional team over Zoom – you just need to create the right environment for it.

2. Digital soars and scores: yes, you read that right and no, it isn’t 2005. The pandemic hasn’t kickstarted digital, but it made everyone value ‘new’ ways of reaching and engaging each other. These are the ideas we’ve been recommending for years; the pandemic, though, has been the eureka moment this transformation needed. It means measurement in communications is now even more possible, making proving impact pivotal.

3. Communications count: the government’s daily briefing ‘next slide please’ moments from the start of the pandemic thrust science into the spotlight, and a damaging misinformation movement emerged alongside it. The lesson? Access to information is vital and it’s our job as communicators to ensure it happens, and that the truth is more engaging than the lies.

My sense is that communications will end up a ‘hybrid’ of pre-pandemic nostalgia, with a blend of post-pandemic caution and optimism. We just need to make sure we retain what makes things better and do away with what has held us back in the past.

By Chris Bath is Managing Director at Aurora

in association with

28th September 2021

From: Research

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