We all know that COVID-19 has had a transformative impact on content, marketing strategies, and how we work (in fact, NewsCred recently commissioned Sirkin Research to conduct a survey to determine the specific impact of the corona virus on marketing teams).

However, we wanted to speak directly to some of our best customers to learn how they lead their teams in these unprecedented times and to get a better feel for how we can help.

In this issue of “COVID-19 Q&A,” Matt Malanga, CMO of NewsCred, sits down with Susan Campbell, Marketing Group Manager at Panasonic, to discuss some of the difficulties their team is facing in remote work, Customer communication and budgeting in these difficult situations sometimes.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you and your team face due to the pandemic?

SC: Well, a couple of challenges, of course, remote working first, we had to tackle and figure out how to use remote platforms so we could have remote video conferencing and team meetings, so we all had to face this one Attitude. But I would say that the biggest challenge for us is the impact on business, the increased need for communication. Since our sales team cannot be sold out, we need to create more communication for them and their customers.

I would say our biggest challenge is to increase the amount of work that we have planned. The fact that the team I lead is very focused on the digital aspects of marketing, which really all fell straight into our lap. So work on the email channels, on the web channels and on social media and try to clean and disinfect communication messages through all these channels. That was really our biggest challenge when we started, and now there are only a lot of requests left. We support five different business areas, all of which have their own independent sales teams. That's why everyone wants to make sure they communicate with their customers. A large part of our customer base consists of important employees, so that things only become more urgent.

Q: Due to the personal closure of events, brands are shifting their focus to digital events. Is this why your team has a work flow?

SC: Yes. While we would normally support an event from the point of view of creating email invitations and registration pages on websites, we hadn't done many webinars in the past. Therefore, in cooperation with our trade fair team, we had to evaluate a virtual platform very quickly so that we could organize webinars with video content and availability of questions and answers, as well as all this information, for reliable and stable connections. Make this up to date and then set up an internal process, because now everyone wants a webinar. How do you go about requesting it to allocate resources and prioritize the various issues based on the company's priorities at that point in time? We have worked through this and will actually start or host it. I should say our first global webinar next week.

Q: Does NewsCred's Content Marketing Platform (CMP) help you manage your digital events? And how?

SC: Definitely. The fact that before everyone started working from home, we worked with a very geographically diverse team. We have partners in Salt Lake City, MRM McCann is our agency out there, Race Point Global is our PR agency, they are based in Boston, my team in Newark, New Jersey. So we already covered some areas and needed a place to work together. Thanks to the work in the CMP, we have all of our social and blog posts and all campaigns there, so we all know where to go to find out what needs to happen and where things are in the process. That helped us enormously.

Q: Do you continue to use the CMP to collaborate on changing priorities or do you find other ways to do all of this?

SC: No … We work and all of our social and blog posts are created through the CMP and rely on it so we can see cross-team and even cross-team because I have two separate teams using it. So if someone wants to find out what the status of a program is or where we are in terms of views or analysis of something we have done, we have this centralized information.

And that's just the communication factor. Whenever something is published that you need to review or approve, you will receive a notification. You don't have to search all emails back and forth. Do I have the latest version? Has seen this and that? It's all right, you get the email notification, you click on it, you're in the CMP, you see what to do, you see who last touched it, you touch it, you leave your comments and you see where to go next. This kind of guesswork relieves the process considerably.

Q: What did you learn from COVID-19 about your team and your work processes?

SC: Well, I'm very, very happy, I work for a great company. Panasonic is very supportive of trying new things and developing innovations. And so we have it to ourselves. But even within that, the team I lead is so connected, and we have not allowed the barrier that physically comes together to keep us from being a tight-knit group and a strong, unified team. We have our weekly team meetings on Fridays. We use Microsoft teams, so it's always on video and we're very creative. So we have one issue, we had a day of backward movement and a favorite day for the sports team and we just keep it easy to get a bit of that camaraderie to keep us all motivated and connected. And I really think that the feeling that you are still connected to the team is still part of the team is important.

And then we only have working group meetings, that too … I have my web team that is on Tuesdays. And I have a man in Colorado and then two who are in New Jersey. And we almost understand ourselves as a hangout, a virtual video hangout, in which we only discuss some of the various problems we have and which someone might have solved for another product line. And we work on things down the line and sometimes just talk for a minute. So I learned that they are a resilient, very creative group of people that I really look forward to seeing again, live, but we're still pretty close.

Would you like to learn more?

Contact us to find out how global brands like Panasonic maintain customer loyalty in difficult times.

Originally published June 8, 2020 at 3:57 p.m.

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