Sharlene Wu, CEO of Grey China, has personally experienced Shanghai under the epidemic control. As both a marketer and a company manager, more people can easily feel the tension in life and work. In the case of inconvenience and anxiety, she gave some suggestions and experience from the perspective of leading the team through this article, so that enterprises can ensure smooth internal and external communication during special periods, so that the business can continue and achieve maximum growth.

Key Insights:

  • Although the epidemic this time is a recurring situation, for businesses that are preparing to make a big splash in the spring and summer, the impact is greater than before, and the duration of the epidemic has been prolonged, and this impact is far greater than The epidemic itself, this is more of a psychological war

  • Companies have distributed material packages to employees under lockdown, which is the most basic expression of their original intentions, but in order for more employees to respond to this and feel cared for, it is still necessary to start from core values and take real actions.

  • During the time of working from home, senior managers invested more in facilitating effective discussions and formulating plans, which not only provided demonstrations for the team, but also reassured customers; Accurate evaluation and strategic layout can avoid confusion

I remember the sudden outbreak of SARS in 2003. At that time, I was in charge of Unilever for the Ogilvy Advertising in Taipei. I wore a mask every day and was very busy. Although the TV news broadcasts the news of imminent death every day, because of my devotion to advertising and as a small screw in the organization, I listen to the company's decision to divert work, feel that I am fully protected, and spend it like this. The first epidemic in my life.

Because of this memory, when I heard some news about the new coronary pneumonia from the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, my "SARS" memory suddenly emerged. At that time, I was the management of the former company, and just two weeks before the Spring Festival, I traveled to Los Angeles to shoot a film in the United States. Due to my sensitivity to the epidemic, I had put on the only mask at home when I took the plane. I remember that I made a decision after I went back to Shanghai after the filming, to let all employees go back to their hometown three days earlier before the New Year’s Eve, ask everyone to wear masks, pay attention to disinfection, and report to HR where they will travel during the Spring Festival and after the New Year’s Eve. Continue to work from home until the outbreak is resolved. Everyone was disciplined at that time, and no one was infected. Thanks also to the inspiration of Alibaba, the customer at the time, so that the team can make full use of online meetings, put forward marketing plans in cloud discussions, and have not lost any customers, and even added a few more during the epidemic to soothe the soul in response to social needs. s work. This is my first time as a marketer and manager leading a team through a pandemic.

The epidemic in Shanghai in 2022 is an unexpectedly dramatic development. Originally, in the past two years, everyone felt that they had overcome the fear of this virus mentally, and became an "old river and lake", singing and dancing, business was booming, and Shiliyangchang was so happy. But in early March, the epidemic took a turn for the worse, and some colleagues began to become "close contacts". Although no one was infected, due to the strong infectiousness of this wave of epidemics, in order to avoid the spread and lack of preparation, I still decided to let the team work from home from the second week.

Frankly speaking, the management challenges I faced this time are actually different from the previous wave, mainly in the following points:

1. From the business point of view, Q1 to Q2 is when the marketing market is in full swing. Most of the brands have confirmed their annual budgets and plans for this year, and they are about to start with great fanfare, and the arrows have to be launched. In addition, there are more businesses who like to change agents in this spring season, so many invitations to pitch are dizzying. Usually, if you can work diligently during the spring equinox (competition), you can harvest in autumn and winter and keep your business up to standard.

2. The impact of the epidemic from 2020 to 2021 will be nationwide and even worldwide, so the impact on individuals or individual economies will be relatively weakened by the overall environment. However, in Shanghai in 2022, this national key economic city is also a city where most brands, agents and the production industry are concentrated. Under the epidemic control management, its impact on the entire marketing industry will be relatively comparable. big.

3. The so-called "from frugality to luxury is easy, from luxury to frugality is difficult". Since the duration of the epidemic has been extended unexpectedly, for everyone, the impact of isolation far exceeds the epidemic itself, and it has become a psychological war. We were persevering before, but we need to pay special attention and work hard to understand how to continue without breaking down.

