Verizon Looks Back at 6 Months of Communication Through Crisis

Bringing Covid-based messaging and brand safety to the masses

Verizon logo
Verizon focused on keeping connections strong in the last six months. Getty Images
Headshot of Ko Im

In the last six months, Verizon has done a lot: gaming on Tuesdays, music on Thursdays, a new initiative called Citizen Verizon and a 5G documentary—all in the time of forced change. In a recent Adweek webinar, John Nitti, svp and chief media officer of Verizon, recalls four things Verizon accomplished over the last several months, and the work it took to get there. Nitti also touches on how business leaders can put these lessons into their own daily practices.

Good news in advertising

Nitti remembers that people want good news, especially in these limited times.

“For us, as a brand, what we stand for is trust and innovation,” he said. “We were one of the firsts out there for Covid-based messaging: Our stores are closed but here’s how we can help you stay connected.”

Brand safety

Brand safety has been reframed and in a bigger way at Verizon. “Brand safety is at our core of what we do around privacy and security as well,” Nitti said. “We’re [still paused] on Facebook today. We’re taking a different look and more broad look. If you think about content, you can’t hold digital to one standard and not hold other platforms to the same standard.”

Working from home

“First, we’re all in crisis,” Nitti said. “Inherently we tend to see people more in remote, even though it’s video. You spend more time on video. Communication is more constant; that’s a positive outcome. The agility to move quickly is a silver lining.”

But there are definitely struggles, Nitti admitted, especially when the days all seem to run together now. “Your day used to be different with commute, with meetings, entertainment aspect—it was more diversified,” he said. “It’s much more the same now: wash, rinse, repeat. That’s a hard thing to manage. How do you keep that engagement?”

Showing, not telling, 5G

Verizon is continuing to show the next level of connectivity with 5G. In Nitti’s words: “When we talk about a partnership, we don’t need brand recognition. It’s more about demonstration, ‘What is 5G enabling and how do you help the customer see?’ We look at a partnership and what this is going to demonstrate. It requires a lot of education and that comes into partnerships and how we can demonstrate it.”

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@koimtv Ko Im is the community editor at Adweek and co-host of Adweek's podcast Yeah, That's Probably an Ad.