July 21, 2020 • Jason Dressel
Rarely does a phenomenon hyped to be “one of a kind” or “once in a century” actually rise to the occasion. And epic sports or music events notwithstanding (remember those?), that’s normally a good thing. Few people were bummed out on New Year’s Day 2000 when the world wasn’t massively disrupted due to Y2K.
However, a very long time ago something occurred that appeared to meet the standard of its hyperbole. This was way back in the early spring of 2020. After a few weeks of being locked down in our houses and inundated with words and phrases like “historic, “unprecedented, “uncharted territory” and “time of uncertainty,” it became increasingly clear that this time was . . . different. We were indeed in a new kind of crisis, and this was not just going to blow over.
History Factory realized that while we don’t know how this crisis is going to play out, it’s going to become one of the most transformative chapters in the history of business. And like so many people and organizations around the world, we were driven to create something for the greater good. That’s why we launched the COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project. Since May, we’ve been collecting, preserving and presenting the real-time history of the pandemic through the lens of corporations’ responses to it.
As we all continue to persevere and adapt to the new normal, we’re now focused on helping our clients collect, preserve and present their own real-time history. Our new Real-Time History program captures what’s happening right now and arms clients with an archive, timeline and mini-documentary for use across their communications channels. Real-Time History brings together our research, storytelling methodology, oral histories, and archives creation in a cost-efficient package for immediate value and long-term preservation.
Whether it’s a diverse workforce of employees around the world who are continuing to deliver, leaders who are demonstrating compassion and courage, partners and suppliers that are providing critical flexibility, or customers who are proving to be loyal in the darkest of days, every business has its own unique stories.
Capturing and preserving this moment will help prepare your organization for the next crisis. To that point, over the past few months we’ve provided clients with insights on how they’ve responded—for better and for worse—to past pandemics, economic crises and periods of civil unrest. In moments of challenge, organizations turn to their experience—their memory—to help navigate the path forward.
Most importantly, capturing your organization’s unique experiences has immediate value. In an economy that puts a premium on authenticity, storytelling and social responsibility, the history you’re making right now has instant currency. These stories can engage and galvanize your people, breathe life into your purpose and values, and project a vision for the future of your enterprise.
In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
History is happening every day. Don’t lose it. Use it.
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