Blog / Jul 14, 2020 12:15:00 PM

Communications during COVID-19: A Conversation with our Marketing Team

Written by Siobhan Doherty

Innovation Corporate Culture Teleworking

Due to social distancing rules, the Ellumen team brought our training and communications capabilities off-site and into our homes. Where we once did in-person multimedia recording or training sessions, we're now utilizing our online digital platforms to bring the stories of federal healthcare IT to life. In the recorded conversation below, fellow marketing coordinator Jack Vogel and I discuss how our workflows as multimedia content creators have changed and how this sudden, widespread move to teleworking may impact corporate culture in the years to come. This informal chat was filmed in April, just after our communications capabilities were shifted from our office to our living rooms.

 

It's apparent that working from home and taking all aspects of professional life off-site has a significant impact on workflow. In other words, we've all had to get creative with the digital tools available to us. This disruption applies to multimedia production and branding, as made apparent by an influx of endearing filmed-at-home TV shows and concerts. This abrupt and necessary use of creativity and digital tools has presented endless opportunities and challenges and required multimedia teams across industries to re-frame the production process. When you have a tangible audio-visual setup or in-person content creation workflow, how do you re-create it digitally? And most importantly, how do you re-create it effectively?



Use Available Video Conferencing Software

Video conferencing apps like Skype, Teams and Zoom have become the primary means for interviewing and multi-person production. Most apps allow for video/audio recording and produce relatively clear results. (Read our recent blog on video conferencing etiquette for tips on how to pull off a flawless video call.) Our team was unwilling to put our monthly podcast production schedule on hold; instead, we opted for Teams recording and a studio USB mic to simulate the quality of an in-person interview. Additionally, this method allows your team to maintain "face-to-face" contact with your subject or interviewee, bolstering your relationship and, subsequently, the richness of your interview. Using online mediums could potentially lower the burden on your interviewee, especially if they're uneasy in front of your setup. Doing remote interviews reduces setup time or error and takes away the pressure of speaking in front of bright lights or an expensive mic. If internet bandwidth is an issue, it's possible to use your team's existing mics and tools to record the video/podcast host, or each participant can record themselves separately, as Jack and I did in the clip above. Find a list of setup options here. In any case, moving away from a high-fidelity, in-person production workflow isn't ideal, but using the plethora of online platforms available can still bring your story to life.

 
Adapt with Empathy

The cancellation of HIMSS 2020 in March led many companies and contractors to virtual platforms. It was essential to adapt, and quickly. Companies and contractors posted their materials to social media through #VirtualHIMSS and created webinars or virtual sessions to share innovations. (You can find Ellumen's presentation on medical imaging interoperability here.) As with production, it's essential to adapt in all areas of content creation with empathy and creativity. Position your brand in the way most authentic to its core messaging; at Ellumen, we care deeply about frontline healthcare employees due to our work on medical logistics systems and digital health, and as a company, already participate heavily in remote working. Acknowledging the magnitude of the crisis, using our brand and cultural attributes to serve our clients and streamlining our existing messaging has been necessary - whether that's through posting simple work-from-home tips on our social platforms or distributing a community-led teleworking newsletter to our client's facility. 

 
Take Opportunities to Build Engagement

The pandemic's disruption of the status quo will impact our patterns of professional culture in the months and years to come. We're in a period where keeping employees and clients actively engaged is a battle, and it's important to utilize any communications tools, no matter how small or simple. Now is the time to build guides for company software, standardize digital workflows for clients or bulk up existing corporate newsletters or intranets. Bring the natural office socialization and "water cooler chat" online through digital happy hours or social software like Yammer. Read our blog on avoiding distance within your client relationships, and be sure to keep digital lines of communication as open as possible.

 

The implications of moving production, content creation and branding online will likely continue in the months to come. Ensure your workflows are sustainable and utilize the tools provided. The pandemic has proved that it's possible to make engaging communications products remotely by getting creative with your available tools, practicing authentic brand messaging, finding new ways to consistently streamline workflow and practicing empathy to bolster employee/client engagement. We're experiencing a fast-track on adopting the intricacies of a remote workplace, and everyone is learning together.

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Ellumen, Inc. is a certified small business that specializes in a variety of federal healthcare IT and communications areas, from systems training to medical imaging technology. Contact us or view our training & communications page to learn more about our services.

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Siobhan Doherty

Written by Siobhan Doherty

Siobhan Doherty is a Marketing Coordinator for Ellumen, where she infuses creativity and originality into the health IT sphere through visual communications and social media. When she's not in the office, you can find her hitting every brunch spot in D.C.

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