Thursday, April 23, 2020

TweetChat Highlights: How to Improve Leadership Readiness during the #COVID19 Crisis

On April 22, 2020, I collaborated with fellow member of the Twitterverse and leadership development advocate, Katherine Spinney, to co-host a chat on Twitter. Katherine tweeted from Maryland, and I tweeted from California. Since we originally met on Twitter a few years ago, this social platform was a good fit. Our topic was "How to Improve Leadership Readiness during the COVID-19 Crisis."

Here were our five questions:

(1) What are some books to read during the COVID-19 crisis?

(2) Who are some leaders to follow on Twitter?

(3) What are some blogs to read?

(4) If you could interview any leader from history who dealt with a crisis, who would it be and why?

(5) What are some activities to pass the time that can improve one's leadership skills?

If you'd like to read the responses, visit Twitter and search for our hashtag, #LeadInspireChat. Click "latest" to read the entire chat.

My thanks to Katherine for co-hosting the chat, and to the many tweeps who participated or "liked" or "retweeted" one or more comments including @ErikaAndersen, @KevinEikenberry, @LeadToday, @LeadershipNow, @AdamMGrant, @Rebecca_elvy, @AskAManager, @DavidBurkus, @jasonmorena_, @Tips4Tech, @LindaHirshman1, @Kimballscott, @JohnBaldoni, @DougDickersonSC, @ebboyd, and @mgarcia9622. 

I always enjoy chats on Twitter. What are some of your faves?

Here's my interview of Katherine Spinney from 2018:
How Can Leaders Help Employees Exceed Expectations? It’s All About the Culture!


Image Credit: Katherine Spinney and Debbie Laskey.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

How Has Your Brand Reacted to the #COVID19Pandemic?

Life has changed dramatically over the last few weeks since the COVID-19 crisis hit the United States. Also referred to as the coronavirus pandemic, most Americans have been directed to stay-at-home to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the virus. As a result, non-essential businesses closed their doors - which has led to an eruption of email marketing campaigns so that brands can stay in touch with their customers and fans.

Has your email box been overflowing? Mine certainly has. I have received emails from brands I regularly support - retail brands as well as nonprofit brands, as well as brands that I may never have communicated with via email.

The following resembles the content of the emails that I've received:
BRIGHTON - jewelry brand: Brighton your day. Faith. Hope. Love.

TALBOTS - clothing brand: A love note from your Talbots family - while our retail stores are temporarily closed, we'd love for you to still visit us online.

LOVEPOP - greeting card brand: At Lovepop, our mission is to create one billion magical moments by helping people connect with those that they love. In today's situation of isolation and social distancing, this feels more important than ever.

SKIRBALL - museum brand: It's an unprecedented challenge to serve as a place of meeting when we cannot meet in person. We look forward to welcoming you back. Until that time...we're all in the same boat! By staying safer at home for the common good, let's navigate this storm together. We invite you to #SkirballAtHome. We've compiled new content and resources to help during this time.

LINCOLN - car brand: Doing what we can, where we can. That's the Lincoln way. Nothing is more important than your well-being. And now more than ever, your home is your sanctuary. So, as the COVID-19 virus presents new challenges every day, we're taking steps to minimize direct contact, while making your Lincoln ownership experience as easy and flexible as possible.

CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE - nonprofit brand: When the world needs love, our dogs are there. Staying paws-itive during ruff times. (This nonprofit even provided a link to its puppy cam!)

According to Jeff Beer of FastCompany:

"There seems to be three tiers of brand emails at this point. First, the service message. This is the most important and helpful, the ones that inform us about a change in service, an updated policy, or a relevant discount. It’s the Gap telling you about store closures. It’s airlines keeping you posted on travel restrictions and flight updates. Tier Two is the Brand Friend. This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation, even if it’s just to say hi with a “We’re all in this together.” The third tier is the seemingly completely random, we-just-happened-to-have-your-email-thanks-for-buying-our-cat-food-three-years-ago message."

In addition, marketing and advertising are changing almost daily. More from Jeff Beer of FastCompany:

"As the spread of COVID-19 began to rapidly increase, sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the NBA began suspending play, and the NCAA made the move to cancel the March Madness basketball tournaments. Ford had planned to boost ongoing campaigns around its Escape and Explorer models with ads during March Madness but now had to alter its approach, and quickly created two new ads that addressed the crisis, launching them just days later. In those spots, the company said that if customers were impacted by COVID-19 and were financing or leasing through Ford Credit, they should contact the company about payment relief. It’s a move that the company routinely does around regional emergencies, like hurricanes and wildfires — but typically doesn’t advertise."
So, what has your brand done or will do to make an impact during this crisis? What message has your brand communicated? If your brand does something truly memorable, it might just be regarded as a defining moment for your brand and will be remembered long after the pandemic ends.

Follow along by AdAge: A regularly-updated list tracking marketers' response to coronavirus

See an appropriate cartoon by Tom Fishburne (@TomFishburne on Twitter):

From FastCompany: Why every brand you’ve ever bought something from is sending you coronavirus emails

From FastCompany: ‘We’re all in this together’? Why brands have so little to say in the pandemic

Image Credits: Brighton, Twitter, Budweiser, and Walmart.

Monday, April 6, 2020

What's Your Favorite Easter Brand?

Other than the religious services, what do you associate with Easter? There are egg hunts at the White House, egg decoration parties, chocolate, Easter baskets filled with all types of candy, plush bunnies, rabbit ears, and ham. But which brands stand out? Let's see if your top five match mine.

Founded in 1953, Peeps are marshmallows shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals and are used primarily to fill Easter baskets. Are you a fan?

Click to visit a website dedicated to all things Peeps:

Cadbury first aired what has become an iconic television commercial entitled, "Easter Bunny Tryouts" in 1994. A cat, lion, turtle, and other animals wear rabbit ears, but as the final scene reads, "Nobunny knows Easter better than Cadbury." Do you know how many animals appear in the ad?

Watch the ad here:

Manufactured in the United States since 1907, Tootsie Roll is a chocolate-flavored, taffy-like candy similar to both caramel and taffy. Company founder Leo Hirshfield named the candy after his daughter Clara, whose nickname was Tootsie. For Easter, the brand offers a large selection of themed chocolates including its classic named for the holiday, Chocolatey Easter Midgees.


The HoneyBaked Ham Company is a food retailer which sells hams, turkey breasts, and other pre-cooked side dishes and desserts. According to the brand’s website, “In 1936, Harry J. Hoenselaar built a prototype of what was to become the first spiral-slicing machine, and by 1944, he filed his first patent. In 1957, Harry opened the first HoneyBaked Store in Detroit, Michigan, officially bringing together his patented spiral slicer with The Honey Baked Ham Company.” Do you eat ham on Easter Sunday?

M&M’s are well-known for their Super Bowl advertising, but during Easter, this timeless chocolate brand evolves into eggs. The M&M eggs come with a crunchy shell and milk chocolate filling, in bags ideal for sharing, but they’re only available in the milk chocolate flavor – not peanut, not peanut butter, etc. The taste is the same, “the chocolate melts in your mouth and not in your hands,” but the egg shape is different from the original circle.

Visit this site to personalize your own M&M’s packet for Easter:

How'd we do? Did you match my list or have different brands? Happy Easter!

Image credit: Peeps, Cadbury, Tootsie Roll, Honeybaked Ham, and M&M