April 19, 2020
One of the components of PR is crisis management and COVID-19 has moved, in certain respects, from just being a public health concern to that of a PR crisis that needs to be properly managed.
In times of crisis, it is important to keep open the different channels of communication with employees, clients and other stakeholders. This article discusses four tips for crisis communication in this Coronavirus period.
#1. Brush Up Your Crisis Communication Plan
The best time to bring out your crisis communication plan is now. The plan should outline internal and external communication which will run pre-crisis, during the crisis and post-crisis. If there is a crisis team already in place, ensure that each member is aware of their roles and responsibilities.
Do not forget about digital communications. Ensure there is a clear digital plan with guidelines on what needs to be done.
In addition, prepare holding statements, with key messaging, to address the pandemic. In so doing, you will be able to share information to stakeholders as swiftly as possible.
#2. Communicate Internally
Employees of organizations are also stakeholders and it is key to let them know that their safety is a priority. Go through the crisis plan with them, discuss possible scenarios about the virus and emphasize on the roles they might need to play.
In a rapidly changing situation, it is also necessary that employees are well informed of new developments as they occur.
#3. Define Your Channels of Communication
Define your channels of communication, taking into consideration your internal and external stakeholders.
On the inside, take a look at your media policy and appoint a media spokesperson(s). This is to curb incidents of misinformation from within the organisation. The team should also be informed about the authorized spokespersons, so they know who to direct all media inquiries to.
Furthermore, the importance of existing channels of communication (emails, WhatsApp group, Slack etc.) should be highlighted so as to ensure proper flow of communication internally.
Given the current situation, it is recommended that organisations also communicate with external stakeholders (clients and customers). Such communication should inform clients about the organisation’s state of preparedness and reassure them that quality of service remains top notch.
Press releases, online blogs, emails and social media are effective ways to communicate these messages to your external stakeholders.
#4. Use of Digital Platforms
Since the spread of the COVID-19, social distancing and Work From Home are the new ways of life. Thankfully, digital provides an effective way to deal with the disruption caused by Coronavirus.
Some digital platforms that will be helpful during this crisis include:
• Hangouts, Zoom and Skype for virtual meetings.
• Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Docs to work on a document real-time.
• Webinars and live streaming for e-conferences.
Simply put, there is no excuse for not communicating with relevant stakeholders during this COVID-19 crisis.
In conclusion, keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic will not last forever (Wuhan shows us that). Among others, developing a crisis plan, providing relevant information and proper communication are some of the things your stakeholders will remember when all this would have blown over. So, how well is your organisation handling communication during this crisis?
As part of our COVID – 19 Management effort and in a bid to help contain the spread of the virus, all our staff have been working remotely during this time. However, we continue to service our clients and to provide quality PR, crisis management, digital and more, support.
If you need any of our services, just send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or call us: +2348033010074 or +23412933205-6, and we will surely get back to you.