Images have immense power.

We’ve talked about the power of the famous Tiananmen Square photo, where an anonymous protestor stood before military tanks, representing the power we all have as individuals to bring about change:

Tank Man

Over the weekend, this happened:

Healthcare worker blocking protestor

If you live in America, you really don’t need anyone to explain this photo to you. (International readers may need some help.) Shot by Denver photojournalist Alyson McClaran, the image says it all, no matter which side of the political debate you’re on.

The photo itself is a kind of virus. Like a biological virus, it has a long string of information densely packed into a single image. It immediately draws an emotional response, as your mind rapidly unpacks everything that goes along with it: the politics, the frustration, the gridlock.

Like a virus, the photo has quickly spread across the globe: no fewer than five of the top posts on Reddit were photos and videos of the image.

Just like Tank Man, the healthcare protestor in the green scrubs currently remains anonymous. This photo is our generation’s Tiananmen Square.


Going Beyond “Us vs. Them”

Before the CoronaCrisis, “us vs. them” was our default mode of communicating. It was everywhere: left vs. right, black vs. white, men vs. women, rich vs. poor, United States vs. China, and so on, ad nauseum.

“Us vs. Them” doesn’t work any more. This photo shows you why.

Who wins in this photo? No one wins. It is literally gridlock. You can argue for one side or the other, but how does it help? The virus is still here, and meanwhile people are dying.

As a marketing and communications company, we’ve come to recognize our incredible power — and responsibility — in the way we communicate about COVID-19. It’s why we created CoCo.

We saw early on that the CoronaCrisis is working on three levels: physical, economic, and political. All three are interrelated. (And frequently confused.)

It’s why we created memes like this:

Build not blame

Translation: Channel your anger into constructive action.


Anxiety into action

Translation: Let your fear move you forward.


Do a Coco

Translation: Do something to help someone else.


If you’ve wondered why Google is doing the “heart” series on its homepage, it’s because they see it also: we’ve got to get ahead of the communication, and encourage people to work together.

Google heart doodle.

We’ve got to get out of gridlock. We all have the power to help.


How You Can Help

Share this message: First, you can simply pass along this newsletter, or sign up a friend. Or spread the message of helping someone else.

Do a CoCoYou can share resources on our CoCo website. We’re looking for volunteers to shoot videos (5 minutes), or simply copy and paste messages on your Facebook page (30 seconds).

Message together: If you have any kind of platform, whether that’s marketing, social media, or a personal Instagram account, message “togetherness.” It’s the way things are going — and it’s a message needed now more than ever.


5 Business Best Practices During the Coronacrisis:

> Spread the word that we’re in this together. Build bridges.

> Look for ways to collaborate, even with competitors.

> Things may get worse before they get better. Be on the side of better.

> Share this newsletter with someone else, or just spread the ideas.

> Spend 10% of your time helping others.