Communications in a time of crisis. Provide communications, transparency and consistency.
Over the last several weeks, consumers have grown increasingly panicked about COVID-19, depleting goods like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Schools are closed, offices are urging employees to work from home and small businesses that rely on foot traffic are seeing their in-store sales take a hit.
Communicating can take many forms and has different definitions for many companies. We’re here to help you create a path in providing proper communications in times of crisis. I will give you a few important steps to assist in your current crisis communication planning and management. Always remember, during a crisis, like what we are facing today with Covid-19, things are fast moving. You and your team needs to be effective, fast and simple.
Communications in a time of crisis: Transparency
- Be consistent: Either has a weekly meeting, email or video where you provide consistent updates.
- State the facts: Don’t go overboard; provide simply state the facts. This will lessen the viral effect.
- Be truthful: You don’t know everything, and that’s okay.
- Set-up a two-way communications team: While you’re trying to push your message out, you’ll also want to receive messages from your employees and stakeholders. Gathering feedback is an excellent way to prevent a crisis. That’s because it provides insight into how customers are feeling about your business. This allows you to spot major roadblocks before they escalate into a crisis. It allows customers to share negative criticism that you can use to improve other customers’ experiences.
Communications in a time of crisis: Consistency
This section includes a basic guideline to support and facilitate your communication process. Consider creating all or whichever are most applicable to your business at this time.
- First steps checklist (To get key players on your company on board and moving forward at the same time.)
- Media policy (Who speaks to the media and key messages need to be promoted)
- Social media policy
- Media call log (Logs communication received from the media)
- Internal and external communication checklists
- Company Fact Sheet
- Profiles and biographies for each key administrator
- High-res images of company logos and photos
- Press Release Template
- Company Boiler Plate
- Company’s continuity recovery plan
- Contact information for employees, crisis communication team members, as well as legal or public relations representation
Note! During a crisis, communicating more rather than less is always better. Be out front. Talk to your community & employees. They’ll appreciate it!
Ongoing Dialogue & Communications Now
Communication is the cornerstone of any organization’s success. It’s even more important in times of crisis and pandemic.
Handling media is necessary when it comes to crisis management, especially since news and gossip will thrive everywhere, especially on social media. But most of the time, your employees and stakeholders look to your leadership for direction and consistency. Employees, general public and stakeholders will get worried and may spread misinformation outside the company without knowing it.
Has a clear crisis communication plan in place. Make sure to include social media content to help reinforce your company’s brand image and reputation during these bad times.
Crisis Communications Plan
- Share clear communication guidance when it comes to communicating outside the company.
- Prepare all communications materials, from the list provided at the top of this post.
- Give your employees a role in your crisis communications plan. They’ll help move your message forward.
- Set up a specific crisis communication team for media, staff and stakeholders to ask questions and who to contact.
- Get ahead of the story, don’t wait to believe the crisis will die down. Start communications as soon as possible.
- More leadership and less stress during this time. The last thing you want is to have your employees and media not believing in your plan and going off and making things worse.
Protecting Your Brand During Covid-19
- Protect Your Employees Your employees matter and they are the front line of your brand’s reputation. Keep them safe and healthy and your reputation will follow.
- Proactively Communicate with Your Customers, Employee and Suppliers As mentioned above, it’s about reassuring your community that you are following all the proper steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Try to make them feel that everything is going to be alright, your brand is there for the long-haul.
If you need help with your Crisis Communications Plan, set up an Internal communications program or work alongside your human resources team, give us a call!