There’s no doubt that living during Coronavirus is a weird time. The entire earth is at a near standstill and regardless of how you’re coping with the disruption, there are practical pieces to consider during it. Personally, I work on my mindset daily and have tried to make it a habit to pause and uncover the lessons from my highs and lows. With that, it’s been a tad bit easier to focus on the positives resulting from this experience. However, I’m 100% human and have had my moments of fear and despair while navigating this new normal.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Gootenberg.
Katie Gootenberg, founder of Digitally Enhanced Marketing, brings nearly a decade of multifaceted marketing and PR experience to her clients. What started as in-house and advising Fortune 500 companies has since evolved into a boutique digital marketing agency. Focusing predominantly on women-owned businesses in the health, wellness and empowerment space, Digitally Enhanced enables lean brands to run integrated marketing programs that achieve real business results.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
The common threads that weaves my story together are customer value and brand authenticity. While my experience is a mosaic of traditional roles, the work I was empowered to create was far from traditional. My career started right as social media was becoming more mainstream and companies were trying to figure out how it played in the marketing-PR sandbox.
While it was an exciting time, it also marked a poignant shift in brand-consumer relationship. A world that was built on one-way dialogue and boasting of a brand’s greatness suddenly and drastically morphed into two-way conversations, real-time information sharing and a refocused effort to cultivate the brand-consumer relationship.
With it came an energized cry from discerning consumers. They wanted authenticity from brands. It was up to marketing and PR to lead the charge. And that’s where my story really begins.
Fast-forwarding through the twists and turns, it became my mission to create authentic and valuable brand experiences grounded in our customers’ needs. I was fortunate to learn the multitude of channels that make up the marketing toolbox, yet regardless of which one(s) I put in play within a strategy the formula remained the same: show up in a customer-focused way to achieve the business’ goals.
Throughout all of this I kept daydreaming of starting my own business, but fear kept getting in the way. It wasn’t until last year  when the stars finally aligned, I was forced out of the nest and built Digitally Enhanced.
Digitally Enhanced is a boutique digital marketing agency that enables small businesses to operate efficient, cross-channel marketing programs that compete against the bigger players and drive real business results.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
A recent favorite was “Atomic Habits” “by James Clear. In both your personal and professional life, it’s easy to zone out and go through the motions. Clear makes the case, and backs it up with data and anecdotes, that with daily, subtle and conscious shifts towards the life you’re trying to build, after one year, you’ll be nearly 38x ‘better’ than when you started.
Starting a business seems insurmountable at times so the idea of “thinking small” made me feel much more in control of my and my business’ destiny.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
There’s no doubt that living during coronavirus is a weird time. The entire earth is at a near standstill and regardless of how you’re coping with the disruption, there are practical pieces to consider during it. Personally, I work on my mindset daily and have tried to make it a habit to pause and uncover the lessons from my highs and lows. With that, it’s been a tad bit easier to focus on the positives resulting from this experience. However, I’m 100% human and have had my moments of fear and despair while navigating this new normal.
Moving from the business to the personal, I’ve found that:
- The disruption of business as usual has enabled ad spend to go further and is incentivizing subcontractors, service providers, etc. to throw in more hours and benefits for continued work
- Both our company and clients feel that we’ve been gifted a reflection time where we can reevaluate and optimize our business (which includes everything from lead generation to customer nurturing to more robust data dives that have uncovered new opportunities)
- For the most part, everyone we’re interacting with feels a little more human; there’s been more understanding, compassion and desire to connect beyond business while we’re physically distanced and unsure of what comes next
- We’re encouraging all of our clients to focus on their mental health during this time and are making time to do the same ourselves, which has been incredibly beneficial
- There’s a collective spirit that knows that we’ll be so much stronger when we come through this
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
One of the most beautiful pieces I’ve seen throughout this is the commitment and resourcefulness that humanity has taken to maintain-and even strengthen-our connection to each other. You see people having FaceTime and Zoom dates, virtual happy hours and game nights coupled with an increase in check-ins from friends and family.
Taking a pause from the question at hand: I encourage everyone reading this to preserve and strengthen these connections made once life gets back to normal.
That said, ways to support those anxious about the state of the world include:
- Check in on your friends and loved ones: The key here is only do so if you’re stable and feeling well enough to be a light for them during this time. It doesn’t benefit anyone to have two anxious people after the call so if you have an inkling that a check-in will drag you down, wait until a better time.
- Find new and fun ways to engage: Thus far I’ve had FaceTime dance parties with my kid cousins, virtual game nights and movie nights. Yes, we’re physically distanced from each other, but anything we can do to stay virtually close keeps us all feeling sane, supported and loved throughout this.
- Send care packages: Whether it’s contributing to a hobby this person already loves or sending things you think they’ll enjoy (think books, puzzles, movies, what have you!), making the effort to send them a care package not only provides them a thoughtful gift; it also reminds them that they have community and support.
- Share meditation and mindfulness tips: As mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of mindfulness. It’s one of the things that keeps me grounded when life feels out of hand. Whether this person is a meditation newbie or a seasoned pro, sharing things like online meditations, journal prompts and sound healings may be exactly what they need to get out of their head and into their body.
- Partake in a virtual workout together: As the wise Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Countless exercise studios and companies are opening their doors and taking to the internet to keep people moving at home so schedule a date, turn on FaceTime and work out together! Rack up those endorphins, honey!
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Similar to the above tips, if you find yourself struggling throughout this, the best things I can recommend are to cultivate your own community and turn inwards.
To cultivate your community:
- Send wellness/sanity check texts
- Schedule virtual dates
- Bring back games like Words with Friends
- Think of creative ways to maintain the activities you love, just from the comfort of your own home
To turn in:
- Find free guided meditations on YouTube and Instagram
- Journal out your anxiety then tear out the page, rip it apart the and release the negative feelings from yourself
- Make your activities around the house more luxurious; pour a glass of wine, slip into your favorite pajamas, light a candle and play your favorite music while doing anything from washing the dishes to reading
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
While independent from coronavirus, one of my favorite mantras to live by is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that goes, “I am a strong believer in luck and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Great ideas are a dime a dozen, but they only work when you put the effort into them. It’s this mentality that keeps me going even when I want to give up.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My intention when creating Digitally Enhanced was to support women-owned businesses in the health and empowerment space. My journey as a business owner would have never begun without the inspiration and encouragement from this group so I continue to seek ways to give back to it.
I’ve seen the economic, social and philanthropic contributions that result when women have the means to build their own businesses. Plus when you look at the emerging data, it proves these downstream benefits.
So with that, I encourage anyone reading this to support your local women-owned and minority-owned businesses whenever possible. Digitally Enhanced clients’ have grand visions that extend beyond “being successful.” They exist to give back, change the world for the better, and help achieve true equity and equality within our world. But they can only do it with your support.
If you believe in these ideals, bring that mindfulness into your consumerism. Our future will be bright when you do.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
You can find me on Instagram @Digitally.Enhanced.Marketing and Facebook at Digitally Enhanced Marketing. Please stop by and say hi, I’d love nothing more! ❤️
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!