What else is there left to say about communication and Corona?
Axelle Hantson, Reputation Advisor at Insticom, spoke with CEO Hans Karperien – albeit from afar – about communication and Corona. Hans is a true seasoned professional with decades of experience, yet this crisis is also unique for him and there’s a clear need to rethink how we communicate efficiently. In order to gain some valuable insights, Axelle and Hans had a lengthy discussion about Corona communication and what than can entail for reputation. Here are some takeaways from their conversation!
As an organisation, don’t stop communicating
Above all, we have noticed that many organisations simply stop communicating, or even worse: simply refer to the government’s communication. Even in a situation of force majeure, organisations themselves must continue to communicate proactively. The communication from the government cannot replace the communication of organisations.
In situations of force majeure, companies should primarily focus on internal communication; informing, inspiring and sympathising with their own employees – because everyone is in this crisis. External communication comes next: show empathy and solidarity with your stakeholders. Cutting the budget for communication as a short term decision during Corona crisis will only have a counterproductive effect in the long run, especially for your reputation!
Moreover, be honest, show clear leadership and empathy: those factors will only further strengthen your reputation. Bad news has to be communicated too, because sooner or later it will come out regardless. Then you already have a disadvantage, with even greater repercussions for your reputation.
Do not neglect your clients and client relationships
A global pandemic such as the Corona crisis influences everyone. In times of exceptional circumstances such as these, it is very important to not lose sight of your customers. Face-to-face meetings may be off the table for a while, but there are many other – digital – ways to maintain optimal client contact.
Even though relationship management is now different and perhaps somewhat challenging, that applies to your clients too. We’re all in this together – and this solidarity needs to be clearly communicated.
Make more use of your own channels
Currently, the general media are not interested in the individual communication of organizations, unless there is a direct link with the Corona crisis. The specialised press on the other hand, are benefitting from the extra time people now have on their hands. That extra time is also used for searching and looking for information. So make sure you also publish the information on your own channels that your stakeholders need, especially now. This way, you’re proactively communicating and will reach your most important stakeholders with your message.
Many organizations that doing well during the Corona crisis are fully discovering the power of their own channels and media. With relevant content on their own channels, these organizations strengthen their relationship with stakeholders and to a further extent, their reputation. In the future, and especially post-Corona, they will have to continue with this in order to inform their stakeholders adequately and directly. Creating own high-quality content, further developing own media channels and setting up or expanding user groups is the way to succeed.
Content creation remains important – If not even more important – and especially content from your own background. This strengthens your reputation and creates authenticity. Aim to be authentic and transparent, and therefore dare to communicate things you would have preferred to see differently. Honesty is the best policy, both internally and externally!
There’s more than just Corona
It might not seem like it, but the world hasn’t completely shut down. Avoid Corona fatigue and communicate proactively about other things that matter to your organisation and stakeholders, it remains of relevance!
Crisis communication post-Corona?
Crisis communication in the future will have to take this type of crises into account. Many experts predict that situations such as these can occur repeatedly, so preparing for them – both internally and externally – is an important matter that should be included in future crisis communication manuals.
Before the Corona crisis, crisis communication consisted of preparing for crises that could occur within the organization and/or in society. Think of large-scale strikes, production problems, (labour) accidents, etc. Post-Corona however, organisations must also take into account situations of total force majeure – like we are currently experiencing – and incorporate these into crisis communication strategies. This is the only way to further strengthen your reputation in the future and similar situations of total force majeure!
Can your organization use extra support during this crisis? Or are there other things we can help with? Don’t hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org!