How should brands and companies communicate with consumers during the pandemic?

Man planning his crisis communication strategy

In light of recent global health news, there are many things to consider in order to ensure that your business is well prepared and fully equipped to communicate your brand’s messages.

Before jumping and doing a media interview or proactively seeking coverage about your company, look before you leap.

But first – have you done your homework?

In these unprecedented, extraordinary times, we function in a ‘new reality’ so the task at hand entails further reflection. Before communicating announcements – big or small – thoughtfully map out the details.

  • Ask yourself, is this the right timing to announce or launch a product or a service? Keep your eyes and ears peeled on news to avoid that your announcement coincides with any unfortunate events or is eclipsed by the noise in the background.
  • What’s in it for my target audience? Can I solve an issue or fulfil a need that they currently have? 
  • When you plan your key messages or storytelling, have you taken into account the current health crisis and business environment?
  • Be prepared to address any sensitive questions related to current, planned and potential layoffs as employment is a huge concern.
  • Avoid taking advantage of the situation. Coming off as opportunistic or tone deaf is a huge no-no.

If your PR/Marketing plan calls for the use of a spokesperson, who should do the interview?

Selecting an effective spokesperson to represent your business for a given media interview means identifying a great communicator, in other words, someone who possesses these qualities:

  • credible and knowledgeable about your brand’s and your industry 
  • articulate and able to capture the media’s attention
  • enthusiastic and a good fit with your brand
  • able to simplify your industry jargon into simpler language

What about your social media presence during the crisis?

News and information consumption, as we know, is evolving from traditional media such as print newspapers to online sources including social media. And not all communication is done via interviews. Many businesses own and run their own social media channels.

With social distancing measures having us all craving human interactions, consumers expect real time reactions and updates from brands on digital platforms. There is an increasing desire for empathy, so keep that in mind when engaging with your online audience. Be relevant, transparent and honest.

What about “the after-crisis?”

No one knows for sure what’s in store for us and how much longer this period will last, but one thing is for sure, this crisis will change many things including how consumers behave and what they expect from brands. The vast majority of consumers will remember how companies behaved during this period. Those who did the right thing with their employees, their customers and their local communities will have a definite commercial advantage over their competitors in the future. The time to rethink what kind of image you want your business to project is now.

What do you expect of the brands you spend your money on?  What fundamental values do you look for in the companies behind your favourite products and services? Are they willing to make a change for the better? Communicating the voice of your business means taking all of this into account. And those who strive to be authentic and to care about these types of matters will benefit the most.

If you’re looking at how to navigate the current health crisis or need some strategies to prepare for the next phase, our team of communications professionals is ready to share our insights and expertise. We can be reached at contact@capital-image.com.

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