For every disaster and crisis there is a natural process of evolution – so what can we expect to see with COVID-19 from a communications perspective?
Read below for IMPACT’s guide of what to expect in the coming days, week and months.
This was the first stage of the crisis where restrictions and regulatory requirements were still being formed. Here we saw organisations issue daily statements detailing the impact of the changes to their business, striving to demonstrate how they will deliver on customer commitments.
Australia has largely passed through this phase, however, should restrictions be elevated by the Federal Government from Stage Three to Stage Four, we may see a return of this style of messaging.
This is the current phase for communication in Australia. According to McKinsey, now is the time for businesses to ensure their resilience against virus-related shutdowns and economic impacts.
From a communications perspective, this means providing customers, partners, employees and stakeholders with clear information on how the organisation is responding to the new business conditions and managing the delivery of products and services.
The focus for communications should be on what to expect and how to get support quickly if you need it. Empathy, understanding and personalisation are key to effective communications here. For example, one of our client’s CFOs has taken to calling customers personally.
With the end date for social distancing unclear at this stage, organisations won’t be able to sit on their hands and wait for the crisis to be over.
Organisations must maintain engagement with their customers and target audiences in new and creative ways. If they don’t, customers will simply move on without them.
Just as fitness instructors have quickly secured their place in the living rooms of Australians across the country, businesses must find their own way to prove themselves an essential partner.
Whether it is a podcast, the establishment of a knowledge or entertainment hub or a virtual event series, businesses must reinvent themselves to connect in this time of isolation.
For some organisations, the ‘new normal’ will open new doors and opportunities to engage with customers and drive sales.
At this point in the crisis when the peak of social distancing has worn off and the threat of illness has abated somewhat, organisations can start to reach out to their customers for their opinion, preferences and insights on products, services and communications.
There will be a greater appetite for both business and lifestyle content that doesn’t relate to the virus or social distancing requirements.
When the country is given the all clear, we can expect a sense of elation along with some trepidation. It’s unlikely that life will immediately return to the way it was before COVID-19 and communications will need to revisit many of the imperatives seen early in the crisis.
These will include reiterating where and how to get support, how organisations are responding to new regulations, updating customers about changes to services and business operations. Most importantly, organisations will need to maintain that personal touch and empathy as we reintegrate into a post-COVID world.