Effective communication and messaging from city leaders is paramount in the pandemic.
As coronavirus wreaked havoc on New York City, people turned to city officials and members of the community for direction and guidance.
Even simple messaging like addressing the city with “we” and “us” rather than “you” and “them” provided a sense of unity and support.
Early on in the pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings became something New Yorkers could rely on, a top public relations expert told NY1.
“One of the things that was most effective things about the governor’s briefings was that it was a source of information that people felt they could get, it was every single day,” said Matthew Hiltzik, president and CEO of public relations firm Hiltzik Strategies.
But a disconnect between the mayor and governor had a less positive effect as struggling New Yorkers were put in the crossfire of mixed messaging among leaders who never seemed to see eye-to-eye.
“It leads to a lot of burnout and exhaustion,” Hiltzik said.
While not a solution to anything tangible, messaging helps support morale in times of crisis, and plays a role in how the city gets back on its feet.
Daunting headlines and perceptions that “New York City is dead” don’t help the cause, but leaders and community members coming together make all the difference, Hiltzik said.
“When you’re looking at neighborhoods and people who are trying to be there for each other as they’re going through the really hard times that many people are facing...there’s a lot of ways that people have stepped up, whether it be through their houses of worship, or whether it be nonprofits, or whether it just be neighborhood associations or people coming together,” Hiltzik said.
He said he has faith that New Yorkers and an influx of new residents will breathe life back into the city.
“I think that those of us who were here throughout the really hard months—it’s an experience we’re not going to forget. It’s going to be things that make us appreciate even more what makes the city so vibrant,” Hiltzik said.
“Because a lot of people have left, it is going to reduce the barrier to entry, it is going to make more rental housing available at lower costs, we are going to hopefully have a chance to have an influx of people from different places and with different backgrounds and different ideas. I think the enthusiasm is something that’s going to be back,” he continued.
Hiltzik was a guest on “One New York" Thursday morning.