There’s nothing “usual” about pandemics, quarantines, containment zones and self-isolating – but that doesn’t mean it’s the time to be silent
Things are changing at a rapid pace and businesses and nonprofits alike are doing their best to keep up with the changing tides. Organizations are working swiftly to sift through the urgent, important, need to know, nice to know and news better left for another day and time. As everyone works to shift their communications strategies for the here and now – and a period of time yet to be determined – it’s important to keep these best practices top of mind.
Silence isn’t golden
We’ve all received a steady stream of emails from the brands and nonprofits with whom we have personal and professional ties. And, suffice to say, the great ones stood out. What made them great? Transparency. Humanity. Reassurance.
This isn’t the time to add clutter – nor to shout about brand values that lack relevancy in our current day-to-day. It’s the time to talk about safety, security, a commitment to your employees, other stakeholders and the community, and how you can truly help in a time of uncertainty.
Double down on employee communications
While some companies have the ability to make a seamless virtual transition, others work in the category of essential services and have employees who are still working in hospitals, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, grocery stores and more. And, right now, both groups could use some reassurance and a laser focus on the facts.
Ensuring your employees are up-to-speed on any business changes and equipped to communicate those changes to clients and customers is key. Don’t let your loyal and invested stakeholders read about what you’re doing in the news. Yes, things are changing quickly – but this isn’t a step you can skip.
Answer the call for continuity
Businesses and nonprofits can help to ease people’s angst by answering the call for continuity. In a whirlwind of cancellations and new precautions, letting people know that your organization in continuing to serve clients as it always has is comforting. Now, the medium may have changed as we embrace virtual to answer the call for social distancing, but that doesn’t mean the quality of service is any lower or that the client receives less value.
For nonprofits, it’s important to remember that many of you are more vital now than ever before. And, the way several organizations are working with the public and private sector to shift resources to meet urgent needs – such as providing meals to children when they are out of school – is a model of adaptability and collaboration for others to emulate.
Stay calm. Be clear.
Any time the pace quickens, it’s common for clarity to get lost in the shuffle. Being “perfectly clear” in every communication – be it over email, via social, on your website, through a webinar, etc. – is critical. Make your content easy for people to digest – keeping top of mind that there are currently a record number of important messages competing for attention.
Abandon “set it and forget it”
“Set it and forget it” comes with its own set of challenges on a typical day and is never the preferred mode of operation for marketing campaigns. Today, abiding by this mantra can be downright damaging to your brand. If you’ve prescheduled social media updates, now is the time to go back through them and remove what isn’t fitting for the days – or weeks – ahead.
News is breaking at a rapid pace, as are the best practices being rolled out on local, regional and national levels. And, as noted earlier, this isn’t the time to add clutter. If you are running print, digital or out of home campaigns at this time, exercise an abundance of caution to make sure the message doesn’t come across as insensitive, irrelevant or opportunistic.
For many of us today, business as usual sounds equally, if not more, appealing than a once in a lifetime vacation. As we work to navigate these changing tides, it is important to remember that we will all get through this by working together. Be human. Stay kind. And, remember, this too shall pass.