As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, stay-at-home orders extended and restrictions expanded, your company has probably never been at a more critical juncture. How you choose to communicate with your audiences during this time is as important to your fiscal health as it is for your reputation. Employees and customers are looking for leadership and reassurance and, as a result, your messaging is more important than ever.
Messaging always has been important, mind you. But now—in this fluid environment where everything is changing daily—what you say, and more importantly, how and when you say it, is vital to nurturing your target audience.
Right Message, Right Time, Right Tone
And, it’s not messaging that should be developed in isolation—no pun intended. There are so many aspects and ramifications of COVID-19 that it’s helpful—if not plain necessary—to get multiple minds and perspectives to speak into messaging. Sometimes COVID-19 communications must show confidence and leadership. Other times compassion and support. And at all times, clarity. Collaboration will ensure you strike the right message and the right tone.
In addition to crafting the right message and tone, it’s critical to find the right cadence, too. For some of our clients, the frequency of their communications has increased. One client has a lot of information to communicate as buildings close, services shift online and leadership seeks to reassure. In another case, a nonprofit client has had to completely rethink how they fulfill their mission which touches the most vulnerable in the community. They’ve had to communicate frequently to volunteers and beneficiaries about procedural changes, so they can ensure the safety of all involved—while keeping news outlets informed to reach populations who may not have access to social media.
Not everyone’s communications are speeding up, though. For other clients, the nature of their business calls for them to slow down a bit. And when they communicate, they do so to convey support in this universal, global experience. They are reinforcing their commitment to staying the course, so that when this ends and things begin to normalize, they can easily move back into the marketplace.
As Needs Change, Communications Shift
Whether you’re speeding up or slowing down, one thing is certain: This environment is fluid, and as needs change, your communications may need to shift right along with them. It’s important to carefully evaluate your audience and consider what else may be going on so that you preserve your integrity. For example, with an employee audience, it’s important to remember that they are not only trying to adjust to a new work environment, but also possibly online school for kids, caring for an elderly parent, financial worries, etc. And we’re all coping with change and the unknown right now.
In these constantly changing times, it’s easy to react, but we encourage you to pause and respond—with careful consideration for your audience. Bounce it off a team of trusted advisors to see how it resonates and to ensure it’s relevant and meaningful. This collaborative effort will help you stay connected, too!