The Coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the landscape of PR & communications across the globe. Events are cancelled, launches are postponed & brands now more than ever are being forced to embark on a journey that could never have possibly been imagined mere months ago.
Businesses must now quickly adapt & adopt a new way of working & communicating with each other, stakeholders & their consumers. PR consult Jennifer Hodgson explains why entrepreneurs must adopt a new pr strategy to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
Be creative! Think of something non-typical but still relative
Tensions are high right now & people can make snap judgements, offend easily & in some cases dismiss brands entirely. This is the time to find the balance between non-essential & essential content. For example, if a new product launch doesn’t necessarily have to happen right now – cancel it & reschedule. This not only shows commercial awareness but emotional sensitivity to the current climate. Disposable cash consumers may have had a month ago to spend on a product, or service, they no longer have. So be realistic & manage expectations of staff & business owners. This also applies
This is extremely important when it comes to social media. Brands don’t need to appear in denial of the situation – this won’t sit well. Consumers are clever & can often create strong assumptions of the brand’s morals by the lack of empathy & social awareness they show on their platforms.
Instead, employ empathy & don’t shy away from the global crisis – embrace it. Create content that will relate to an audience instead of deterring them completely. This will not only put the consumer at ease but again, also shows complete awareness & understanding of the situation.
The way brands & companies treat their consumer can often reflect how the consumer feels about the brand, their morals & often their staff. Assumptions are easy to make from the outside so bear that in mind.
Be relative but sensitive. It will pay off long term
Finally, looking after clients has never been so important. The way a business treats their clients during this time will determine how successful it is long term. Think forward, months from now & some sort of normality is ensuing. Who are they likely to turn to for advice & ultimately work? The company who left them in the dark when they most needed or the company that stepped up to the plate? Now is the time to cement real client relationships by reaching out personally & showing a more humanistic approach.
Make a solid effort to personally call all clients & put together an individual strategy of how to move forward. This could mean pausing retainers, reducing fees temporarily or if their budget allows step it up!
Take the time to understand clients your core needs during this time
Make sure you show what the core values of the company really are. This could be a make or break for the business. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges the PR & Communications industry has ever faced. However, it is also a time to show true colours & step up to the plate. By adopting a new way of thinking, it shows flexibility, perseverance & empathy – qualities every prospective client will be looking for.
- Think outside the box
- Be relative but sensitive
- Look after your clients more than ever before
The element of creativity has never been so important right now. Resources are low & budgets are even lower. So what now?
There has undoubtedly been a shift toward digital content. The print industry has been paused, for the most part, meetups are banned & plans are cancelled for the foreseeable future. For businesses who rely on this, take this chance to explore a new platform or new tactics by making connections with your audience in new ways.
Find common ground in their interests & focus on that. For example, a consumer who purchases from a luxury Fashion online retailer is highly likely to enjoy arts & culture. This could be snippets from the ‘Dior & I’ documentary or even footage from a recent Fashion Week. This will not only keep them engaged but also invested in the brand. It also means product-based is not the constant focus which can be slightly overbearing in the current climate. Consumers do not want to be reminded of how much disposable cash they don’t have right now. That’s likely to annoy them rather than stimulate to continue to follow the brand or purchase.
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