The New Normal

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By Mary Shank Rockman | April 6, 2020

As I type this, I can hear my puppy Beaux barking in the backyard, my teenagers online, and my husband discussing the stock market. No, it’s not a weekend. It’s my new workday and the ‘new normal’ being shared by millions of people across the globe who undoubtedly are also questioning what this unprecedented time and subsequent phrase mean for today, next week and even next year. As a PR professional, I can’t help but analyze how significant are the questions and commentary that have been fueled by so much FUD—fear, uncertainty, and doubt—which have reached a pitch that’s extraordinarily unfamiliar to most. Will the world recover and if so, when? Do we know people who have been exposed to the Corona Virus and will they die from COVID-19? Perhaps we already know people who are infected and trying to recover or who have sadly passed away, such as Anik (Nick) Jesdanan, longtime technology reporter for the Associated Press among so many others who are beginning to put faces on this tragic situation. In addition to the uncertainty of the global health condition, businesses are shuttering, budgets are being cut back to “wait and see what’s next” mode, and many are convinced this will go down in the history books as the longest pandemic with a dramatic impact on global businesses the world has never experienced before.

While the “rules” have yet to be set in stone, there is no doubt that conducting business today is requiring each of us to think and act differently as well as put in place new structure, flexibility and patience with one another as we adjust to this new normal—not to mention forming a heavier reliance on technology that should likely help ensure our continued connection to employees, customers, partners, colleagues, friends, families and the like.

Meanwhile, as we all try to make sense of daily news, information, and predictions that surround us, life as we recently knew it must continue to go on. There are still sick people who require treatments, babies in the making, kids’ educational lessons that must be taught and tested, and business teams that are now suddenly remote, and despite their disparate locations, are forced to work closer together than ever before to fulfill customer demands and achieve corporate goals.

As a business owner like many others, I, too, am learning to better understand what it means to be a 100% virtual company and how to advise MSR clients about the best path forward for marketing communications in this environment. Although I do not have a crystal ball with which to predict the future, I do know that our work must go on to support our clients’ needs whether there’s a ‘shelter in place order’ or not. The MSR team is here for each of our coveted clients, partners, media influencers, team members, and surrounding communities—all of you!—with our number one priority to help ensure the health and safety of all our now-virtual touchpoints—just as we have during several significant market shifts the past 20 years. While this may surprise some, clients do need to continue marketing communications efforts to maintain awareness during the toughest times. How brands respond to these new circumstances will reshape the business landscape with those committing to ingenuity, thoughtfulness, and resilience likely poised for growth on the other side of these challenging conditions. Case in point, several of MSR’s clients that are helping businesses and consumers navigate this new landscape for both professional development and personal growth.

A 13-year client of MSR, The Myers-Briggs Company (, has been busy helping organizations leverage the strengths of team members to better understand how they will effectively and productively collaborate in this suddenly all-virtual environment. For larger corporations like so many of the Myers-Briggs’ customers where fewer people choose to work remotely, this is no easy feat. The company’s thought leading expert, John Hackston, shares what Human Resources needs to know about social distancing and personality type in last week’s TLNT Magazine. “…knowing the ways in which different personality preferences relate to home working goes beyond Twitter memes to allow workers to adapt to the new reality, and creates a framework by which HR professionals can help them to do this.” This is fascinating insight for those looking to help teams optimize their newly remote organizations.

In the meantime, while uncertainty continues to unfold about the impact this virus will have on the future health of all people, another innovative MSR client, Dadi (, is helping men and couples proactively contemplate their family planning options. The company offers a male-factor fertility solution that’s designed to help men affordably take control of their fertility from the comfort of their own homes, whenever, and wherever in the U.S. they’re located. As most fertility centers are currently closed to new patients, and hospitals have refocused efforts to help fight COVID-19, those with illnesses such as cancer, and/or facing life decisions may still do so with Dadi’s at-home sperm testing and storage solution without the risk of exposure to potentially dangerous circumstances. World-renown medical institutions and oncology centers across the nation are turning to Dadi especially in this time of need to help patients collect, analyze, store and preserve their fertility. Now that’s what I call sheltering in place for extra good!

On behalf of the MSR team, we wish you and your communities good health from a safe, social distance.