The way things currently are it’s safe to say we’re all feeling unsettled, as the response to the global spread of COVID-19 has implications beyond imagination: Individuals, families, businesses of all sizes, and every industry sector are feeling the impact. Our friends, communikate et al are experts in the marketing and communications field and have put together this article to help you and your business navigate through this unpredictable time.
While in some instances we’re quite powerless, from a business perspective we still have initiatives we can put in place to give us the best chance of coming out on the other side.
One of the most important things is to keep those that matter most to your business – clients, customers, suppliers and staff – close and informed. Your business depends on them, so it’s important to keep the conversation with them alive along the way so they understand what you’re doing to keep going. If you don’t, they are likely to fill the void, and given the current mood, fear the worst.
First, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are your stakeholders and what are they most concerned about?
- This could be your staff, clients, customers, suppliers, bank, board, industry body, media, your local community, government and possibly more.
- Are they worried about their health? Contracts? Service continuity? Delivery delays? Product availability? Your ability to pay?
- How can you communicate with them frequently to address those concerns and to establish yourself as a trustworthy business in these uncertain times?
- Tailor your communications to the different groups, so it relates directly to their concerns and ensure its always accurate.
- Identify the best form of communication –phone calls, emails, EDM, dedicated web page, conference calls via Skype or Zoom, social media, video, SMS or face to face (if still acceptable).
- Be accessible
- Create ways they can talk to you quickly and easily – hotline number, chat room or dedicated email address.
- Tone of voice
- In your material be sensitive to their heightened emotions and that they are less receptive to being ‘sold to’ at these times. Instead, be open and transparent, caring, confident, consistently accurate and patient!
Other tools that are also important to consider:
- Issues management plan: What issues can you foresee, and how do you plan to manage them as proactively as possible?
- Crisis response plan: If a crisis hits, how do you respond, who do you need to engage with first, who speaks on behalf of your business and what are the key points you need people to understand?
- Staff communications plan: How do you engage with staff to keep morale up, share updates and offer support?
- Media plan: What happens if a journalist takes an interest in your business
Considering these areas as part of your COVID-19 operational plan to help manage the risks you face will give you a foundation for success in the short and longer term.
If you need help, we can assist through our partner communikate et al. Contact us for further details.