By Cade Martin

As a kid, I spent many a dinner at a table surrounded by friends of my parents, an eclectic cast of characters — sculptors, writers, painters, creatives. That thread of creative community has remained in our offices, our teams and our collaborations. But that thread feels thinner in this moment. 

So I asked, with the purpose of sharing, and of supporting and caring for this creative community in its current, uncertain reality. I asked what people are doing, how they are feeling, how they are sparking creativity. It feels important to share what we do, when we can’t do all our doing.

Reaching out first to some of the talented people I’ve had the good fortune to profile though the Capitol Communicator portrait series.  It’s my version of a virtual dinner table of sorts. Grab a chair and listen in to the conversation with John Harold, Creative Director at the Ratner Companies.

John, what, if anything, are you doing differently?

At first, working from home was different. I love being with my team in the office kicking around ideas. But, I don’t miss spending three hours in a car everyday. Now that we’ve been furloughed I still text my team everyday just to talk, it’s become part of our daily routine. Open communication is extremely important now more than ever. We finally have all four children home with us from school, work and internships. It feels safer together. So overall things are different, life is different.

Are you staying creatively active?

Yes, on social media. It’s the only way to be interactive with people without a mask. A lot of people are scared and reach out on social. Just a simple comment or conversation can really be helpful. Being creative and posting positive stories can also be a helpful diversion. It’s a great visual medium, it creates conversations and distracts from the everyday news. Be social, be positive and try to have some fun.

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

I’m trying to plan for what’s next. Behaviors will be different. Markets will be different. How do you prepare for that? There are numerous articles out there about marketing during and after the pandemic. But who really knows? What companies will even make it through this? I feel that nobody wants to be marketed to right now they just want to know what you’re doing to help. Once this is over customers will be looking to know that their favorite brands did the right thing. All forms of “touch points” will need to be reevaluated. For instance, I have discussed synthetic paper options with two printers. If the virus can be transmitted through cardboard – are there options that would be safer for customers? It’ll be a whole new way of doing business.

View John’s original Capitol Communicator profile here.

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