Communicating during the coronavirus crisis
Sending the right messages to the right people
When a crisis like coronavirus lands, the first responses that you made are likely to have been direct reactions to the immediate situation. Businesses all over the world have been telling their customers they cannot provide a normal service or have been reassuring them that a service is still possible but in a modified way.
The best messages we have all seen were direct, factual and informative. It is no time for spin or marketing flannel. And neither have a place in any communications during a crisis. In our earlier blogs, we talked about how to respond when a crisis strikes.
But what next? How do you continue to communicate during the coronavirus crisis?
‘A new normal’
The longer a crisis goes on, the more important it becomes to change what you are saying and begin to look at the long-term interests of your business and your customers.
In our last blog, we mentioned that after a while crisis communication begins to become ‘normalised’. That is not to say you should lose sight of the special circumstances which made it a crisis in the first place. But it does mean you can begin to refocus on life beyond the crisis. The best way to reassure people you will still be in business in future is to talk about your future. So, it is time to look ahead, not backwards.
Here are a few key actions to take:
Have a purpose, a plan AND a destination
In other words, it is time to look to draw up a campaign which gives you an opportunity to take all your different audiences forward with you: guide them to where you want them to be when the end of the crisis finally comes.
Look at the fundamentals of your business
What are the most important things to say to customers, investors, suppliers and employees? Develop the messages which best express where you want the business to be after the crisis ends.
Shape what you say
Develop the messages appropriate to each of your stakeholders and audiences. They are all different. Address their interests and convey clearly what your business is doing now and what it will be doing after the crisis.
At times of crisis, messages need to be informative, reliable and without spin. Be frank and honest, empathise with the audiences you are reaching out to. Clarity will be respected and provide reassurance which builds trust and understanding. This is the foundation of the kind of relationship which will help you on the recovery side of the crisis.
Talk don’t shout
Get the tone of your messages right by avoiding boasts and brags. Talk and explain, don’t SHOUT! Draw people in, don’t push them away with unrealistic statements. You will not be believed.
Want to know more?
This is the third in our series of blogs to help businesses deal with their communication requirements when a crisis happens. With the coronavirus pandemic, we are all in the middle of a global crisis, but small crises happen too. Being prepared makes it so much easier to respond.
If you’d like to read the earlier blogs, this is our short guide to creating a Crisis Communication plan and then our tips on implementing the plan and getting your crisis communications right.
Also, we’ll be sharing Crisis Communication Planning tips for social enterprises at an OxLEP Business webinar later this month and this is the link to book your place. Maybe see you there?
As always, if you’d like to have a virtual cuppa and a chat, then do get in touch.
Stay safe. Stay well.