I’m an optimistic person. You have to be an optimist to be a marketer because your job is about looking forward. For my entire 30 years in this business — starting as a graphic designer in 1989 to now, where I run this agency — I’ve spent every workday (and then some) helping clients develop strategies that work toward a future outcome. 

You’re no different. As a marketing leader, your job is to influence your organization to set a course that creates a better future. You use insight and your own experience to envision how customers will respond to the direction you set. You test it, you get the boss’s buy in, and then you make it happen. I’ve seen you do it time and time again. 

So here we are in a crisis. There is worry and angst everywhere. And the world has never needed marketers more. Marketers can see the path forward. That has been your job for your entire career. 

My team and I have been talking with clients and friends these last couple of weeks, and also with some of our competitors. Of course, no one knows when this will end. But most of us assume the economic situation will last longer than expected, and in some cases, some are saying the economy will not come back for some time. 

We’re urging all our clients to not put their brands into quarantine.

But our clients are planning. They’re talking to colleagues and associates across the province and country, trying to get their heads around what possible future decision points they’ll face when restarting their marketing or fundraising, or whatever their business is about. Regardless of industry or scale, they’re asking hard but necessary questions about the future. 

“What do we do first when people can once again leave their homes and work in shared spaces? What do we do when the border reopens? When will airlines kick it back up? When will students go back to class? How will our brand and business still be relevant and helpful when folks of all stripes are struggling to catch up on the mortgages and other expenses they’ve deferred for months?” 

I know you’re asking these kinds of questions.

And while all this essential planning is going on, we’re urging all our clients not to put their brand into quarantine. The objective now should be to pivot to messages that are targeted towards your existing customers — show that you support their sacrifice and that you’ll be there to help when the time comes. Take this opportunity to talk to your customers, industry and community in ways that celebrate the resilience, courage and spirit embedded in Manitobans.

You have great stories to tell — stories of character that can give meaning and power to your brand. There’s no region quite like Manitoba in the world — stakeholders for multiple clients across the province, country and world have told us that. There’s a ‘hidden gem’ — a storytelling opportunity — waiting to be uncovered in every brand with which we work.

We know that brands, businesses and organizations that survived to thrive after previous crises did not fail to plan for the future, or to stay relevant during the crisis. That’s the focus you need now. The time to buy and sell will come again. Today, your community needs to know that you’re there.

Let us help you do it.