We all worry about the unknown, and have done long before COVID-19, so it’s important to remind ourselves to worry about what is happening in reality, rather than what is in our minds. With such a dangerous disease and an unprecedented response from Government to lessen the impact and avert disaster, my mind is in overdrive, but the devastating reality of COVID-19 grows day by day.
One thing is certain, a huge proportion of the worry people have in their minds right now is about how they will continue their business and family life without the revenue or income they had just a couple of weeks ago. What are the ramifications both short and long term – how will they survive?
Businesses need to be conscious that right now, no-one wants to be sold to. People are interested in ensuring they have what they need in order to get through this – life’s essentials, not life’s luxuries. Toilet roll is toilet roll – I don’t care if it’s the brand I’d usually go for, I’m looking for practicality and functionality in everything I’m purchasing.
Even if you’re selling COVID-19 PCR test kits – unless you’re working in support of the NHS, then this is not the time for profiteering and masquerading as a reputable brand in order to do so.
Here are 5 simple considerations intended to help businesses prioritise corporate and internal communications around COVID-19:
- If you haven’t already done so, prepare a list of all of the stakeholders you need to inform about how the business is operating right now and its focus for the coming weeks e.g. staff, customers, suppliers, partners, shareholders, regulators.
- Decide how often you will communicate – What do each of the stakeholder groups expect and what is realistic to write and distribute? Who will be responsible for producing the communication?
- How are you showing staff that you understand their concerns? What specific measures can the business now implement in order to continually reassure staff that it has their interests, health and well-being as top priority?
- Have you planned a series of key scenarios and the potential impact of each on the business, and importantly how the business will operate in each scenario?
- Does everything you have planned, in terms of the business’s reaction to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidance, meet with the company’s values?
And a couple of simple tips to help maintain your brand:
- Forget selling, give your customers a freebie–This could be your professional insight on something, a piece of new research you’ve found inspiring or a new discovery the company has made that could save customers time or money. If you’re unable to deliver the service or goods you usually would, be honest about it and inform customers of the timelines you are working toward. We’re opening our Sciad Newswire to existing clients and for agri-food, health-tech and life science start-ups that we’re supporting to post a piece of news at no chargeand gain exposure to life science and tech trade media.
- Get visual – We’re all being bombarded by news and information right now – it’s heavy, it’s intense, it’s all-consuming and it’s hard to detach yourself from. Instead of pushing out written communication, try boiling down how the company is feeling, operating and planning into a single image or word. Our wonderful client, male fertility diagnostics experts, Examen, sent us an image of boxes of protective face masks. A picture really does tell a thousand words; Examen has given a local hospital treating COVID-19 patients, all of the lab’s stock of surgical and FFP3 masks and aprons usually worn by their own staff - protecting those working hard to protect us.
The restrictions and measures implemented by the Government, to fight COVID-19 are out of your control. How you react has never been more important, for yourself, your family, your staff, your business and your brand.
Stay safe, keep social distancing,