In such a space and time, I am reminded of a sentence said by the French writer Albert Camus in his 1947 novel "The Plague": what can fight against the plague is integrity. Why Is Integrity a Good Way to Fight a Plague? Because the plague will eventually pass, and the core values of people-centredness and empathy will be the keys to the sustainability of civilization. Similarly, under the epidemic, how to maximize leadership and manage teams, customers, projects and businesses is the key to whether the company can continue or even turn around after the epidemic. Especially as mentioned in the previous paragraph, this is a continuous psychological battle. As the management of the marketing industry, how can we stick to our core values, lead the team to overcome difficulties and reach the other side of success? Here are a few ideas to share with you:

1. Lead by example

The biggest challenge of working from home is self-discipline. Whether it is an internal meeting or an external customer meeting, we all need to see how to effectively discuss, reach consensus, and develop plans and schedules. If senior managers invest more at this time, it will not only demonstrate the way of work, make the team feel valued and become more engaged, but also make customers feel relieved when they see someone leading the team.

2. Treat each other with courtesy

2020 to 2022 should be the largest "experiment" in working from home in human history. Driven by the epidemic, many large enterprises are no longer entangled in the work place of talents, but focus on the adaptability and communication ability of talents to work methods. But also because of this, in the absence of direct face-to-face communication to feel the emotions on the spot, people's speaking skills are even more important. Replacing scolding with encouragement, replacing complaints with reminders, and replacing supervision with care often makes communication more effective.

3. Outsmart

In the existing projects, how to draw up filings for customers so that the project can continue; in the arrangement of manpower, how to make up for the shortcomings and make full use of resources; in the development of new projects, how to control the quantity with quality, Bullets are used in the right place; how can we dig deep in customer relationships to maximize organic growth for our business? For all these key decisions, we should have accurate evaluation and strategic layout and thinking, so that we will not be in a hurry.

4. Take dreams as horses

I recently watched the TV series "WECRASHED" filmed by Apple TV. It tells the story of the founder of "WEWORK", how he turned the brand into a unicorn from 0 to 1, and was finally fired by the board of directors before going public. The story is wonderful and beautiful, and it is unstoppable. Among them, my biggest impression is how founders start from dreaming, attract followers, convince investors, and build a brand with a valuation of 47 billion US dollars step by step. What I want to talk about here is not just financing skills, but a dream created by every marketer for the brand. Management is the same. If there is no vision and no dream, what is the difference between salted fish? Especially under the epidemic, companies without ideas and visions cannot give the team the motivation or sense of mission to fight, and naturally lack cohesion. From the perspective of management, it is a big taboo. How long has it been since you talked to your team or even your clients about your dreams? Maybe it can't be delayed any longer.

In addition, during this epidemic, we have also seen various companies "feeding" their little partners, which has turned into a big supply of supplies. There are seafood groups, vegetable groups, egg groups, cash groups, etc., to name a few. From my observation, there are not a few people who use material packages as company culture propaganda, but the response of employees is relatively limited. I think the main reason is that as mentioned above, this is a psychological battle. If there is no action at all, the team will not feel the care of the company; and the material package is to express the most basic original intention, and I hope the team can really feel it.” We care about you" (we care about you) . If you expect employees to be grateful on social media like a goddess scattered flowers, you may think too much.

At this point, I still don't know when Shanghai will be lifted. But during this period, I found that there are many institutions that are still moving forward and learning constantly, such as WARC in Greater China, which actively invites me to share some rough ideas; there are also Xiao He, who is diligent and diligent in Jintou Rewards. Doing a fireside chat. These marketers are serious and hardworking, and they have not stopped moving forward because of the epidemic. They are all role models worthy of learning and respect. The epidemic may affect our way of life, but it cannot affect our love for life, yearning for knowledge, and pursuit of life. I hope that after this psychological battle, everyone can proudly say: I have not changed.