Noetic’s Marketing Leader Q&A Series highlights Tina Bagapor-O’Harrow, ZIPS Dry Cleaner’s Franchise organization VP of Marketing. ZIPS is a dry-cleaning company with an owner-operator model. Tina works with its valued franchisees, advertising agencies, and in-house team to ensure marketing and advertising efforts are most effective. As ZIPS has faced a sharp decline in customers’ ability to engage with them, Tina shares her insights on how they have adapted in this unusual climate.

Respond, recover, then re-emerge. With business whose low point represented an 80% decline, ZIPS set a three-phase effort to adapt: response, recovery, re-emergence. ZIPS is not a business that could convert to a completely online model given the inherent physicality of the service they provide. Given the dip in customer traffic and sales that started in spring 2020, ZIPS first needed to downsize staff and eliminate other variable and fixed costs to help its owner-operators manage in a dynamic new economy.

Recovery means testing and learning efforts in safety. ZIPS tested various approaches to see what customer directed approaches resonated the best. Curbside drop off, delivery, and easy drop options gave customers more low-touch solutions. Contracting with state and regional businesses in need of cleaning including fire and rescue and law enforcement presented additional opportunities. They taught ZIPS operators how to look for and pursue B-2-B opportunities.

New campaigns provided focus and relevant reasons to clean. The “Commitment to Clean” campaign helped customers understand ZIPS was taking health guidance seriously in-store and that dry cleaning kills 99% of viruses and bacteria on garments. ZIPS also promoted cleaning household items such as comforters and pillows to increase the level of safety in customer homes.

Ramping up digital and enhancing customer experience. While ZIPS could not convert completely to online, digital efforts were employed as a way to open accounts, make store selection, and text to plan ahead for drop-offs and pickups.

Innovate to re-emerge. ZIPS has launched Laundry by ZIPS, a new system-wide wash and fold service. This effort coincides with back to school, where families are encouraged to take back their time.  Creative focuses on new home working and schooling and more casual scenarios.  With constrained marketing dollars, ZIPS stood-up an in-house agency, backed primarily by PPP,  to create new sub-brands and build and deploy new campaigns.

Have a roadmap and adjust as you need. Being resilient and innovative is like riding a wave: stay in the tube, sense the changes, stay calm and focused, and make adjustments as needed. It will feel chaotic and may change quickly. Try to harness the adrenalin and navigate the ride! At the time of publication, ZIPS has been able to regain more lost ground. Still 35% off of last year’s number, they are hopeful that moving with alacrity and being open to change has helped navigate this unprecedented business interruption.  

Think about the long-term to sustain in the new reality. Leaders and marketers need to ask themselves: What models, products and needs do you have, or could you build to thrive within this constrained environment?

Learn more about ZIPS here. 

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Noetic’s Marketing Leader Q&A Series features, Marissa Jarratt, SVP and CMO of 7-Eleven. Deemed an essential business during the COVID crisis, Marissa discusses how 7-Eleven has shifted their business and brand strategies.

Get back to your roots. Understand your history, what your brand truly stands for, and why your customers come to you. This can be a pillar to lean on in times of crisis.

Operate with Servant Leadership. Empathize with your customers and find ways to serve them betterIt’s not only about what you’re selling, but why you’re selling it, who you’re selling it to, and where. Meet your customers where they need you the most, and provide what they’re looking for to the best of your ability.   

Understand the shifts in your customers’ behavior. And provide what they need. For example, 7-Eleven offers bake-at-home food options for their customers who are now buying for more the longterm rather than a quick snack or meal on the go. 

Communicate clearly and effectively in a timely manner.  It’s essential to recognize sometimes there’s a time and a place that you have to simply put out the information to ensure the integrity of the operation, the customer experience, and longevity of the enterprise, rather than focusing on the creative aspect. 

Always put safety first.  Every discussion and decision made should put safety first, protecting team members and enabling them to serve communities in need. For 7-Eleven, it meant PPE, new protocols, and ensuring ensure stocked shelves with critical supplies for those who need it.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Noetic’s Marketing Leader Q&A Series highlights Laurie Gavitt-Smith, VP Marketing at Avalere Health, a healthcare consultancy specializing in strategy, policy, and data analysis for life sciences, health plans, and providers. In a time headlined by healthcare, Laurie shares her insights on marketing and how leaders will need to adapt. 

