VIA BEETCAM– As the editor in chief of Digiday and president of Digiday Media, Brian Morrissey is at the forefront of how a media company is adapting to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and overseeing coverage of how industries like advertising are adjusting.
“This is a massive story – it’s touching every single company and industry we cover across three brands,” says Morrissey in a remote interview via BeetCam. Digiday Media owns media and marketing publication Digiday, fashion and beauty publication Glossy and retail industry publication Modern Retail. “The actual editorial direction isn’t difficult – we put ourselves at the center of these industries. We connect people with the information they need to do their jobs better, and in a world of massive uncertainty that roles becomes even more important.”
There’s no shortage of business angles for reporters to explore right now; what’s important for an organization to do is keep up morale as companies continue working remote and some workers are dealing with an external crisis for the first time. “This situation is unique in a lot of ways, but we’ve been through the post 9/11, dot com bust and the financial crisis, and some others haven’t. It’s new, and it’s shocking.”
As companies work to make their ways through the crisis, advertising strategies are up in the air. Some have paused advertising spend all together as they figure out their messaging, Morrissey says, and some categories will be more resilient than others. More important than campaign angles, slogans or “how we’re dealing with coronavirus” emails is the actions companies take.
“One of the more interesting aspects is companies need to figure out what they can do to help during this time,” Morrissey says. “That will stick. Not all the tactical stuff about whether they put on ads.” Companies like LVMH turning over supply chains to hand sanitizer production leave an impression, similar to when Hyundai defer car payments after the 2008 financial crisis.
“That’s the kind of stuff that not only will it contribute to solving this problem but it’s actions and it’s not words,” Morrissey says. “A lot of advertising gets caught up in what the right words are when really what’s needed are the right actions. That’s what I’m looking for.”