The COVID-19 epidemic has completely changed the way we live. People were almost locked up because of quarantine. All trips and vacations are canceled due to border closures. For many, work quickly moved to a permanent online mode. And even now, when the world has begun a gradual return to the “pre-quarantine era”, many changes in our lives will remain. Experts at the Institute for Cognitive Modeling (the digital project “Koronavirus_info”, the online platform for free psychological assistance tellme.com.ua) described exactly which “quarantine” habits will remain in the communications sphere after the end of the pandemic.
The future of communications is online
The Institute for Cognitive Modeling is behind one of the country's main resources about the epidemic and coronavirus, which many of us read every day – the Koronavirus_nfo project. The institute’s specialists, who were at the epicenter of the communication crisis between the state and people at the start of the pandemic and were able to quickly get out of it, talked about what peace awaits in the near future and how the communication sphere will change in it.
Co-founder of the Institute for Cognitive Modeling Viktor Berezenko is confident that the pandemic only partially accelerated the transition of humanity to online.
“Contrary to popular belief, the world as it was, will remain so. The motives and needs of people are the same – the means of achieving goals are changing. Trends persisted, and the pandemic only accelerated some processes. Humanity is quickly adapting to everything. Even those who had not been friends with the “number” before and for years could not get used to a smartphone, due to the limited conditions due to the coronavirus, instantly adapted. According to a Kantar TNS study, the number of Ukrainians who buy online has increased from 8 to 23%. I am sure that this indicator continues to grow. And this is just one of the trends, ”Viktor Berezenko emphasizes.
In his opinion, many workers and employers realized that most of the issues can be quickly resolved through video conferencing, and the work process itself was not particularly affected by the “remote” and even, on the contrary, was optimized.
“It became clear that you can not waste time on the road, you can order food and goods online, and nothing bad happens. Considering the fact that all quarantine prohibitions and barriers are already being gradually removed, the tendency to switch to full-fledged online will slow down, but it will definitely continue and intensify in the future. The point of no return is passed. If we take communications separately, and the business as a whole, then the key concepts in the market in the near future will be as follows: survival, expediency, budget, ”said Viktor Berezenko.
Therefore, in the current conditions, the owners of companies must take into account in their activities all these factors that the new “post-quarantine era” will bring. Including the issue of building communications.
“Owners must have an understanding of what they want to achieve, there must be a super goal. That is why we do not work with those who just want to be talked about. The Institute of Cognitive Modeling is a full-service technology company that allows you to create the desired social profile of people and organizations. We study all the factors of influence and select those communication channels that will convey key messages to target audiences as comfortably as possible. Today, digital technology can’t do without this issue, and if we are talking about a large project, it will be impossible to implement it, for example, without international support, ”emphasized Svetlana Paveletskaya, CEO of the institute.
She also noted that in the modern framework for effective communication, one cannot do without in-depth market analytics, identifying the problems and trends of its development. After this, the formation, testing and selection of the optimal strategy for each brand, company, political or public organization should take place.
One of the most striking communication projects implemented by the team of the Institute of Cognitive Modeling was Koronavirus_nfo.
“Coronavirus communication is one of our pro bono stories. When the information virus from panic and fakes became comparable in strength to COVID-19, our team realized that it was time to get involved in the process. We quickly made a decision, built for ourselves an understanding of the overall strategy and turned our ideas to the Ministry of Health, ”said Svetlana.
The team began the project in March 2020 immediately after the events in Sanjary.
“Due to the fact that we were already pumped up on large-scale projects, we quickly joined the process and began working with the Ministry of Health as a single ecosystem – or a super-organization, as Victor Berezenko calls us. Nevertheless, communication on COVID-19 was a challenge for us. 24/7 work, an uninterrupted flow of news that changes every minute, multi-level cross-checking of data and coordination of information exchange with both the Ministry of Health and other government agencies – we actually lived and continue to live with this project, ”said Alexandra Novikova, head of Social technology ”PCM.
Now "Koronavirus_info" is the most widely read public about coronavirus and epidemic in Viber and Telegram. The total audience of the project is about 4.5 million subscribers.
“Within the framework of the Koronavirus_info project, we have implemented dozens of information campaigns, collaborations with top country media representatives, creative agencies and brands, attracted a large number of large and medium-sized businesses to the All-Ukrainian initiative to support doctors, deliver them to work and home, to procurement of personal protective equipment, ventilators. And we do not stop there. Now, for example, we, together with the Red Cross Society and StarLightMedia, have launched a large-scale informational campaign #Zalisysvidomim with an appeal to observe precautionary measures in everyday life, ”said Alexandra.
About the challenges facing digital
The global pandemic and the quarantine that followed it hit all areas of public life without exception. Restrictions on offline communications are steadily leading to the fact that most businesses, social and political initiatives will use digital communications as their “lifeline”. According to Inna Gasyak, head of Digital Technologies at PCM, the active transition of brands to digital leads to an overabundance of content in digital, which, accordingly, means more fierce competition for the attention of users and audience.
“People will be left with only those who produce true, useful and invigorating content. The latter under quarantine is very important. So in 2020, we will fight for the attention of the audience and its trust. And we will fight with fakes. The panic around the coronavirus popularized the creation of fake formats. More and more news is appearing created in the interests of someone for manipulation and panic. Therefore, in the channels created by the institute, our main task is to generate content that not only shows a reliable picture of reality, but also will be a source of motivation for our readers, ”Inna Gasyak noted.
About new projects
Another big pro bono project of the institute is the Tell Me platform, which provides Ukrainians with free psychological support. According to the PCM team, in post-quarantine times the problem of psychological health of Ukrainians will be more acute than ever. Already, the platform is very popular: “Tellme.com.ua is a large multi-channel project, a helping hand to Ukrainians during a pandemic, quarantine and economic crisis. In our country, there is still no culture of using the services of psychotherapists, everyone is used to consulting with friends and relatives, and this does not always help to solve the problem, ”says Spartak Saturday, supervisor of the institute.
According to him, the platform team works by the method of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), one of the most common forms of psychotherapeutic help for people with various psychological problems.
“Already in our pool there are more than 100 qualified psychologists with the appropriate certification and the necessary work experience. As of today, there are already more than 1200 successfully closed sessions. For many, communication with a psychologist occurs for the first time in their life. If in large cities people are more or less familiar with the value of the work of psychotherapists, then in small cities and villages people are afraid of condemnation and criticism from relatives. But we are still glad that the first steps have been taken and we are on the right track. It is important for us that we can popularize the profession of psychologists by accustoming people to monitor their mental health as well as physical. We understand that we are not only conducting important public work, but also inspiring Ukrainians to a new quality life, ”added Ekaterina Kolchak, head of the Social and Corporate Psychology department at PCM.
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