  1. Have discipline around your messaging. Marketers often feel they always have to be out there and heard. The key is to have the discipline to know when you can contribute to the conversation and be relevant rather than just speaking to hear yourself. 
  • Marketers are critical during times of crisis. They bring new ideas to the table and what we need to stay on brand. It’s going to be increasingly important to show executives why and how marketing is more critical than ever.
  • Traditional tactics will shift. For example, the inability to host live conferences allows for that money to be invested in other areas. Marketers will increasingly need to show the metrics to justify the investments – measurement is a must!
  • Keep clients informed.  Very early on, we put together a client response Team who quickly partnered with internal subject matter experts in creating an online COVID 19 Intel Center, ensuring our clients have the latest factual information.

Learn more about Avalere Health.  To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


On this week’s episode of Noetic’s Marketing Leader Q&A series our special guest is Cathy Davis, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Feeding America. Cathy discusses the ways COVID has impacted Feeding America as an organization and how they operate to ensure they can continue helping as many people as possible, especially during these challenging times. Here are some tips Cathy shared with us.

  • Being able to transform your business based on what the marked demands can be a huge opportunity. Be aware of what has shifted in the current market situation as people’s habits have shifted and pivot to those opportunities.
  • Be clear about what is happening in the news, in the market and in your category. It’s hard but try to prepare and get ahead of what’s happening as much as you can by understanding what’s happening in the world.
  • Agility.  Quick decision making is imperativeFailing fast, Falling forward. Not acting now could cost you later.
  • Optimize what you put into the market on the fly. Spend less time on creative and get your messages into the market. You can adjust on the go, but it’s important to continue to have an active voice.
  • Identify all critical stakeholders and make sure you’re engaging them.  It is important they understand where you’re going and you understand what’s important to them.

Learn more about how you can support Feeding America HERE.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


This week on Noetic’s Covid Marketing Leader Q&A series we are happy to feature Meredith Conte, VP Marketing at TEGNA . Meredith shares the ways in which TEGNA has been handling crisis both internally and with clients. Their team worked proactively to communicate with clients, who required a swift pivot to maintain relevancy in the ever changing news environment.   

Here are some tips Meredith shared for marketers during a crisis:

  1. Remember the brand basics of brand building during recessionary behavior. Stay present and maintain your share of voice; Adapt the message to be relevant; Account for changes in consumer behavior.
  2. One size does not fit all. Local story first – what different cities and states are dealing with during this crisis greatly varies. Make sure you think about what’s happening in different geographies and people’s mindsets.
  3. Real time marketing is here to stay – the story is fluid and always changing. The industry is constantly change and we need to think about how to make real time marketing part of operational capabilities.
  4. Consumer behavior and expectations are going to change. For example, patients are now expecting to have the option of telehealth appointments. People being at home are doing more home-based behaviors.  
  5. Ask yourself, “how do you want to be remembered?” 6 months or a year from now. What experience do you want your stakeholders to take away or recall? Use that as guidance to make decisions rather than getting stuck in the present.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Noetic is excited to share our latest Q&A series discussion around what senior leaders are doing to extend their brand and share advice with other marketers within their industry and beyond. Today’s episode features Michelle Russo, Chief Communications Officer at the US Chamber of Commerce

Here are five tips from Michelle on how to handle communications during times of crisis. 

  1. Appreciate the highly emotionally charged environment we’re living in. Emotional arguments are drowning out rational ones. It’s more important than ever to be as clear as possible with your messaging and be aware of what competing messages are saying.
  2. Be true to your mission. A deep understanding of your value proposition and the unique value you add to people’s lives is crucial to be able to cut through the clutter.
  3. Acknowledge the situation, but don’t dwell on it. There is a COVID information overload and it’s important to set your brand apart by aligning your messaging and advertising with your mission.
  4. Break up the crisis into phases to prevent being overwhelmed. For example, the Chamber of Commerce phased their work into Emergency Triage, Mitigate the Impact through Advocacy and Education.
  5. Super-serve your stakeholders. To help businesses of all sizes navigate uncertainty, the US Chamber has launched several support initiatives.  To learn more about these valuable events, check out  the Chamber of Commerce website for weekly events.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Marketing Effectively in Crisis

Thank you for joining us for our first Noetic webinar event – Marketing Effectively in Crisis.

Friends and Colleagues,

As we navigate these uncharted waters with new challenges every day, how do we ensure that we market our company/brands in the most effective way possible? You may know you need to adjust your marketing for this new environment but are not sure how to do so. Or perhaps you have adjusted and feel you must adjust again. How can you be best prepared?

Noetic offered a free webinar to address these challenges including:

· How can we promote our services, without seem self-serving or “tone deaf”?

· Our customers’ needs have changed; how do we best serve them today?

· We have had to pivot our offering; how should we promote this to current or future customers?

· Should we be investing in marketing at all right now, given financial difficulties, or save this investment until after the crisis passes?

