What Comms Pros Can Learn from Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem and the Vaccine Rollout

Amanda Gorman captivated a global audience last week as she delivered her poem, The Hill We Climb, at the inauguration. And, a new presidential administration is tasked with rebuilding trust as the country aims to mitigate risk associated with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. What lessons can communications learn from the inaugural poem and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?

Gorman, a 22-year-old Harvard grad, became the youngest inaugural poet ever, joining the likes of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Why was her message of national unity while reflecting on the fragile state of the country so impactful? What role did social media play in elevating her message to a global audience? And, what are the key takeaways from her poem that businesses can use to identify and develop effective messaging? 

Then, a New York Times article suggests that “we’re underselling the vaccine.” Why? Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, many health experts — in the U.S. and around the world — decided that the public could not be trusted to hear the truth about masks. Instead, the experts spread a misleading message, discouraging the use of masks. While their motivation was mostly good, the message was still a mistake and it confused people. 

Now a version of the mask story is repeating itself — this time involving the vaccines. Once again, the experts don’t seem to trust the public to hear the full truth. How can communications professionals, healthcare workers and the government collaborate to help rebuild trust and transparency with the public?

Music Credit: Smoke (with Lostboycrow) – Feather

Published by Austin Staton

Austin currently works with the Communications and Advocacy team at bp, is the immediate past president for IABC Houston, and is the founder of two podcasts — The Business Communicators and The Weekly Brew.

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