To handle "economic left and right turns and ups and downs," brands should be "really paying attention to and listening actively to what their consumers, and customers, and clients are saying," The Pollack Group president Stefan Pollack tells Doug Simon.

"The common denominator for brands communicating in uncertain times is do something tangible, help people," Pollack says. "All people need to hear something. They need to see something. They need to be provided with information."

The experiences gained during the COVID pandemic and emerging social justice movments have tranformed the role communications play in helping people navigate complex crises. "During COVID, we really saw companies kind of transform and really turn into beacons by rallying around their corporate vision and their brand platforms," he says.

Dealing with the constantly changing economic and social landscape requires communications to do several things, Pollack tells Simon.

"Stay transparent and be true to your voice. If it makes sense to do nothing then do nothing and just understand that kind of generic marketing speak isn't going to work. Communicate with heart and sincerity rather than promotion. Most importantly, be helpful and understand the unique role that your brand can actually play in a consumer's life."

He also says that it's important to tailor messages to each specific audience. "Different states may be reacting to the different economic fluctuations differently. So, what might work in Massachusetts, may not work in California, from a communication perspective."

Pollack's experiencs as an adjunct professor at USC have made him optimistic about the future of the communications industry. "The students are smart, very smart, and they're not afraid of challenging conventional wisdom at all," Pollack says.

He thinks they will be "one of the most agile generations to come into the workforce that we've ever seen because of everything that they've been through. Change is a constant to them. It's not when things are going to change, it's that things will change."

The challenges that the country faces, Pollack says, are actually an opportunity for communicators. " I think that you're looking at an opportunity for companies and brands to really be helpful. I think as we go into potential uncertain times yet again, brands need to, kind of, pick their spot and find a voice that resonates, and actively listen. Always be communicating—if you're not communicating, somebody else is communicating for you.

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