Thanks to those who were able to attend our first live webinar. If you were unable to attend or you’d like more information on our toolkit or our approach to marketing during crisis please reach out to Noetic Consultants at


Noetic is excited to a share new Q&A series discussing what senior leaders and colleagues are doing to extend their brand and share advice with other marketers within their industry and beyond. Today’s episode features Jan Slater CMO from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign Gies College of Business.  

  1. Be intentional about your efforts. Think about your audiences and how to best communicate with them to share helpful information without bombarding them.
  2. Now more than ever it is important to stay true to your brand. Your brand is how people know you. During crisis people turn to brands that are familiar.
  3. Communicate thoughtfully.  Focus on what’s coming and the positive things that are going to happen, rather than what has already played out. Move fast but be thoughtful.
  4. Start with your internal audiences.  Translate content into meaningful communication meant for your own staff and community.   Put information in smaller chunks and into consistent channels making it easily accessible for those who need it.
  5. Do not hunker down and go radio silent, but also don’t go to the other extreme trying to do everything with little impact. Prioritize your actions based on your brand identity.
  6. Focus on the future rather than past decisions and regret. Rather than focusing on what you could have or should have done, focus on what you’re going to do. Ensure your human and financial resources are in the right spaces getting ready for the other side of this.   By focusing on the past, you will miss the opportunities in front of you.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

How to ensure your brand has purpose in crisis

Marketing one’s business in a typical business environment is a practice that is expected, commonly accepted, and even welcomed – when the messaging is relevant.  When a brand’s message feels too aggressive or self-serving, consumers usually vote with their feet (and their wallets) by not giving these businesses their time or money. Only when a brand is blatantly inappropriate or inauthentic will it be called out or shunned by consumers. Most brands know these “rules” and abide by them.

Not so in a crisis – and certainly not so in a global pandemic with foundational health AND economic challenges unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed. Suddenly, brands are seen as tone deaf if they are not entirely retooling how they do business – both internally (especially if they have workers who physically convene) and externally (what and how they message in the market.) What is a brand to do?

Adjust all efforts, but do not change who you are. Staying authentic to one’s brand promise is crucial during times of crisis. Actively living and breathing the organization’s mission, vision and values are key to keeping that brand promise. These elements act as a “North Star” for leaders and employees, especially during crisis. These elements, if authentically operationalized, bring organizations together and provide the guidance for the decisions that need to be made, and for the emotional support employees and customers need.

A great example of a brand and business that has done just this is WTOP. WTOP News is a leading 24/7/365 all-news outlet in the Washington, D.C. area. An all-news brand since 1969, WTOP is a mainstay that people in the region have grown up with and there is truly a brand heritage and affinity with the “locals.” My firm Noetic has had the distinct pleasure of working with WTOP, and we are truly impressed with their proactive leadership and culture.

When Covid-19 became critical in the DC area, WTOP’s leadership, like many other companies, were faced with questions they had never dealt with before – how do we keep our employees safe, how do we operate effectively when the world, and news, is changing by the minute, and how do we message about our brand in an appropriate and welcome way during a COVID environment?

Joel Oxley and Julia Ziegler put safety as the top priority. Employees moved to home offices – with only 10% staff working in the building, at safe distance, at any given time. As one of the only businesses deemed essential in their office building, WTOP worked tirelessly to reorganize operations and comply with safety requirements. They deliver updated news around the clock, with this skeletal staff in-office and all other team members working from their home studios, many reporting live from their homes.

WTOP’s brand promise is to “never miss a moment.” This promise has been taken very seriously over the years and is evermore true in this crisis. They have gone further to extend this brand promise during the crisis by supporting their advertisers and local businesses with Community Callouts. These callouts allow businesses in the region to deliver complimentary messages on what they’re doing and how they can help. Twice per day, they are also running a Frontline Heroes campaign recognizing essential employees and emergency responders nominated by the community for their efforts during the crisis.

A company’s vision, mission, and values act not only as a guide for decision-making, but they also provide strength, support and cohesiveness for a brand and the employees who represent it. As your brands finds its way in these rough waters, remember WTOP as a shining example of how to adjust and extend how you work, while staying true to who you are and have always been. 

Help First

At Noetic, everything we do for our clients and colleagues is through a “help first” lens. Whether it’s helping you to recalibrate your mission to meet your long-term goals or helping you think through and devise practical next steps executing against your brand strategy, Noetic practices help first moments daily. And we always keep our partners top of mind.

To that end, we’d love to offer you a 60-minute consultation session on us. Now, more than ever, Noetic is here for you with a simple message – how can we help you?