Navigating your brand through a crisis: What to do today to set yourself up for success tomorrow
By definition, a crisis is caused by a major, yet temporary change. And, while we take solace in knowing that “this too shall pass,” often times the impact of such a significant change, albeit temporary, can have long-lasting implications.
In a time where media consumption is at an unprecedented high (someone tweets about the Coronavirus every 45 milliseconds), access to real information from credible sources is more important than ever. People are looking to leaders for guidance and reassurance and more and more, they are looking to brands as well. How your business chooses to engage in the conversation today can impact how you come out on the other side tomorrow.
When it comes to communicating during a crisis, brands that are able to answer a few simple questions and align their communication strategies accordingly, will weather the storm and come out on top.
Are you making it about them, or you?
It’s natural during a crisis to think about how this will impact your business. Financially, there is uncertainty and we are all looking for ways to remain active and relevant. That said, in a time of crisis, the focus needs to remain on community-first and how you can continue to engage your employees and customers in an authentic and meaningful way.
The brands that are getting it right have been able to understand their unique value proposition and what they can bring to the table. From Shoppers Drug Mart dedicating the first opening hour to at-risk customers, to Nut Bar handing out immunity shots to customers – there are ways to show you’re present in the community without pushing your product or brand.
Do you have a 360-degree view of all your communication channels?
Often times during a crisis, companies will do a great job proactively communicating – sending out information via social media, newsletters and other channels. However, what can be overlooked while in crisis mode are existing in-market communications, including current ads that may have been running prior to the crisis and are no longer relevant or appropriate.
It’s vital to have a 360-degree view of your communications and remain agile and adjust where needed. We’ve seen brands like Hershey’s and Coors Light proactively pull ads that promote physical connection at a time where we’re all focusing on social distancing. This type of foresight is crucial in preventing a potential reputation crisis which can be difficult for a brand to recover from.
It’s also important to understand how and where your customers consume information during a crisis. You may be active on Twitter with updates and announcements, but if only half your audience turns to Twitter for their news, they may be missing important information and you may be missing an opportunity to connect with a key demographic. Ensuring your crisis communications reach all of your target audiences, where they are, is vital.
How can you use your platform for good?
Big brands like YouTube, Bell, TikTok and Facebook have massive reach, and with that, understand the responsibility to leverage their platforms in a positive way in the face of a crisis. We’ve seen social media players band together to fight misinformation by ensuring credible sources have prime ad space, and communication providers waive overage fees to ensure people can stay connected. We’ve witnessed brands take a stand against price gouging and businesses offer their services to help those in need. We all have something to offer. Companies that can zero in on their unique offering, can make both an immediate and long-term impact.