The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly disrupting our daily lives and it is still difficult to determine the impact it’ll have. The current crisis may also affect your organization’s reputation and force you to rethink the way you communicate with your stakeholders.
Organisations are facing unprecedented challenges: are we going to get through this all? Will we face a severe cash shortage? What to do if staff becomes ill, how then to divide the work? How do we ensure our future resilience?
Some sectors have little to worry about: delivery companies are growing, Netflix subscription and book sales are increasing, and local bakeries are booming. Unfortunately, others are experiencing a considerable decrease in their activities; such as tourism and leisure, catering industry and so forth.
In any case, today’s turmoil affects us all. But the challenges are different for everyone. Some will have no choice but to resort to all kinds of government assistance to keep their heads above water while others will have to rapidly increase their productivity. In all cases, each organization has to act accordingly and has to make important decisions. There’s a strong need for clear communication: to employees, target audience(s), their partners or shareholders,… This is important in order to maintain trust and keep the reputation under control.
Here are 5 tips for clear, consistent and transparent communication in these times of an unprecedented crisis:
Take the lead and show there’s a strong sense of responsibility – both externally and internally. You will need people’s motivation, confidence and skills. Being transparent in your expectations and actions will allow you to maintain dialogue with your employees and reassure them – even from afar. Additionally, it will create an even stronger sense of solidarity within your organisation.
Meet the expectations of your stakeholders
Be aware of the uncertainties, fears and needs of your stakeholders. Think about your employees, customers, suppliers, partners,… Their needs may conflict with each other; it is important to make accurate analyses in order to develop a tailor-made approach.
Get ready and prepare for everything
Imagine all possible scenarios, especially the ones that are specific to your organization. Be prepared to make statements, respond to interview requests, or to provide accountability. Determine the indicators that will trigger the phases of the different scenarios. For example, when it becomes necessary to move from reactive to proactive communication. Because of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus and the changing government responses and measures, you need to be able to adjust your strategy just as quickly. Good preparation and anticipation is crucial.
The situation changes from day-to-day, sometimes even faster. This is why it is essential to continuously adapt your communication strategy. Be prepared to make quick decisions, communicate them clearly and without delay. Inconsistent, rushed, delayed, inaccurate and contradictory information is to be avoided in a context of widespread concern.
Do not hesitate to ask for help
Maintaining control over your communication or your reputation may be slipping away from you. Needing help is not a sign of inadequacy or weakness. Insticom’s team of experienced and well-trained consultants is ready to support you remotely in your communication – crisis or not – by giving you strategic advice and implementing it. During the Coronavirus crisis, we offer a free online consultation to assess your needs and provide you with tailor-made advice.