These are precarious times. When we optimistically entered 2020, no one could have imagined the number of lives lost or ill due to the pandemic. Surely, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has impacted all types of business, whether non-profit, NGOs, small businesses, or Fortune 500 companies. There's a different course of action to take when communicating during a crisis. Here are a few helpful tips:
Show compassion. The hard sell isn't the focus right now. Find ways to communicate your organizational narrative in a way that is not pushy, but sensitive to the current global crisis.
Ensure that what you're communicating, externally, has been vetted internally. Don't make false promises and don't spread false information. In fact, leave the COVID-19 advise to the Federal Government (https://www.coronavirus.gov/) or quote directly from news sources.
Remember that your target audience is in the same boat. They may not be in a situation to currently purchase your products or services, but this is a time to increase awareness. When the economy opens back up, you want to be front-of-mind as a viable solution to a problem they may have experienced.
Tone down your brand. Express your sympathy with toned down colors, messaging, and imagery. For instance, now isn't the time to have a clown present your product. Or, maybe you can present your logo in grayscale to show your respect for those we lost. I took this approach on a recent Instagram post.
One of the services I offer here at Ivey Media Agency is to create a tailored Crisis Communications Plan. It's an endeavor that requires research and strategic planning, but it is well worth it to be prepared in advance of a crisis.
It's better to be prepared for unscheduled events that can impact the success of your business, than to be caught off guard. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Many professionals plan every minute of their busy workdays, down to eating and exercise, but they fail to plan for an emergency. A lack of internal preparedness for a crisis will eventually show externally - and that's the kind of awareness you do not want.