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issue thirty • January 28, 2020
Rose colored glasses
A Bit of Wisdom.

We've all been asked the age-old question, "Where were you when....?" Collective, generation-defining moments aren't new, but how we've experienced them this past year has been, well, you know...different. Like inaugurations without thunderous applause, but with plenty of rows of American flags flapping in the wind. And global pandemics. And insurrections. We've had no shortage of pivotal moments — and now, more than ever, brands feel pressure to weigh in on breaking news.

As we witness these events from a (physical) distance, we rely on social platforms even more for real-time reactions (Bernie memes, anyone?), as well as for deeper and more meaningful conversations (which might explain Clubhouse's surge in popularity, despite its misinformation problem). And we've seen a lot of brands jumping into these conversations. Case in point: the "Axe Body Spray Condemns Capitol Rioters" tweet. Or the countless brand statements about racial justice during the Black Lives Matter protests — some impactful, but too often just talking the talk. Cluttering social feeds in the moment can do more harm than good to a brand's reputation, especially when borne out of a pressured scramble to be on the right side of history. Don't misunderstand: there is more pressure on brands to be socially conscious. But consumers are honed in, particularly Gen-Z. And they can smell performative statements from a mile away.

Instead of asking Should we respond to this? brands should ask How can we meaningfully contribute to this conversation? A branded in-the-moment statement condemning rioters is...fine. A follow-up statement detailing the permanent changes in political contributions that a company will make, as a result of those riots, is even better. (Kudos AirBnb and Marriott, to name a few). So let's not forget the old axiom "Silence is golden." At least, that is, until we have something meaningful (and enduring) to say.

Things We’re Feelin’.
Editorial positions are turning over across America's major news rooms. Is this start of the changes needed to see traditional media trust come back? 
Virtual experiences are taking over social calendars these days. Enter: virtual fashion.
Nothing like kicking off a new gig with a six-week website build.
"Leave no trace" extends beyond the objects you bring into nature – it's also about the chemicals you may be leaving behind.
We're familiar with the power of words, but what about letters?
Portrait of Jason Reynolds
Good Work,
Good People.
Telemedicine, technology, and tailored-to-patient healthcare is on the horizon as the healthcare industry continues to evolve.  Sylvia Romm (MD, MPH, founder at Sonder Health, is on the frontline of this transformation. In a recent sit down with AW's Lindsey Goebel, Romm discussed how access to healthcare in an increasingly complex world isn't just about providing the right services, but also about providing the right services in a way that make sense in peoples lives. Take five and read the full conversation.
Graph showing Instagram cares more about shopping than people care about shopping on Instagram
Artemis Ward
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Artemis Ward · 1121 5th St NW · Washington, District Of Columbia 20001 · USA