Empathy is undergoing a well-deserved resurgence right now. Famed chef José Andrés is a Michelin award winner and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit dedicated to feeding people in the wake of natural disasters, including the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview with 60 Minutes last week, he said, “We need to weaponize empathy. Out of empathy we need to make an amazing tool to take care of each other.”

That ability to feel what someone else is feeling is powerful. And it’s important not just in our daily living right now, but in business as well. Acknowledging the stress, hardship or unique situations our key audiences face at the moment plays an important role in meaningfully connecting. So don’t be afraid to show your empathy in your organization’s communication efforts. Stay well, and scroll down for Baby Yoda,  The Office  and more ways to get creative in your communications.
Kind regards,

Mimi Rasor, President

We’re asking our clients some thought-provoking questions to get their insights into how they’re navigating right now. This week, we talk to Brian Riblet , City Manager for the City of Montgomery.
What's keeping you sane right now?
The support of the Montgomery City Council and the City of Montgomery staff has been tremendous. Every day – and sometimes every hour – brings a new set of challenges that require tough decisions.

The City of Montgomery continues to be "Open for Business" to meet the essential and safety needs of our great community. Our Police and Fire Departments will remain available 24/7 throughout this pandemic and beyond. Public Works staff are working hard to keep our magnificent parks clean, mowing city properties and completing the annual spring brush pick-up program. Although our doors at City Hall are closed to the public, our staff is still there processing tax returns, paying bills, issuing permits and managing Hopewell Cemetery. Remotely, the staff is also updating our website and social media with beneficial information, organizing future recreational events and reaching out to our community, offering support and encouragement. We're so very thankful for all City staff and the efforts they continue to demonstrate to serve our community!

What do you wish you could tell yourself 3-4 weeks ago?
I would remind myself to be prepared for constant change and uncertainty.

What are you focusing on right now?
I am focused on balancing the health and safety of our employees while continuing to deliver essential services to our community. I am optimistic that our wonderful summer events will occur, and our community can once again come together to celebrate.

Looking for a pick-me-up? How about the Princeton City Schools bringing wifi and reading to its students with their mobile book center? Or the St. Xavier students making 3D-printed door hooks for workers at Cincinnati Children’s? There’s always this great example of an empathetic connection from Farmer’s Insurance .
Do you have a PR, marketing or communications-related question for our experts during this difficult time? We’ll answer them right here, anonymously. Dirk has been our steady office dog for ten years and is a great listener, but don’t worry, the advice is all human.
What marketing tactics are working for businesses right now?

Q: The pandemic is hurting so many businesses. We’ve got some B2C marketing efforts underway for our company, but I don’t know what works right now. Do you have any advice?

A: When the public health crisis began, companies sent out email communications about how they were handling and mitigating the impacts of the virus at their workplace. As they began to pile up, many of those emails fell on deaf ears – as are most marketing efforts during the crisis.

When many people are focused on meeting basic needs like healthcare, a job or even food, doing what you usually do isn’t going to resonate. So, what does?

The most impactful marketing today is not marketing at all – it’s actually public relations. It’s showing people who feel helpless how you are helping. Take Procter & Gamble: they operationalized idle equipment in just two weeks to get Charmin to store shelves faster. They’ve made in-kind contributions exceeding $15 million dollars, along with donated products to families in need across the globe. They’ve also manufactured COVID-19 face shields to donate to Cincinnati Children’s , among other hospitals.

You don’t have to be a Fortune 100 company to make an empathetic connection with your communities, either. Yale is offering its most popular course, The Science of Well-Being , for free online. Jungle Jim’s is using Facebook to teach viewers how to create a charcuterie board at home. Just start with language that recognizes the situation your audiences are in, take inventory of your assets and consider how you can help.

In times of uncertainty, people are looking for a little bit of hope. When we’re able to show others the human side of a company, we can give those tired, weary, anxious, uncertain people just that.
And that is worth far more than talking product benefits right now.

Email your questions to , and we’ll publish an answer.
My daughter texted me during my video meeting to ask for some chocolate, because she was in a sleeping bag with the dog.

Spend an hour on social media looking at how others in your industry are communicating right now, and who’s innovating in the space. From tiny businesses like Bold Face Dairy Bar and their ding-dong-ditch pint competition, to big companies like Delta Airlines and their new flexibility for travelers, you may find inspiration for your own company’s posts. 
Who’s the bag piper performing free concerts in a Cincinnati neighborhood? Hint: he grew up at the Netherland Plaza Hotel; he and Buddy LaRosa both owned the same Gilded Age mansion; and he volunteers with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Pipe and Drum Corps.

We are here if you need marketing communications advice or support. We’ve put together specially-priced packages with flexible payment terms on media relations, social media and creative strategy , all services we consider to be critical right now. We’re in this with you. Contact to talk about this and any other help you need.
Is your Zoom background feeling like a snooze? We’ve got you covered. Custom backgrounds, a gift from our team at Rasor. Spice up your next meeting with a toilet paper fort, a ride with Baby Yoda or the team at Dunder-Mifflin. Just save any of these images and upload as a background for your next Zoom.