An effective crisis communication strategy is necessary for any business. Currently, the Coronavirus has businesses dropping to their knees. With quarantines, store closures and event cancellations, these are unprecedented times. Now more than ever, your business needs tips on how best to handle marketing during times of national crisis.
Below are five tips to help your business come up with an effective crisis communication strategy
1. Have a Crisis Management Team in Place
You have to be proactive because you never know when a crisis could affect your business. Designate a team that will be responsible for the communication that goes out to the public. You want to appoint a few key executive people along with some marketing personnel. If you don’t have anyone on staff with crisis management experience, then it makes sense to work with an outside PR agency. You also need to pick someone to be a spokesperson that can work with any media or publications. Just make sure they know how to handle any questions that may come their way.
2. Do the right thing by your employees
Your staff is looking for you to do what is in their best interest. During a time of crisis, every precautionary measure should be taken, including the following:
- If staff can work remotely, let them. If staff needs to communicate, there is no shortage of software to help. Check out Zoom for video conferencing or apps like Slack or Skype.
- You may need to reduce your hours if you are a business that interacts with consumers.
- Create a wiki page for your business. Include all essential information regarding the crisis, updated work policies and so on. There is always misinformation during times like this and this can be your employees’ trusted resource to get the information they need.
3. Cover all channels of communication
You need to make sure you are hitting all the key communication channels to deliver information regarding your business. Just like we mentioned creating an internal wiki page for employees, you should have a dedicated page on your website to post updates on how you plan to manage the crisis. Also be sure to take to your social media accounts and provide consistent communication via updates. Be sure you are on the look out for any brand mentions and that you respond accordingly. It goes without saying that during a time of crisis, you need to be on top of replying to your customers’ queries and complaints. Ask for feedback on what they need and want too.
4. You need a contingency marketing plan
When you are in crisis mode as a business, you need to review the current market situation and adjust your marketing activities and budget accordingly. In the current situation, some stores have to close and go online for now, some in the food industry will have to start offering home delivery etc. Whatever it looks like for your business, you need to have a plan in place.
5. Minimize the spread of misinformation
Whenever there is a crisis, misinformation always rears its ugly head. Always evaluate the news sources you are choosing before disseminating information to your customers and/or making decisions. Google is currently making it a point to crackdown on unreliable sources of info.
A crisis communication strategy is key
This current crisis is far from over. As time goes on, the intensity will lessen but that is not the time to sit back and relax. Review how your business did during this time and address where there could be improvements so that you are better prepared next time an unexpected crisis occurs.