Communicating Through COVID-19 06/26/20 | Companies spend an exorbitant amount of time and money crafting the perfect brand. From color palettes and logos to messaging and taglines, your brand becomes a part of who you are. After putting in all the effort to solidify your brand, what’s next? Maintaining it. From brand voice and style to which images you choose to post on social media, it all ties back to your brand identity. So, when it comes to representing a brand in the midst of a crisis, why do so many companies fail to maintain that brand they worked so hard to achieve? A clear understanding of the importance of crisis management tactics and the means to effectively communicate them are critical when responding to a crisis –– no matter the nature of the event. It’s especially important to be aware of communication methods as we learn how to react throughout COVID and how it has impacted our society, businesses and consumers. When forming (or altering) your communication plan in the midst of COVID, here are some key points to consider: Perspectives have altered Your original audience may be the same set of people, but their circumstances have changed. With shifted priorities, both consumers and businesses may not respond to the same content you published before the pandemic. Keep in mind when crafting messaging that it’s highly likely their mindset is not the same as it was prior to COVID. Original brand messaging may not cut it When writing content for social media, websites, email campaigns, etc. it’s important to shift perspective. Thoughtful storytelling is the best way to create messaging sensitive to the global pandemic while communicating the efforts your company is implementing to actively protect customers, employees and continue normal business operations as much as possible. Relevancy and timeliness are a must You wouldn’t wait until your house was on fire to establish an escape route, right? So why do many companies fall unprepared when it comes to crisis communication? When responding to events or crises, it’s important to get a jump on establishing an approved message and publishing it as soon as possible. Nothing communicates a lack of importance or urgency to customers more than no message at all. Show you’re staying up-to-date with current events by identifying problems your customers may face and how you can provide a solution. Emphasize Internal Communication It’s just as important to communicate internally as it is externally. Your employees are branches of your brand, and can leave a more impactful and lasting impression on customers than your official messaging. Keeping employees in-the-loop with action plans and response efforts communicates your commitment to your team. Get the message across all communication outlets Different people choose different forms of communication. There’s no way to pick and choose which one method of communication you should use. It’s critical to communicate a solidified message in response to the crises, including your company’s stance and plan moving forward to all social media channels, on your website, via email and even by sending an official press release to local media outlets. Crisis communication should not fall to the bottom of your priority list –– ever. Maintain your established brand and work hard to continue building your company through effective communication. There’s no way to avoid all the storms your business will face, but when they hit, you can be prepared.