Things in Richmond calmed down a little bit this week and we were able to take the boards off the front windows at the Worldwide HQ of M+M (and by back to normal, I mean the riots subsided and only two statues were toppled this week). People were out walking the streets. Many shops and restaurants returned to normal, or as normal as they could be, considering we are still dealing with a global pandemic. Today marks the 74th day of Governor Northam’s Isolation Proclamation and now we have started to emerge from our bunkers. But how long will it take for us to shake off the bunker mentality?
If you have not yet heard this term used before, “bunker mentality” is a phrase we use in crisis communications to illustrate a suspicious or defensive state of mind when a client is besieged by criticism or unwanted media attention. When someone is isolated and cut off from the outside world, it is easy for them to get cabin fever — but a bunker mentality develops when you add on the element of fear. In the first few days of the pandemic, you may have felt alone. But as the virus spread, and so did the crisis, people became fearful and untrusting. And just as we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, we were fed stories of toilet paper shortages, murder hornets, and finally, coast-to-coast riots.
Faced with the totality of the situation, it is also easy to understand why anyone would develop that state of mind…even our leaders. The Governor, The President, and even your local HOA President can fall victim when besieged. Think of the ostrich that buries its head in the sand. It may make the ostrich feel better for a second, but he is still exposed.
At the end of the day, the best way of dealing with isolation, criticism, and second-guessing of your motives is to pull your head out of the sand, stand up straight, and get back to work. The world is still on edge and many people fear the unknown. Whether it is civil unrest or COVID-19, the best advice I can give is two-fold: prepare for the worst, but expect the best. Yes, it is important to be prepared, but we can not get back to “business as usual” if we are consumed by fear. Are we fearful of civil unrest? Are we fearful of coronavirus? Are we fearful that the economy is tanking? Yes, but we can not live forever in fear.
Monday, June 8 – MMMMM
The MMMMM (Madison+Main Monday Morning Meeting) was a little different this week. First, our fearless friend and Creative Director Art Webb was on vacation, so Senior Art Director Carissa Ghaffari stepped in to tell us what day it was. Yes, we still had the meeting on Zoom, but we had four Madison+Main-iacs in the building and the rest working remotely. For the first time in months, I had to put pants on before the meeting, because Communications Director Kent Brockwell, Copywriter Derek Fair, and PR Intern Bailey Broughton were literally “in da house.” As part of Phase Two Reopening, we have made working from home optional and reopened the office. Speaking of reopening, I am excited to announce that our clients at A. Smith Bowman Distillery will be reopening for tours beginning Wednesday, July 1. #woohoo #backtonormal
Tuesday, June 9 – Clean It Like You Mean It
On Tuesday morning we had a Maid Brigade cleaning crew come in at the behest of our very own Office Manager Mollie “Brigade Commander” Banks, who insisted on cleaning, scouring, and disinfecting the entire office. Word on the street is they took Kent back into the alleyway and power washed him. We were impressed by their professionalism and thoroughness.
In Tuesday mornings Production Meeting, Client Services Manager Katie Rossberg came up with a great team communication exercise and asked everyone to name a food that instantly reminded them of their childhood (kind of like the moment where the food critic in Ratatouille is transported through time to his younger years). For me, the answer was easy…a Cheesy and a Bowl from the Texas Inn.
Wednesday, June 10 – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
On Wednesday, it was Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. I felt like I was in a Mazda ad. My first Zoom meeting of the day was a Lucy Corr Foundation Board Meeting at 8 a.m. and my last was a 5 p.m. Zoom Cocktail Hour. And there were countless other Zoom meetings in between. At the Lucy Corr Foundation Board Meeting, I learned that the Foundation received a $10,000 grant from the Cameron Foundation to get funds to buy additional PPE for health care workers at Lucy Corr. I am amazed at how so many organizations locally have stepped up to help support seniors in the community.
Wednesday evening, my son Jack Saunders got a special UPS delivery. The big brown box contained his diploma from Fork Union Military Academy, a certificate announcing he had earned Dean’s List honors, and a wood and brass plaque naming him the recipient of the COL Duane Fender Leadership Award. He had exactly five minutes to celebrate before we put him to work at the office. Yes, Jack will be working part-time this summer. He will take on such exciting tasks as washing windows, emptying the recycling bin, running errands, and organizing lunch runs. Although we are excited to announce his employment, he is not. Who says you can’t find good help for $7.25 an hour?
Thursday, June 11 – We’re Live In 3, 2, 1…
On Thursday, the creative team virtually met with our clients at All American Mobility in Fredericksburg and pitched three new concepts for a multi-media campaign — print, radio, digital, and broadcast. The good news is that they loved the concepts and the bad news is they can’t decide which concept they want to choose — which is a good thing. We are excited about getting this campaign “moving.”
Thursday lunchtime, we kicked off our Facebook Live Series, entitled Convos with Clients. This new 30-minute online format features one of our clients each week so they can share who they are, what they do, and how they are “spreading the word.” Special thanks to Casey Gilchrist and Steven Wright from Chesapeake Economic Development for being our first guests and knocking it out of the park. Be sure to tune in next Thursday at 12 noon when I will be interviewing you Executive Director of Housing Families First Beth Vann-Turnbull. She will be talking to us about how they have helped families in crisis during COVID-19.
Friday, June 12 – Holiday Weekend
I don’t know about you, but I am very excited about the holiday weekend. In case you forgot, Flag Day is Sunday, June 14. Please celebrate responsibly.
Ok, it’s really not a holiday weekend, but restaurants and other businesses are reopening and the forecast looks amazing. Time to pull your head out of the sand and GET OUT THERE!
A Few of Our Favorite Events
Madison+Main’s “Convos with Clients”
Virtual Event | Richmond, VA
June 18, 2020 | 12 p.m.
We are back with a new weekly series for you! We’re thrilled to announce “Convos with Clients” every Thursday at 12 p.m. Join us on Facebook Live as we talk to our clients and friends about their various industries, businesses, expertise, and lives! On June 18 we will be talking with Executive Director of Housing Families First Beth Vann-Turnbull.
Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt