COVID-19: How To Be Helpful 

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Eyeota Audience Data Session: The At Home Edition!

The Eyeota team chat with our industry partners, clients and friends about what brands and advertisers can be doing during this difficult period.

Jane Aull from Eyeota speaks with Jay Krihak from Crossmedia about how best to communicate with and help clients at this time.

Watch the 15-min discussion here:

 

 

Read the transcript here:

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for joining. We have a really special guest with us here today. Jay Krihak, who is the Managing Director who heads up audience strategies at Crossmedia. Jay, thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to talk today.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

I actually had to switch chairs today so not a problem at all.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

That is, that's one of my questions actually. As we discussed earlier in the week, we temperature check on how agencies are handling this ever changing landscape and news reports and how you are communicating that with your team and then also with your end client and advertisers. So I'm going to kick it up to you to further introduce yourself because I'm sure I cannot do you justice on your roles and responsibilities at Crossmedia.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

I appreciate the, the conversation, the opportunity and you know, hopefully some people walk away with something valuable coming out of this, maybe even be entertained, who knows. But so I, as you said, Jane, I head up our, our audience team over at Crossmedia. You know, been around for a while, as the gray hair shows, but I think you know, our, our job as leaders within the company, even though I have a title of head of audience, we certainly appreciate and look for everybody to lean in wherever it's needed. And the times, like now it's more important for you to take out your your Swiss army knife and just, you know, bring all the tools of the trade forward. You know, and again, just happy to be happy to be here and appreciate everything.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Awesome. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you being here as well. So first question for you is how are you engaging with your team internally and also how are you shifting your own work from home balance? I know you said you switched it, switched chairs. I myself had to switch chairs because I was getting backaches so I'm sitting at the dining room table, so had to invest in an office chair for myself.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah, that's funny. I actually switched to the dining room table, as you could see, but you know, and that's from the couch. So I think, you know, how how we've responded has been more of a, I'll say it as opposed to me. I think you have a leadership team of 15 or so people within cross media who have just come together to act in a, in a unified approach and how we've managed it as basically just that it's more communication, more direct access to everyone, including Kamran Asghar, our co-founder. And it's, it's really more about that. Let's have regular dialogue every day, every week and we'll have it and then we're expected to have it with our teams. But I think this is where the advantage of working for a company that has a couple hundred people really makes a difference where there are unfettered lines of access to anybody within the company. And that's meant from [inaudible] on down. So it makes our jobs a lot easier to communicate this to our teams. When our fearless leader is out there communicating to the teams and we can echo a lot of his statements, we can feed off of that and we can bring all of the feedback directly to him and our Head of Halent or COO, everybody. And this way we're all understanding where the, the stresses and strains are. And how we can support them best.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Absolutely. Yep. I love that. Second question here is how are your teams in contact with clients? I know that you have open communication with your teams internally. How are you educating your clients and what are the questions that they're asking really.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

You know, it's, it depends. So for clients in the travel industry, they've been obviously hit hardest. I think for them it's just being a resource. They will have a lot of other priorities and challenges that they're faced with on a day to day basis and they've streamlined operations we've really just been there and I think just that continuous support is invaluable at times like these. And then for other clients and other verticals with other challenges, it's feeding them information in a timely basis and clearly just helping to filter out all of the noise that's out there. There's so much that comes in every day, we've been able to identify at least a couple of primary challenges to focus our communications on, but then also a couple of important data and information streams that we've really relied on to be a, some guiding light, if you will, in terms of what's coming. And that's where I think most of the communications outward are trying to focus, which is what are those leading indicators of what's to come, because it's great we know the here and now, but if there is something that can give us a leg up on planning and preparedness for the next couple of weeks or a couple of months, that's really where we want to focus our attentions on.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Yeah, absolutely. And in terms of planning and preparation, are you also leading discussions around kind of shifts in terms of channel? So are you favoring one channel over the other - social, CTV out of home or are you is it just kind of different in terms of clients based needs?

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

It's different in terms of client obviously, you know, you always have to start every conversation with, well it depends. And what, what we're doing now is, is the marketplace team is hard at work and identifying where the pockets of opportunity lie within sourcing. And also where the conversation has shifted or the eyeballs have shifted and are there, has that created opportunity as well? So, you know, I, I think the biggest challenge right now is do you participate in the COVID media explosion or do you not? And how can we do that in a, in a safe way where your brand is not being looked at as opportunistic. It's really being looked at as supportive and you know, I think some folks have come out very clearly stating that they do not want to walk away from the media at a time where the media becomes so critical. So supporting those local news outlets, supporting the national news outlets. And how do you do that in a way that stays on brand is, is critical at this point. So I think that's just, those are just a couple of examples, but you know, I think we're all looking at similar trends, data about where eyeballs and ears and all of those things and clicks are going. I guess you could say. And we'll just continue to monitor that as we go.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Yeah, absolutely. I know when we spoke earlier this week, you said brand messaging was super important across all the different clients that you do work with. Are you finding that clients are looking to new strategies during this work from home environment to target new audiences? I guess it kind of coincides with what you just said earlier, just kind of learning about the news and where the industry's going, but if there's any type of nuggets you have on a new strategies.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah, I think this is the time where brands are really identifying who they are and who they want to be and who they can be in the eyes of the, of the consumer. So who are, who am I allowed to say that I am? What is the foundation that I've laid over time to give me the credibility to be able to enter that conversation and just support where we can. So, you know, clients of ours, like Hertz have donated cars to medical workers, Serta has donated beds. NYU currently at Langone is, is doing everything, obviously, and I think you, you and US bank has given raises to employees. So I think you look, you look across the board and I think our conversations with them and the immediate was how can you be more helpful? How can we be more helpful for you being helpful?

