Flatten the curve

A well-thought mantra or a well-designed visual may have many uses.

Today’s Twitter feed presented me with an inspiring variant of the ‘flatten the curve’ chart. The double bell curve, which is known by almost everyone today, visualizes the key rationale for keeping social distance in tough corona times. The chart explains why slowing the spread of the infection is nearly as important as stopping it and imposes a country’s health care capacity as the target upper limit for the epidemic’s growth.

The graphic I stumbled upon was attributed to the Sustainable Fashion Forum and promotes a new way of doing business that contains climate change risks by limiting natural resource consumption and carbon emission to the earth’s capacity.

The sustainable business curve does not only hold a clear message, but from a marketer’s perspective it also shows an effective way of capitalizing on a hot and widely discussed topic. What else could a casual blogger wish for writing a new post about, while staying at home to help flatten the COVID-19 curve?

When a virus goes viral

While the COVID-19 virus is spreading around the world, a video clip conquered the internet even faster.

At a press conference, a Santa Clara County health officer offered a simple advice on how people can stop the novel coronavirus from spreading: “Today, start working on not touching your face because one main way viruses spread is when you touch your own mouth, nose, or eyes.” And then… she brought her hand to her mouth and licked her finger to turn a page in her notes.

Video coverage by the Washington Post

The above video reminds me of a similar event I experienced myself long time ago. When I was attending a pedagogy course at the university, the professor in front told his students to “never wipe the chalkboard while pupils are still reading the content on it.” And then… he turned his back to the audience, took the board wiper and started erasing everything he had written during the last few minutes.”

Well, I remember quitting the aula and never returning to that pedagogy course.

For a long time, the subtitle of this blog page has been “keep your audience coming back for more”. I expect the above video will show up in many media trainings and communication courses. But when a speaker or a teacher loses credibility, his/her audience unfortunately will never come back!

Show & tell

Loyal readers of my blog will know that I made it a habit to publish a post while attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In case you missed some of these articles or would like to revisit one or more of them, here’s the list to date:

Unfortunately, there’s no MWC Barcelona this year, no crema catalana this week and no special blog post today.

The GSMA, who organizes this yearly mega event, has cancelled MWC 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The day before, my company had already announced that they pulled out for the same reason. A wise decision by both parties, since it would have been very difficult – if not impossible – to safeguard the health and well-being of me and my colleagues, as well as of the tens of thousands international visitors.

Image by 3dman_eu (pixabay.com, CC0 1.0)

So, today, I’m writing these words with mixed feelings. I really appreciate my employer’s concern for the health and well-being of its employees and customers. But… I also spent the past months defining and creating an exciting experiential demo, which I would have loved seeing go-live in Barcelona this morning.

Well, there’s also a light on the horizon: while communicating their withdrawal from MWC 2020, my company also announced series of “Nokia Live” events with which we will go directly to our customers and showcase them the industry-leading demos we prepared for the Mobile World Congress.

For obvious environmental, family and cost reasons, however, you can’t fly a hundred demo presenters around the globe for a few months. Live streaming, digital content and virtual presence will certainly provide alternatives to physical travel. But one can also educate local people to deliver the respective demonstrations.

That’s why I’ve already started creating a Show & Tell script for the demo I was supposed to give in Barcelona today. The Show & Tell concept is dead simple and implementation doesn’t need much more effort than doing a dress rehearsal of your demonstration. Run it for your colleagues and ask one of them to record it with his/her smartphone. Or just do it in front of a mirror and use a selfie stick.

The video will translate in a two-column document. One column is to be headed “show this” and the other “tell this”. In the first column you iterate the storyboard of your demo, while in the second one you just write down the corresponding transcript of your filmed narrative.

It’s easy as pie and, believe me, your distant colleagues will truly appreciate your effort. Send them the document together with the video source. They will be able to personalize the story, adapt the demo in function of time and audience, and translate the transcript to their local language.