Uncommon times require uncommon courtesy

To respond to the situation, read the room.


We’re all starting every email, every phone call, every Zoom meeting the same way these days. It goes without saying that these are unprecedented times.

But we don’t want to say anything that goes without saying. There’s enough plaguing society right now. The common courtesy of hoping your audience doesn’t succumb to a global pandemic is a poor amuse-bouche to all the thirsty emails offering solution-based teleconferencing solutions and special savings on clothes you can wear to work from home that have flooded everyone’s inboxes lately. Marketers expend so much effort trying to get inside their audience’s head, but many are failing to use their own.

Yet it does go without saying that businesses of all sizes need to keep the lights on, and they’re trying whatever they think will work right now. While we now have thirty-plus more sets of lights to keep on (and we’re not laying anybody off), we’re fortunate to have a diverse portfolio of clients and work, and we think what’s worked for us will continue to work:

Ask wisely. Listen carefully. Reply thoughtfully.

While we all share a set of common anxieties and frustrations right now, no two businesses or brands or CMOs or marketing managers or agencies have the same problems or the same reactions. And consumers are paying attention to those reactions; the vast majority want brands to communicate their commitments to things like employee welfare and maintaining their supply of goods and services.

Lineage has always taken a consultative approach to our clients’ needs. We respond with curiosity and flexibility, rooted in an honest, respectful assessment of all the factors that go into creating content and campaigns, and the way our clients’ customers perceive what we put out into the world. That’ll never change, whether we’re working from our homes or our office.

But no matter where meetings are taking place, you have to read the room. That’s one reason we waited to offer our perspective. We’re scrutinizing every social post, motion graphic, and influencer campaign we create on behalf of our clients. We’re paring back our sales and marketing in favor of personalized outreach. We do have some suggestions on ways we can help—upcycling your existing content, alternatives to in-person video productions, and low-lift social campaigns among them—but don’t expect any promo codes for 20% off to hit your mailbox.

And, taking a cue from many of our clients, we’re also using this time to turn our focus inward and make improvements to our own business. Now’s the time to fortify the branding and marketing infrastructure that can help us thrive when things get back to normal. We’ll be publishing more blog posts, for one thing.

Of course, no one really knows how this will all shake out; we’re just focusing on what we can control. But we’re confident Lineage, and our clients, will emerge stronger and sharper. We have to be. All marketing is persuasion. Sometimes you gotta persuade yourself.