Today the global Covid 19 pandemic is on everyone’s mind as they try to cope with one issue or the other – lockdown, confinement, health, work…2020 has been quite unforgiving and sever so far and shows no signs of relenting. The pandemic has totally disrupted the way people live, work, and do business. Hence how you work, execute your routine work – both externally and internally as a business & company during these difficult times is extremely vital – both for your own reputation and your work ethos. Everything we have done until now needs to be planned & executed differently because there’s a global health crisis that shows no signs of letting up.
Now, more than ever, because brands are made up of social beings, in everything we must act responsibly and empathetically.
As the country tries to cope with a totally new way of life and we rapidly get closer to the dubious distinction of the global no.1 in the covid stakes, most businesses have imposed strict norms and protocols. We are witness to an unprecedented and trying, difficult time of our lives, the pandemic having given all businesses reason to pause, re-think, reboot, and revive in order to create a more immersive, engaging experience. Then what should be our approach for PR and marketing drives in this ongoing global crisis?
Online is where the action is, right now
This is the era of social media drives and being online. Especially more so than now – everyone is glued to their screens – whether the computer or the smartphone. Moreover, thanks to the prevailing circumstances, people are feeling confused, afraid and alone. Thus if you have a continuous dialogue with your customers, clients, investors, etc…through social media and various online mediums, it will help. Keep them informed about important issues and help them stay positive.
Moreover, since most stakeholders are indoors, consider a new outreach plan to engage both – your customers and consumers through virtual meetings, webinars, quizzes and online workshops.
Be careful with your content & tone
Currently, the biggest concern people have on their minds right now is their health and the immediate future – and it does not look very bright right now. Hence the tone, words, content and words you use in putting out communications – whether for internal or external audiences – will need to be carefully scrutinized and vetted. Neither the format nor the medium matter – the focus must be on empathizing with people and tuning in to their frequency. Ensure positivity, hope and safety that help to start conversations as you create an effective content marketing strategy for your business.
At the end of the day, businesses and brands need to acknowledge the pandemic, the heightened emotions due to it and acknowledge them. Merely kickstarting a conversation about it, sharing and letting it out will build bridges.
Adapt your announcements in tune with the changed norms and behaviours
Audiences and people at large have become quite sensitive and reactive during the pandemic. Hence before you make any announcements, where within or outside the organization, do your research and ask whether people will like it not – how will they all your announcements for the near future and see how they can be adapted, revised and cast as per react? It would be prudent to scrutinize and examine the ongoing crisis situation so that they are congruent with the issues and needs created by the global pandemic.
Understandably, there’s an ongoing sentiment of uncertainty and fear all around – hence people will be naturally more receptive & will gravitate to, brands which demonstrate concern, empathy and an emotional appeal in their communications & actions. Weave every single statement and action – across channels & mediums, with empathy, care and concern – it will be well received.
Share Your Thoughts and Insights
While this is not the ideal time to drive your PR and marketing campaigns as usual, it is an accepted fact that people’s screen-time has shot up. This is the time to occupy their mindshare – by seeding carefully crafted organizational values and messages that resonate – leverage online outreach to grab eyeballs and minds. This can happen either through blogs or an opinion piece on a news website and help the brand to create confidence amongst both internal and external stakeholders. Involvement – by blogs, opinion pieces, webinars, etc…by the company’s leadership can help to advise – both internally & externally – on various issues and build long-term recall for traction.
Author – Swapan Dholakia
Swapan Dholakia is a senior Communications and Trade Advocacy professional. His current interest areas are trade diplomacy and leveraging Communications.