First and foremost, Coronavirus COVID-19 is a humanitarian crisis. And at this challenging time, we wish everyone a safe and healthy future.
But through our experience working with some of the largest and most globally-spread corporations, we’ve learned first-hand how proactive businesses can quickly manage difficult situations and return to an ‘as-usual environment’ even in the event of major international interruptions.
From our standpoint, a lot of this depends on how organisations devise and effectively put into action what we call Business Continuity Communications.
Our shortlist for action is as follows:
1. Start communicating – and then keep on communicating
Be aware of your audiences both inside your organisation and your key customers and wider stakeholders. Communicate with them clearly as soon as you have genuine strategic corporate announcements that need to be made. However, be careful not to spam or be seen as taking advantage of the moment.
2. Make it a conversation
Be clear about how internal and external audiences can stay up-to-date with your business as situations progress. Reiterate the strategies you have set in place and if possible provide a FAQ central point of information to avoid being bombarded by repeated questions.
3. Be reactive and consistent
In situations like the current COVID-19 outbreak, priorities may change by the day, or even hourly. You must be prepared for these rapid developments, but it is essential your strategic corporate approach remains consistent, and you maintain a positive, yet realistic tone of voice.
4. Make use of reputable information sources
Aligning with institutions such as the World Health Organisation, when there is distrust about information can be hugely beneficial. This will also help you justify why certain decisions are being made. Rational explanation can go a long way to maintaining stakeholders trust and commitment.
5. Provide practical real-world examples
Use real-life examples to make your key points and demonstrate expected behaviours. Internal and external audiences want to know how traumatic and stressful situations are going to impact their life and roles. Whenever possible bring your strategy to life in very human ways.
6. Embrace technology
There is no better time to use technology as a tool for connection and community. Assess your available channels and think outside the box for how you could share your brand’s message in a unique way with the technology that you have available at your fingertips.
Turning theory into practice
We’ve applied these guidelines to many of our clients. Our internal campaign for John Lewis Partnership helped them maintain a consistent, ongoing conversation with their broad staff audience when their pension scheme was changing. Through our information-rich campaign, we created regular channels of communication for John Lewis to manage.
And because infographics can be produced quickly and easily, they’re such a powerful tool for responding promptly. We produced several to answer specific questions from the 100k partners, delivering the campaign in less than a week.
For Deloitte, we helped them react very quickly to new VAT laws in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Tax can be complex, and VAT was a challenging topic for businesses. Using real-world examples such as simple and diverse transactions, we helped their audience understand the necessary changes in a way that made sense to them in their daily life. To do this, we worked closely with experts from Deloitte and the Finance Ministry of the GCC, making sure the information was always correct, clear and succinct.
If you’re looking for a quick, proactive partner to help keep you ahead of the curve, please get in touch.