The Progress Shed ActionCOACH, which is run by Peter Ralston and Andy Walter, held a webinar recently where they hosted Hélio Vogas, a Brazilian motivational speaker, and much of his talk was about how to get staff back to work from furlough, because not everybody wants to go back to work, especially in the middle of a pandemic. The idea of being paid and staying at home may be appealing for some people who are not motivated by their work or have other challenges when leaving their home, so it’s also about motivation.
How a razor started a movement
The NHS and the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr. Atherton, realised that one of the challenges they were facing with their PPEs or personal protective equipment such as the face mask was that their beards were blocking the PPEs from working. Dr. Atherton, said, “Well, the best solution is we shave our beards,” and instead of giving instructions to others and waiting for them to do it, he went online and spawned the Reach for the Razor movement on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, showing that each individual person can make a difference. As a result of this, there was a young Muslim colleague named Ishmael from the North East Ambulance Service who wears a beard as part of his faith, but he, too, decided that he would take the blade and shave of his facial hair. After announcing the news on Facebook, he got over one thousand likes and people, including the the official North East Ambulance Service account, praised him for being a beacon for other members of staff and also for patients to see that even ambulance drivers are taking responsible steps to make sure that everybody is going to be safe. This is a fantastic example of people making small personal movements that can create a seismic shift.
American actor John Krasinski started the Some Good News show on Youtube in 2020 which focused on only positive things, and in only a few months, he managed to gain two and a half million Youtube followers. He’s in the news because he managed to sell it so quickly to Viacom, and what’s interesting is the sense within the major networks that good news is going to have a place in the mainstream media. There used to be the saying that, “The only good news is bad news when it comes to print," but that’s changing for the better. This also relates to the cascade theory and “The Five Reasons Why Captain Tom Didn’t Walk Alone” show that what we need to do is not aim to influence just one or two key influences, but rather seek to influence a large number of people who are easily influenced, because it’s actually the large number of people who are easily influenced reaching a threshold where they’re willing to engage and change their behavior and do something new that creates this viral effect.
Don’t forget about print
People nowadays are receiving information in a fully formatted manner, which wouldn’t be accessible nor accepted by the mainstream media. You can take whatever you like from the political implications, but from a practical point of view, print and publishing your own print publication can be a very effective way of communicating. If you’ve got a product or a service that isn’t necessarily going to get the sort of coverage that you’d like in the mainstream print, or if the audience that you’ve got is one that is maybe not online, then print is still a really good medium. This is especially true if you want to have long-form reading, photographs, and contact details. However, it’s not traceable. If people read this, no one is going to know because unlike digital, it doesn’t leave a footprint, so there are no statistics. Nevertheless, there is still value and power of print in this era, even if it may be going out of fashion and out of style.
As Share the Razor has shown the public, it creates good news and enables people to cut through on a common message. No one’s selling anything, although some razor brands apparently have gotten involved in this afterwards. Part of the conversation that entrepreneurs and leaders need to have is how to encourage and motivate people back to work. Dr. Atherton illustrated that beautifully by showing that even just a small personal sacrifice which is on-message, keeps with the overall goals for the organisation, and is driven towards caring for others can be very well-received not only within the organisation, but by the public as well. So, is there anything that you can do to make a difference and to make your customers and team smile? It doesn’t have to cost anything, just a razor. Maybe you’ve got something else that you can do that will get some publicity and branding, but more importantly, will show that you and your organisation are COVID-ready.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.