Your Story (About Surviving a Global Pandemic) Starts Now


(This was published yesterday on Hammock Inc.’s weekly one-article newsletter called Idea Email. The people on the screen are not hired models. They are hired actors. Actually, they are real people who used to come to a Nashville office daily. Except for the one who lives in Birmingham. Oh, and you can subscribe to one of two flavors of Idea Email. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.)


Many years ago, Hammock Inc. published a corporate magazine for a fast-growing company with more than 30,000 employees. Because much of the company’s growth came from acquisitions, it was a challenge for employees to keep up with all the things the corporation was becoming.

Inspired by National Geographic‘s issue-long photo feature, “A Day in the Life of America,” we suggested creating a corporate version. We told the company’s story through hundreds of photographs in locations across the country—all taken on the same day.

Our not-so-subtle message was this: “We’re all in this together, no matter where we are or what we do.”

Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that message still rings true: We’re all in this together, and this worldwide health crisis will become a part of your company’s story—and its future.

Start creating your company’s story now.

> Ask your employees to use their smartphones to take photographs and short video snippets of their new home workspaces, video conference screens full of faces, and four-legged “co-workers.”

> Use FaceTime or Zoom to host short video or audio interviews with employees, clients and suppliers to learn how they are interacting and working in a new work-from-home environment. Ask people how they’re staying connected in the age of social distancing or ask working parents how they’re managing conference calls while homeschooling. These interviews may never be a “marketing thing,” but they may become a pillar of inspiration for future employees.

> Ask team members to write guest posts on your company’s blog about their day-to-day routine. What does the work day look like now that the daily commute is only from the bedroom to the makeshift desk in the dining room? How many cups of coffee are consumed every day?

> Take screenshots of humorous exchanges between team members on Slack or Basecamp, or save emails with kind remarks from clients and customers. Archive both the dramatic and the mundane.

Two years ago, Hammock produced a documentary to commemorate an organization’s 75th anniversary. It took nearly a year to collect the snippets of video and photography necessary to tell the organization’s story.

In the end, the most inspiring parts of the documentary were about the “little” things shared by former employees. Almost all of these stories had never been shared.

Capture your company’s story. Today. This week. It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone camera or an expensive Nikon—just archive as much as possible. These stored memories will one day become a significant part of your company’s history.

Today, you are living the story of your organization’s history.

Today, you are creating its future.

(Photo from Hammock’s weekly Monday morning meeting)