With social norms in disruption and businesses scrambling to see what the next day of the Coronavirus and COVID-19 holds, it’s difficult to think of much else. But to maintain sanity, to maintain strength, now more than ever, businesses large and small need to focus on the long game. And by “long game” I mean employees and customers.
If you’re a business owner or part of a leadership team, the decisions you make today may lead to a different company tomorrow. Of course there will be the immediate, necessary steps taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. But, if business must be put on pause and actions taken for the health of the company, you need to think about how you assure your employees and customers that tomorrow will be a better day with better opportunities.
Crisis messaging requires transparency out of the gate. Whether you’re part of a management team or the sole owner / director of a small business, the message you provide needs to be clear, concise, and complete. TRUE Brands (Truthful, Relevant, Unique, and Engaging), set the foundation of all communications on Truth. So when it comes to communication with your team and your customers, let them know the facts. Will there be a reduction in production? Why and for how long? What will the company do to support those employees who may be impacted by today’s actions? What is the company doing to support customers who depend on their products or services? Spell out the situation – no matter how bleak – and maintain transparency about how the company (you) will be there to support its community through this issue.
Consistency is key. While the nature of the crisis may change from day-to-day, the communication that comes from the top down needs to be focused and cohesive. The position owners and leadership need to take is one of support and understanding for employees and customers. While no one knows the ultimate outcome of this event, offering consistency during chaos goes a long way to building brand loyalty and trust. Consistency also shows a company’s strength and its commitment to the community. With trust, loyalty and commitment, the days that follow will be better for companies that maintain consistency.
Be the calm in the storm. From a business owner’s perspective, I understand the fears that come when revenue streams are threatened. No matter the size of the company, when forecasts show stormy weather, the initial action is to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. But time after time, it’s the leaders that stand up and instill confidence in their staff, their customers, and their future who win.
Spoke Communications will continue to serve our customers with the best in communications strategies and marketing execution throughout this crisis. Our focus is on helping these partners amplify their brand and their commitment to build a better future for their companies and their communities.
Until next time,
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef
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