Opportunities in Marketing and Design Amidst a Pandemic
Do you ever wonder where the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining” originated? It was likely derived from a poem from the early 1700’s by John Milton titled Comus with the lines,
“Was I deceiv’d, or did a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”
My search for the silver lining has been a constant these days as I carefully tread my way through the persistent shuffle of my work during this pandemic. I’m trying to remind and to reconfirm to myself that there will eventually be an end to this… and we will all survive, physically, mentally and professionally.
I’ve been reading/viewing everywhere about how a vast majority of advertisers right now are addressing this pandemic in the same way; “We are here for you” in one way or another, or “We are taking an opportunity to thank our health care workers and those on the front lines.” This methodology is well-deserved but has become over-saturated. While the message is 100% valid, it has unfortunately become a bit disingenuous and even opportunistic. I’m not here to judge and say that companies are preying on our every fear, but there are certainly days when I feel their desperation. In an effort to seek out the less obvious, as a marketing professional, I am trying to see the silver lining.
It is true that, in our lifetime, we have never been so deeply affected by something like this global pandemic. Businesses have been shuttered. Millions upon millions are filing for unemployment. Our educational system has been thrown for a gigantic loop. Families are losing their loved ones. It is devastation for so many in countless ways.
I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones (knock on wood). My spouse and myself are still employed, our children are attempting to continue their schooling through these unique circumstances, and we are healthy. I have chosen to take advantage of this time and utilize it to step back and reevaluate myself in this world of marketing and design. Where am I lagging? What can I do to improve? And how can I grasp this opportunity to focus on building for the future.
The answer is clear – education. There are so many amazing institutions, both locally and nationally, that are offering their classes and webinars for free or at a substantial discount. I have been reinvigorated by the variety of these offerings and inspired by everything from a “Branding 101” review course, to Creative Cloud Master Classes, and even a webinar instructing ‘How to Promote Oneself’ as a speaker or consultant. I’ve signed up to be a mentor. I’ve volunteered to be on several professional boards and I’ve joined several Facebook marketing groups. I am so thankful for each and every one of these opportunities to better myself and to be more prepared for when the world does return to normal (it will, I promise).
Back in the “olden days”, i.e. before COVID-19, I never found time for myself and my business. Embarrassingly, as a marketing professional, my worst client has been myself. I’ve always needed to prioritize my clients because they are the ones putting food on my table. “I’ll have time later to work on my website” or to “update MY brand” I would tell myself more often than I care to admit. Fast forward 13 years – yes 13 – and I’m finally making time for my own website update and for my personal business growth. The technology and design surrounding a website build has changed quite a bit as one would imagine. So it’s been a challenging but enjoyable learning curve and I now have the time to dedicate to it. I’ve learned so much in this process and, ironically, I’m grateful for the new opportunities that this situation has created for me.
I’ve always asked myself why the saying refers to a “silver” lining? When I look up at a cloud that has the sunlight trying to peak through and shine, I see so much more than silver. I’m struck by the golden yellows, the bright whites, and the oranges, lots of brilliant oranges (my favorite color).
During this moment, as I look out the window in my home office, I can see the sun pushing through the clouds. I can clearly see the freedoms that this pandemic has afforded me; our orange linings, and I see so many more hues … and opportunities.
Kirsti Rochon is a senior level brand designer and marketing professional in the Greater Seattle area. For more information, visit KirstiRochon.com
American Marketing Association, Puget Sound Chapter
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