The World is going through one of the worst pandemics experienced and we just can’t ignore the elephant in the room. 2 months ago, the streets were bustling with people but today the world is a very different place, with cities and entire countries on lockdown and people facing a situation similar to ‘house arrest’. During the times of such a global crisis, your brand may get impacted despite the best marketing and communication strategies.
However, there’s no time to waste on worry. If your brand is facing a crisis, it’s time to adapt and to prevent further damage.
Implement your Crisis Management Plan
Brands generally do have a contingency plan for dire situations. But this global pandemic has caused even the most prepared global companies to go into panic mode. In case, you don’t have a plan or if your plan doesn’t account for the current situation, there’s still time to make amends.
Establish a Team for Crisis Communication
Before you establish the rest of the strategy, identifying a core team is essential as your employees will be somewhat disconnected when working from home. This team will need to be in contact with everyone, determine who your internal and external stakeholders are and put a chain of order in place. In this crisis situation you’ll need a clear head to voice the final decisions.
Set Communication Guidelines
Once the team is in place, everybody needs to be on the same page. Discuss and release a broad guideline for communication. This manages the flow of information to employees and external stakeholders. The guideline could answer some key questions:
- Does the brand need to publish an official statement?
- What message does the brand want to send out to clients/prospects now?
- Will there be further updates and when?
- Who should respond when issues crop up? Create a chain of command and a hierarchy for escalations.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Depending on the nature of your business and the exact nature of the internal/external crisis being faced, you will need to come with your own plan in response to a given crisis.
Keep Calm and Reconsider Ongoing Projects
The situation is pretty bad and the World is in a state of panic – True. You don’t have to come under more stress, in an already difficult situation. So take a deep breath before you cancel everything. You now have a crisis communication strategy in place. What about your marketing communication strategy? No need to panic because most of it happens online. What’s more, when things go back to normal (which they will very soon) you will still have a business to run.
So, it’s going to be business as usual.
Go through your work pipeline to find all the marketing activities which could still be carried on. We are talking about activities like:
- Digital content and blogs
- Email campaigns
- Social media marketing
- Online advertising
- Collaborative promotions etc.
However, at this time it is essential for you to not sound insensitive. Look at each element without losing focus on the crisis and consider the following:
- Is this contravening the communication guidelines?
- Could it further inflame the crisis situation? Or, leave you red-faced?
- Does it sound inconsiderate in the face of this crisis?
- Does it help to resolve the crisis?
For instance, at this time when travel is being dissuaded, promoting travel packages could sound foolish.
Keep Monitoring and Analyzing
Lastly, it is crucial that you be vigilant at this time. Use the data you have with you to understand the changes happening around you. Monitor your social media and industry news to track the changing trends. Trends are changing every second now and hence it is important for you to not miss out on them so that you can make informed decisions, now and in the future.
Remember, at the end of it all your business will still go on. It is necessary for you to remember and also remind your stakeholders that there’s no need to panic. When you start panicking, things can only go from bad to worse. We need a sense of solidarity at this time, as the entire world is fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our wishes go out to each and every one of us, as we battle through these tough times.