a message from Betsy Peperak, Director of Strategic Communications
Earlier this year – before COVID-19 became a threat to our health, our way of life and our economy – I had written a personal blog about losing my muchness. I had been in a funk for quite some time and was ready to make an intentional decision accompanied by concrete action items to find my muchness.
If you’ve seen Tim Burton’s live action Alice in Wonderland, then you know this word: muchness. It comes at a time when Alice has lost faith in herself and her abilities. She doesn’t believe the path before her is her path to take. In fact, she’s flat out refusing to help her friends because she doesn’t believe she’s the right person for the job. She doesn’t believe she is meant to be the hero in this story:
“You’re not the same as you were before,” the Mad Hatter says to Alice. “You were much more muchier. You’ve lost your muchness.”
“My muchness?” replies Alice.
“In there,” the Hatter points toward Alice’s heart. “Something’s missing.”
My 2020 goal was to find my muchness again, and I had surmised that the way to do that was to focus outward instead of inward – to focus on the relationships in my life. All relationships – personal, professional and spiritual. Looking back, part of me laughs at the fact that I decided to focus on relationships – something that often requires personal contact – when a global pandemic was days away from keeping me stuck in my home for several weeks. The other part of me thinks, “This is actually the perfect time to do that. It is a chance to reflect and truly be intentional about how I am interacting with and affecting those around me.”
I think my realization mirrors the choice now in front of any organization or business; they can either view this time as a challenge or an opportunity. They can sigh and say, “Boy, this messes up everything I had planned,” or they can say, “How can I use this situation to reach my goals?” Or both, as long the first comes before the second.
I think that many organizations and businesses are probably feeling like they’ve lost their muchness right now. “Normal” changed overnight, and we are all struggling to see where we fit in. I’m sticking to my story that the key to gaining your muchness back is relationships. Relationships with your customers, your clients, your partners, your vendors, your stakeholders, etc.
And what do all experts say is the key to any good relationship? You know it. Communication.
That’s why our CEO, Rachel J. Leslie, shortly after opening RJL Solutions, an advocacy firm, an industry that strives on relationships, added a communications department. As the Director of Strategic Communications at RJL Solutions, I’m here to tell you that now is not the time to become a marketing and communications hermit. It is more important to tell your story during a storm than it is when it’s smooth sailing. If you don’t tell your story, then rest assured someone else will, especially in today’s world. When self-publishing is at everyone’s fingertips – social media, review websites, etc., silence is not the key.
When COVID-19 hit the U.S., you may have noticed your email inboxes flooding with communications from just about every company that you had ever allowed to have your email address. Those emails communicated to you what the company was doing, how they were pivoting, and why they were still relevant to you. They were using that communication as a tool to maintain their relationship with you, their customer. I received and read several of those emails, and they often gave me renewed confidence in the businesses and organizations that I have chosen to trust with my patronage and my money.
From the moment a customer, or anyone, first interacts with your business or organization, the relationship is sparked. It may be small at first, a brief encounter that can set the tone for the future, but the more communication you send their way, the stronger the relationship becomes. And in times of uncertainty, if a company doesn’t communicate with their customer, they risk losing them. Pivoting is important, but how are you communicating that pivot to your customers?
At RJL Solutions, we have been busy helping our clients pivot and communicate since COVID-19 hit – by creating social media strategies and campaigns, producing videos, hosting webinar forums, writing talking points and editorials, and more. We have fought hard for our clients to prevent them from losing their muchness – inspiring them to step up and move forward, much the same way the Mad Hatter did for Alice. We are in this together. We must take those necessary steps now – pivot with a focus on our relationships and our communication – so that when we come out of our rabbit holes, we have the opportunity to be better and stronger than before.