Because we media train so many clients across the private, public and third sectors, we know that communications people are immersed in coronavirus planning and communication. We thought we would share what we hear they are prioritising:
Being an internal advocate of the primary importance being the wellbeing of employees and their families. As in any crisis, always consider it from the outside in and communicate messages which reflect the interests and concerns of your stakeholders (in priority order, these are: People, Environment, Property and only then Finance)
Ensuring effective employee engagement through frequent and transparent internal communications. You want your organisation to be a credible source of information that your employees can rely on – especially when the internet is rife with false information.
Avoiding panic and keeping focused on their role as reputation managers. Perception matters – so advise on the importance of being seen to be acting responsibly, authentically and swiftly. This is probably not the time to be launching any new products or marketing activity that could be viewed as putting profit before people. It’s tone-deaf at best, reputation damaging at worst.
Keeping messages simple and factual, aligned to core brand values and story.
Preparing to communicate through the C.A.P. process: express Concern (always addressing the human factor); commit to Action (reassuring all stakeholders without speculating or giving hostages-to-fortune); and offer Perspective that reinforces why audiences can rely on you to act effectively. Remember that in any media interview at this time, you could be asked about your organisation’s preparations so plan your response as did clearly the CEO of Greggs (starts at 1:21.50) early on in the crisis.
Looking after their team. Working remotely from home for a long period of time will be difficult. Communications leaders have been coming up with a variety of initiatives to care for team members under a lot of pressure – daily team conference calls to share successes and information, weekly one-to-one calls with each team member, a weekly virtual pub quiz, delivery of chocolates/ fruit and veg boxes/ wine/ meals/ Touchnote thank you cards.
Keep safe and well – and don’t forget to look after you own mental wellbeing.