Neha K Bisht is the quintessential powerhouse, self-made woman entrepreneur who is changing the landscape of PR and marketing communications with her agency, Blue Buzz. Committed to creating value for herself through the value she creates for others, she has been instrumental in Brand Building and Online Market Segmentation for the some of the biggest entertainment corporates and industry leaders alike. Front lining the growth story of lifestyle brands, Neha is a harbinger of nouveau mechanisms and brings a strategic, thoughtful approach to her campaigns.
“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats”- the quote by American author Sue Grafton speaks volumes about thought leaders and why they stand out. In the world of business communication, execution of ideas and talking about them are equally important because that is how valuable connections are forged and brands become inspirations. For ages, leaders have spoken about critical issues, often leading the dialogue to usher in collective change. In business, this has served stakeholders and customers well, establishing a positive relationship of trust that has helped to build reputation and brand value for years. Then the COVID 19 pandemic struck, and everything changed.
The pandemic was not just an unprecedented health crisis, it disrupted business and communication like never before. Organizations that adapted to digitization, shifting to online work platforms seamlessly, thrived during this phase. From meetings to projects everything was happening virtually – paving the way for a new beginning in communication and the way leaders had to envision their world. This is where thought leaders stepped up to encourage employees, stakeholders and customers about overcoming this phase by ‘being in this together’. They even spoke about the digital transformation and how it would completely change the way corporate strategy, vision and networking would have to be worked out. However, what they did not foresee was how remote working and the absence of human interaction would lead to isolation and a mental health crisis among channel partners, employees and customers.
Confined to their homes due to lockdown, people did not want to read about what brands could do anymore. They were not interested in hearing about differentiation in services and products. This is when thought leadership needed a tectonic shift.
Thoughtful Leadership and Innovative communication
Everyone had a challenging time adjusting to new methods of working from home. With colleagues not being able to see each other or exchange a few words during coffee breaks took a toll on many. Some had to strike a balance between household chores and coordinating organisational work virtually. This is when empathy and assurance became critical in all kinds of communication from the business leaders. Whatever happened, it was important to have a clear and transparent communication internally and externally.
Thoughtfulness and empathy can go a long way in forging long-term connections because people don’t forget the way they are treated. Being thoughtful in leadership communication is integral to the safety and future of our employees. Employees and channel partners did not just want to know that they are safe, but also that they would be supported during this turbulent phase. At Blue Buzz, we realised this and decided to prioritise mental health. We had each other’s back, come what may, because we understood that the only way out is through. And together we could survive, be stable and accomplish.
Connect, don’t sell
As leaders, we understand that storytelling is at the heart of every thought leadership but if it is only for the purpose of selling, it won’t build connect anymore. If there is one thing we have learnt during the remote working phase, it is that human connections have become more important than ever before. A healthy connection entails listening well before responding to the needs of our customers, supply partners and stakeholders. People will trust a brand to understand and cater to their needs when they feel seen and heard by its leaders. This is why going forward thoughtful sensitive communication, that people can relate to, will be very important.
Apart from leadership communication, other brand communications should focus on quality and relevance. Every communication must have empathy, integrity and innovation at its core. Since every corporate communication is being mailed or posted on social media, there is clearly an information overload. Digital mediums make it easier to connect with people, reducing the time it takes to spread information, but it also opens the floodgates. Innovative and thoughtful messaging is imperative to conveying valuable information and making sure you are heard amid the noise. The new normal calls for going on with our lives hoping that the pandemic will wane soon, but to ensure normalcy we need to be sensitive and instinctive in our communication approach. Only then can we hold our people close and tide over all kinds of crisis, making way for a better and more connected world.