Finding Your Voice - Corporate communication in the face of consumer concern + changing preferences
There are undeniable short-term effects of mass business closures, shifting consumer preferences and travel restrictions across a number of industries. The long-term effects of this phenomenon may linger for harder hit sectors as consumers may be reluctant to engage with certain brands, industries or experiences. Businesses understandably need customers, but brands must be mindful of communication now more than ever to maintain brand integrity in the face of consumer stress and changing preferences.
Businesses are faced with the question of how to communicate during a time of crisis. While solutions vary, we provide best practices for businesses to adjust corporate communications during this time.
Has your customer or audience’s needs changed as a result of this? Is your company providing a new or necessary solution to current problems within the economy? Create a SWOT analysis to determine where your business sits within the new framework of this crisis. How can you provide a utility to your customers during this time of need?
With a time of crisis, there comes a natural urge to over-communicate. We caution brands to be mindful in crisis communications. Ask your team, is this information useful, relevant and meaningful? How do you anticipate your audience to receive the message? If you don’t regularly email customers with updates, unless necessary, we do not recommend starting to ramp up marketing during this crucial time. A mistake made now may haunt your customers’ loyalty in the future.For example, ethical clothing brand Everlane recently made headlines for sending ‘We’re in this together’ message as workers were laid off
Know your brand, manage your channels accordingly
Knowing your brand is key to navigating the stormy waters of global crisis. Since protocols and cultural sentiment are changing, consider the following with regards to your external communication
Stay up to date on the shifting dynamic and updates regarding the economic and psychological impact of the current environment. Create alerts to stay ahead of news and trends to ensure that your corporate response aligns and resonates with the public (and avoid inadvertent branding issues).
Adjust social scheduling apps by shifting to manual from planned social posting for most brands. We caution non-essential businesses to review existing creative assets and communications to ensure that they do not come off as flippant or careless during this time. We recommend brands shift to posting (if applicable to your business) manually, rather than using automated scheduling or software as this situation requires hands-on response to the constant evolution.Provide additional leadership support for copywriting and tone when considering external communications. Senior leadership should provide guidance on communications with internal and external stakeholders during this time.