Where Do We Go From Here? Communication at a Time of Crisis
As Coronavirus disrupts businesses across the UK, look at how effective communication now can help SMEs safeguard future operations and business reputation.
As the UK’s COVID-19 response has escalated, businesses have had a crash course in crisis communications. Now that many companies have interim plans in place for how they will operate in the short term, it’s time to consider how communications can protect the relationships that matter and create a position from which future growth can come when circumstances change.
- For many business leaders, communication so far has focused on sharing operational changes and outlining functional needs. Now it’s time to get strategic.
- Start with scenario planning: we don’t know what the coming weeks and months will bring, but investing time now to anticipate possible scenarios and consider business and communications implications will save time and the need for hasty reactions later. As we move through this crisis, you’ll be ahead of the game in how you communicate with the people that will keep your business moving forward.
- Every operational decision has a communications implication. Assign responsibility for communications to a senior member of staff who can ensure your messages reach the right people and are consistent. Keep an eye on the comms outputs of your competitors: Learn from the communications that impress you and improve on anything that doesn’t feel right. A good mantra is CARE: show concern, outline actions, reassure stakeholders and engage with your communities.
- Take time to really think about your stakeholders: have you overlooked anyone? Who are your best advocates and what are they saying about your response to this crisis? Now is a good time to move from broadcasting to listening and responding – your staff, customers and suppliers will thank you for it.
- Above all, ensure your sensitivity filter is operating at full speed. At times like this, people make quick judgments and it’s easy to use social media to name and shame companies that aren’t getting it right. A critical friend is essential: your business adviser can give an objective view of your communications.
And finally, deliver bad news with honesty and integrity. It’s okay to share good news too: everyone needs more of that right now.
Whether it’s a single project or integrated campaign, ibd has PR advisers, planners and designers experienced in creating successful PR tailored to suit most budgets. We can formulate the strategy, advise on media planning and buying, design and implement compelling messages, and ensure maximum value for money. Our advisers are also experienced in creating campaigns globally and across the B2B and B2C sectors, To contact our PR specialist click here or call us on 01223 587845
This page is kindly written by ibd business adviser, PR and Communications specialist Siobhán Lavelle Click here to view her profile