It’s good to talk: Acing communication in testing times
If anyone was ever in any doubt about the value of communication, the Coronavirus lockdown has surely changed their minds. Communication is an essential human need and across the world – from communal balcony choirs to virtual happy hours – people are finding fresh and inspiring ways to connect with one another.
Acing communication both with your existing customers and with your wider industry will make your business stand out during these challenging times, placing it in a strong position as the situation improves. Let’s explore the why, what, when and where of communication in testing times:
Now is not the time for silence. People crave information in turbulent times and will be receptive to hearing from you, as well as reassured you are taking positive action. Don’t forget communication is not a one-way street, it is as much about listening to others as telling them what you are doing. By actively listening to existing and potential customers you can discover how the situation is impacting them and how their needs are changing. You can find unique ways to support them so you emerge from this period as a trusted and valued partner.
Open and transparent communication is always important, but even more so in the current situation. Say what you’re doing and do what you’re saying. If your messaging is concise, on-point and pertinent to your area of expertise it will help build a strong reputation across your industry and keep your business top-of-mind as you emerge on the other side. While the general conversation is about what’s happening right now, it’s important to discuss opportunities after the pandemic, providing a light at the end of the tunnel and a positive plan for the future.
We’re in a rapidly changing situation and continually reviewing your approach to communication is advised as decisions made last week may not apply today. Publish updated information and messaging consistently and keep in regular contact with key stakeholders without bombarding them with unwelcome information.
Make sure any essential information relating to the current situation is readily available, for instance by publishing it on the homepage of your company website, and provide a simple mechanism for people to contact your business. There are so many channels available for proactive communication, from social and news media to email and good old fashioned phone calls, you need to consider which are the most appropriate and effective for your audience. In-person meetings may be out of the question at the moment, but that all-important face-to-face contact is still possible through a variety of video conferencing services.
Lastly of course, it’s essential to ensure you maintain awareness of your offering and USPs. Data shows time and time again that businesses who invest in marketing and PR during a downturn benefit greatly as the market recovers, with their market share rising more than twice as fast as it typically would. Smart businesses are those that look to the near future and plan for the inevitable upturn that comes after a crisis.
Effective communication is more important than ever at a time like this and a considered strategy will make your business stand out, putting you head and shoulders above the rest when normality resumes.
If you’re looking for advice or support with your communication strategy, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.