25 March 2020
Caroline Walker, Director of PR & Content

What do you need to communicate right now?

What do you need to communicate right now?

We are living in extraordinary times. Unprecedented events are unfolding before us and necessary changes being made to the way we live, work and interact.

It is at times like this that brands can secure their legacy and future survival. They will either be revered for their actions and words of kindness or, for those who bury their heads in the sand or respond coldly, may never be forgiven.

But how do organisations find the balance between sincerity and gushing, while remaining on brand? Reacting in the right tone can be tricky, slow to react and inaction is condemned as much as over-reaction and the accusation of profiteering. To help, we’ve compiled a few tips to consider.

Speak to your audience

If you understand the people who you usually communicate with and want to engage, you should understand who they are and what they are likely to be feeling. Empathise with how they feel, how they are most likely to be affected and what they would most like to hear from you. Ignorance is not bliss and it lacks compassion if branded content ignores events that are affecting everyone. Keep it honest and keep it human.

Deeds AND words

The organisations accused of profiteering during this time will talk the talk but, unless they are showing how they are supporting the wider community, the public will quickly see through. The businesses who succeed will be the ones who look after their staff and customers as best as they can; if possible, deploy their services to support the NHS and government to deliver vital food and healthcare; or simply spread joy and helpful resources to the people staying at home. 

Don’t speculate

Unless you are a government official or public health expert, don’t share scientific information or ‘news’ about the spread of the virus or timelines for when things will be back to normal. Fearmongering and disseminating unreliable information is not useful. 

Do share information about your services

Updated opening hours, offers, new delivery options and online ordering capabilities as well as advice to customers on how their service may change is all important information to share. Use your own channels, including social media, website and blogs as well as email newsletters to communicate this information to customers.

Also check that your websites or scheduled communications have been adapted to the current situation. Nothing is worse than following a well-planned emotive post with, “Come in store today to try our next product”.

Appropriate content for the right channel

In the haste of posting heartfelt messages and updated operational information, it can be easy to forget how to use each channel most effectively. Images and snappy copy work best for social media. If you are doing something above and beyond, for example, setting up a neighbourhood support system or building sanitaryware for healthcare workers, or have useful advice on practices such as separating work and domestic life when at home or keeping children occupied while you run a conference call, it could be used for PR too. 

If you are looking on advice on building your brand’s communications during this period of uncertainty, get in touch with Caroline Walker.


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