At the intersection of today’s politics and communications lies a fundamental challenge – how do we move the needle in our everyday work while challenging clients and ourselves in the process to have a measurable impact on the world? This was a key topic at the ColorComm conference, an annual gathering of women of color in communications. We all monitor the news daily – flagging opportunities for clients to proactively respond and inform consumers about our POV on the topics du jour. In a cluttered political news landscape today, these opportunities abound and infiltrate conversation amongst clients who aren’t in the political sector or widely affected by it. But let’s face it – in today’s world everything is political.
Enter our opening breakfast topic: Communications in the Age of Trump. We co-hosted a panel discussion on this topic with Omnicom partners Ketchum and FleishmanHillard, which inspired rich conversation on what it means to be marketers, writers and creatives at a time when media is being silenced, there’s fake news to filter through, and our work to inspire and shift perspectives is increasingly muddled in the mess.
Some key takeaways from the panel and general political discussion at the conference include:
- It’s time to challenge ourselves and our clients to be about something more – it’s not about just sharing your/your brand’s perspective on social media. How do we drive clients to consider being more proactive in addressing major issues?
- The consolidation of power at the top means we need to reach outside our individual affinity groups and issues and be about something bigger. Time is running out!
- Social only works if there’s a real life component to go with it. We need to walk the walk, not just talk about it.
- Don’t be afraid to stand for something and show up to work that way. Diverse perspectives are precisely what’s needed at the table even though they can challenge others.
- “If I’m not sitting there, no one is going to say anything.” Make sure you never miss the opportunity to express a divergent opinion. If it’s on your heart, it matters.
At the end of a whirlwind week of discussion I feel ever more emboldened to be the Digital Program Manager/Activist/Multimedia Artist I am today and to continue bringing that with a sense of purpose to my work here. Trump is taking us on a ride through unchartered territory and it behooves us all to step into power in this way.