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

How can we ask the marketplace to champion some of the things that you're doing? And then how can we help create some other pockets of of good. And I, and that's, you know, across the board. I know our clients aren't the only ones doing it. I know our agencies, are doing it. But this is the time where you just look around and the only question on your mind is, how can I help? And how we take action on those things is so critical right now. Both in perception, reality. And that's really all we're trying to do. That's why I wake up every day, you know, just saying, how can I help these guys? How can I help my team? How can I help my clients?

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Absolutely. So secondly, if we're helping your team, are you, are there any type of learning webinars that have facilitated throughout this time? Maybe helpful presentation, webinars that you, how are circulating with your, throughout this stay at home time?

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah, I'll give  three examples. I think Global Web Index has done a really, really nice job of giving a trends analysis and a forward looking view of things. They really get some real and near time information that they've packaged well. So I give them a lot of credit. I give Adobe a lot of credit for taking their entire summit and bringing it online. Now they've created an, an a customer experience self-service tool. So you could create your own pathway with just answering some questions along the way. At least as a starting point and I think those kinds of things are really helpful. I know I'm now, I'm blanking on the third...the New York times came out with a really great document in the past couple of days to just talking about the state of communication and I, I'll just kind of say it that way and I think those three things are just great because they either provide information, they provide insights, they provide distraction but they also help you refocus a little bit on some areas and some ideas that you might have been rolling around and now it's like, great, I can take that and I can apply it here or I can get a handful of people and bring them into this conversation and let's, let's attack it because we have the time.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Right. Yeah. This is definitely the time to kind of pivot your ideas in terms of your work balance as an individual too. I feel myself, I am really pivoting everything that I've learned to make it a  new process or working from home.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah. That's the hardest part of the day is reminding yourself to get up and then you stand up. It's like, Oh, I need to walk somewhere. Or to find the 30 minutes of the day to to not be static. I really have to get moving. So, you know, you get outside and if you can't get outside, you know, you're just walking up and down the stairs 10 times.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Yeah, absolutely. I've been doing stretches, doing some yoga, trying to just make myself feel active because this is a trying time for everyone. So being there.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah. And it's, you know, we're, we're all juggling things and whether it's your pets or your kids or your family you know, your parents, whatever. Like there, there's always something and you'd probably heard some squeaky toys or some door openings or hand washings or whatever going on. So, you know, we're all...

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Yeah, everybody has to understand that we all have lives and we're all at home right now.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah. I've seen a little bit more of, of people's humanity than I wanted to see. But you know, you've seen a lot more humanity from people than you expected to see. And that's a great thing.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, Jay, thank you so much. I just wanted to take this time to have some final, final thoughts from you, words of wisdom that you want to share throughout the as you embark on this unchartered journey for the landscape.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Yeah. You know, look, as in my role as head of audience, and this is going to sound so corny, I know, but like my job is to remind marketers and advertisers and our teams that we're still working and talking with people everyday. What you promote and how you say it and the way in which you say then who you say it to, you have to go and meet the consumer where they are with the expectations that they have. And that's no more critical than it is now, in this moment. Because if you don't, you're going to alienate a lot of people. You're going to piss a lot of people off. But more importantly, you've, you've lost that emotional, humanitarian, empathetic you know, tone that I think carries a lot of weight right now. Just be human. And, you know, we are, we're truly, instead of bringing yourself to work every day, we're bringing everything to work every day.

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

And we're just, you see it. You know, we all have cameras. We all have phones, you know, the home tours, whatever it is. I, I think it's just acknowledging where we're at. Be helpful. Ask questions if you don't know, ask you know, but just, just be be understanding and, you know, let's know that, that tomorrow's going to be different than today and wake up and try and get back after it. But that's, you know, that's kinda where I'll leave things is we're all people. And just remember that.

Jane Aull, Eyeota:

Could not agree more. Oh, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate it now,

Jay Krihak, Crossmedia:

Anytime, Jane, I really appreciate this. Thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful day