Be prepared and know when to transition from Crisis Response to Crisis Recovery to protect your brand reputation.
News last week of another lockdown has been hard hitting for everyone, not least for the 2.9M of us that have been excluded from support thus far this year. With no signs of the virus abating, and as we head into winter, we can all push through this second lockdown using the knowledge and experience we gained from the first. Evaluating how businesses have dealt with the global pandemic to date has shone a light on the importance communication has had and its defining role within business.
Francis Ingham, the Director General of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) highlights this best: “When all that organisations and businesses used to consider normal and vital has been rendered impossible, the only thing that remains is our ability to communicate.”
Now more than ever, PR and communications is showing how instrumental it is to organisations of all shapes and sizes.
A recently published report from the Government Communications Service (GCS) on the impact Covid-19 has had on the Communications industry highlights the lessons learnt through communication trends and what marketing and communication skills are required going forward. From a business perspective, these findings can be applied to your organisation whether you have an in-house communications team, consult with a third party expert, or you’re a multi-tasking guru that does it all yourself.
At the very least, the COVID-19 crisis has forced businesses to bring communication to the forefront of their strategy for survival. Communication has been a critical priority for all organisations throughout the crisis and as such should continue to be valued by leadership in the same regard in the future too.
With lockdown comes remote working, and the first lockdown saw businesses scrambling to set their employees and service offerings to operate remotely. This shift to a virtual workspace brought with it a heavy reliance on virtual connections and communication. From video calls to online spaces for teams to collaborate together, we have seen a huge change in corporate culture, workflows and how the modern business operates.
The one thing a crisis can teach you, is that having a team of individuals that represents the different departments within an organisation providing a mix of skills and knowledge is an absolute must. A Crisis Management Team has a definitive purpose before, during and after a crisis has happened. And whilst it may feel like these teams are only necessary during a crisis, in the wake of this global pandemic, continued training and education on handling a crisis is an absolute necessity for every type of organisation, no matter its size.
With the limit of face-to-face contact, individuals and organisations turned to the internet for information, entertainment and to maintain connections. As Francis Ingham quite rightly stated, the only thing that remains during a lockdown is our ability to communicate. The first lockdown brought with it opportunities to start, improve and build upon your digital communication channels. By adopting new technologies, understanding your audience and planning content for your digital channels, you can build on your reputation and increase brand awareness during this time.
Finally, our community spirit and society has grown through this pandemic – whilst each of us has different obstacles to tackle, we are all in this together. A lockdown during winter will definitely be harder for us to navigate on both and business and personal level. We were lucky to have beautiful weather during the first, although this time round we do have a better idea of what to expect and how to handle the current restrictions. We all need to stay positive and remember – you can’t fail if you never give up.
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