In a long-lived crisis like the one we are currently experiencing, communications need to be adjusted for several reasons. A crisis significantly changes the context in which we find ourselves. That of COVID-19 may create a feeling of health and economic stress, anxiety and even fear among some people. Here is our advice for acting quickly and ensuring that your communication remains appropriate and effective.
What are these best practices to implement at the first sign of a crisis?
Hit the pause buttonAssess whether the very short-term communications planned for social media, for example, still match the context. It is important to take a step back to be able to understand the general mindset of your audience and ask yourself whether these communications will be properly received in terms of content and positively perceived in terms of tone. If you are not fully confident that this is the case, then you should postpone them so as to avoid any risk.
Assess its legitimacy
Consider whether your company can be useful in this crisis. Do you have a product or a service that can be particularly effective in helping people get through this period? Do you have a position statement or useful information you can share? This is the case of BlaBlaCar which is swapping its car sharing app for an app communicating mutual offers of help between neighbours.
Use the right toneIf this is the case, act quickly and well! Communicate about this service transparently and genuinely, without seeking to make it a lucrative commercial initiative for yourself! Adopt a humble and truthful communication style. Your audience will also be attentive to your actions for the community.
Redesign your model
If your product or service, at least on the surface, could be seen as somewhat inappropriate during the crisis, consider whether you should temporarily reorient your activity. There are a growing number of examples of how companies can help ordinary people or carers. Air Liquide has made a commitment to produce 10,000 ventilators with the help of PSA and Valeo, and there are countless numbers of textile firms which are now mass-producing standardised protective masks.
Communicate to your customers about your situation, what you have put in place, whether you are offering a one-off reduction on your prices, a new offer, etc. You must make everything clear to your customers, whether regarding your in-house organisation, the availability of your services, the validity of your special offers, etc. Whatever your situation is (working, partly working, experiencing strong growth), adopt a responsible communication strategy.
Pass on the proper protective measures to take
Contribute to disseminating the messages regarding the health protection measures for your employees and reassure your customers. This will keep your employees safe as well as those of others.Of course, the best way is to pass on the official messages of the government or the WHO. But it is quite feasible to adapt these communication messages by customising their substance, form and tone. You can even introduce a touch of humour thanks to https://washyourlyrics.com/ which you can use to create hand washing infographics, based on a pop song or your favourite song.
Get involved .. and be true to yourself
Take part in the national effort by communicating about the importance of sticking to the lockdown rules. You can do so with a lot of humour like Burger King is doing. In all cases, your message must be consistent with your brand identity.
Show your recognition: thank your employees if they continue to come into work, the care staff, firemen, deliverymen, everyone whose work is vital ... Salute their everyday commitment. To help you, the famous content creation platform Canva makes original models available to enable you to communicate easily.
Plan for the resumptionPrepare for the end of the crisis by communicating as soon as possible the opening date and times, if you are a trader, of full resumption of your business.
It is always risky to attempt to use a tone or an idea that is out of phase with the editorial line you have used up to now. Regardless of the situation in which the business finds itself, the important thing is to maintain communication that is fully consistent with the values that you wish to embody and totally shares the concerns of your audience.