Corporate

March 23, 2020

Five principles of Covid-19 Crisis Communications

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The fast-paced, constantly evolving and surreal situation we all find ourselves in during this COVID-19 pandemic will challenge people and businesses in an unprecedented way. It is, for almost everyone, a crisis. In a time of great change, clear communications are critical, bringing much needed clarity. These are the guiding principles that we’ve been using to help shape our clients’ communications at this time.

Communication with purpose

A good principle in times of uncertainty is to over-communicate with your stakeholders, but with purpose. The key is to be clear about why you are communicating, every time. What do they need to hear from you, what can’t they find out from other sources and what is the purpose of your message to them?

Clear, concise and informative communications

The sheer volume of content and briefings on COVID-19 is overwhelming and you want to cut through the noise. Get straight to your point, be clear in your language and concise in what you say. Sticking to your areas of expertise will help you focus. The NHS is advising on hand washing techniques, so you don’t have to.

Think: Values and Ethos

These are difficult times for everyone and clearly you need to protect your interests, but in the short term your stakeholders need understanding, empathy and support as much as you do. As with any crisis response and communications, let your organisation’s values and ethos guide what you do and say – this will help protect your reputation.

Be proactive and available

Every business is in the same position of trying to do what’s best for the company and their stakeholders. As you take proactive actions, also be proactive in your communications. Lead by example and explain how you’re minimising the impact of the crisis, but be open – you can’t and won’t have all the answers, all the time, in this fluid situation. The key part of managing this is being available, so monitor communications channels, acknowledge and respond.

Look for opportunity and positivity

Crises pose great risks for businesses, but they can also provide opportunities. In a situation like a pandemic, these are unlikely to be financial, and it would be callous and insensitive to try and capitalise that way. What you could do is strengthen stakeholder relationships, demonstrate expertise others didn’t know your business had, show the human side of your company or boost your reputation by being supportive. Finally, if there are positive things you can share to inspire hope, play your part in lifting the mood and reassure others.

Instinctif Partners is here to help:

We are experts in all aspects of communications – from rapid turnaround reactive positioning, media comment, FAQ and Q&A development, media handling, social media management, in the moment advice on employee communications, and of course stakeholder communications and engagement.

Depending on your sector, your business may be affected positively or negatively by COVID-19. Your Instinctif Partners team is here to help advise and support all your communications needs, operational risk and business continuity response.

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