There is no doubt the coronavirus is going to have an enormous long term impact across every aspect of our lives and businesses. We may all currently feel like a fish out of water and not quite sure what to do but if you are still in the lucky position of having a business that is able to operate then I hope the points below on how to communicate during this crisis may help you.
My thoughts at this time are, of course like everyone else’s, with those who are suffering and the front-line staff who are working tirelessly to help them. However I am also keenly aware as a marketeer that business owners are struggling and need help to survive. This isn’t about making profit, this is about trying to keep hold of staff, pay your mortgage and bills and just make it out the other side with a business still intact. For those companies that are still open and able to operate but are unsure how to position themselves and communicate at the moment I recommend trying to keep to these simple points:
- Be true to your brand and your existing tone of voice.
- Be authentic.
- Don’t shoehorn messaging about the virus into your communications if it is not relevant.
- Adapt your positioning and content if you need to. The benefit of owning a smaller business is the ability to be nimble and flexible. Think about what you may need to change but ensure you are not just jumping on the bandwagon.
- Be positive – don’t talk about yourself and how your business is suffering no one wants to hear this. We all need and want positive news right now.
- Be empathetic and caring. Focus on communicating about the wellbeing of others and how you are helping them. Talk about your staff, suppliers and stockists or any support and volunteering you may be offering or how you are adapting your business to online to help others. Note that this must all be genuine.
- Focus on how you can help your customers and as always be benefit led.
- Do not launch new products, campaigns or shout about anything new at the moment unless it is very relevant and beneficial to the current situation.
- Sell softly, don’t be brash be aware and compassionate about the situation.
- Be seen – it is important to keep your profile and brand awareness up to ensure when you do come out the other side you can pick up again as swiftly and easily as possible.
If any businesses want to discuss their comms approach, I am more than happy to jump on a call and help. We are all in this together and it is an extremely difficult and challenging time but we will get through this. We are stronger together.