Messaging during the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has erased all sense of normalcy and, to an even greater degree, certainty. That presents a significant challenge for businesses and organizations looking to speak to their audiences. You have to re-think everything from topic to tone to timing. There are no textbook answers for this situation. But here are some guidelines that will help you achieve the most important aspect of being able to speak as a brand, company or organization.
1. They DO Want to Hear From You.
You might be wondering, quite understandably, if your audiences—be they customers, members, employees, etc—want to hear from you at all. We can be emphatic on this point: they need to hear from you. People still very much need to remember that they’re members of “tribes.” So, yes, talk to them. And, just as importantly, listen.
2. You DON’T Have to be a Prognosticator
Your audiences will be looking for reassurance—and that means a calm, collected voice offering a clear message. It doesn’t mean you need to provide certainty, which (as we’re sure you’re aware) you don’t have and can’t provide. Approaching these interactions with a cool, collected state of mind, and delivering a well considered message, will go far in helping your audiences orient a little bit more during a very disorienting period.
3. DO Speak to Your Industry & Shared Business
People care about the industry they’re in. This goes beyond sales and revenue; rather, it’s about their lives. The people you’re speaking to are emotionally invested in the work they do and, by extension, the industry groups they’re members of. It’s okay to speak to this—to acknowledge concerns about losses, to express optimism for the future, and to provide tips or ideas for weathering the storm.
4. DO Open Lines of Communications
It’s important you open lines of communications with your clients and teams. That may feel difficult. You don’t want to say the wrong thing. Or, maybe, you don’t know what to say at all. But that shouldn’t stop you from checking in. Everyone is in this same, very challenging situation and that’s enough to bring people together to talk, even if it’s just to ask how others are doing.
5. DON’T Make Promises You Can’t Keep
While you might be tempted to do everything and anything to help clients at this moment, you should also keep in mind that the crisis will end. That means you don’t want to be left on the hook for promises you won’t be able to keep in the long term. This is about being up front and honest with clients every step of the way, even as you go into overdrive working to serve them.