Janet Northen: Say no to publicity and yes to mindful, strategic agency communications
On Monday afternoon, Director of Agency Communications Janet Northen took part in the panel discussion “This Is Not the Time to Be Quiet,” which kicked off a two-week webinar series, “Agencies Under Quarantine,” sponsored by Sweat+ Co, The Muse by Clio, and The ANDY Awards.
A veteran of building agency brands, Northen said this is not the time to be doing publicity but rather mindful, strategic agency communications. “If what we are sharing is useful, inspirational or news of our agency as it relates to the industry, then we should stay the course. Otherwise, it’s a liability more than an asset to our brand.”
She also said agencies should not stop talking about the challenges facing our industry. “Now is not the time to stop conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion, or the importance of creativity when building client brands.”
When asked how agency communications will be affected by COVID-19, Northen said agencies will place more emphasis on empathy and better understanding the consumer. “For agency communications professionals, it will mean less pitching and more listening. I love that I have permission to not always be asking a journalist for something but rather listening to what they might need.”
Northen closed with an invitation for agencies and clients to live into their values. “If you’re leaning more into staying silent in this period, if you’re not sure how to add to a conversation — live into your values. You’ll find your voice there.”