In the new world of isolation, overcommunication no longer exists.

By James Golding

Grab your company handbook, and jump to the section on pandemic / global disaster comms. If you have one. Otherwise, your brand needs to evolve in the most unexpected and immediate way. Companies are of course focussing on key areas – finances, operations, strategy. Communication should not be overlooked either.

Make sure you don’t drop out of peoples lives, even if your business offering isn’t needed for the next 3+ months. Survival is one thing, that’s short term, but to protect the long term business we need to think bigger, businesses need to evolve their offering and rethink the way they communicate it.

Your audience is still there, they’re just not consuming the same media and they are in a different frame of mind. Think of the mediums that your customers will be using much more of. Dust off your mailchimp lists, get some digital ad space booked, think hard about what your business needs to say and how your brand reacts in a time like this. It won’t be in your brand guidelines, that’s for sure.

Silence sounds ominous.

Being more isolated than ever means it’s important not to go quiet. Remind your customers that your product or service is still good to go, they need convincing now more than ever. Just because everything was rosey yesterday, doesn’t mean it will be today or tomorrow. There will be a lot of uncertainty about how your business has been effected, whether or not people can still get what they want from you, whether you’re even still operating. An engaging social media post, an HTML email, or a cute downloadable piece of digital content will keep your product or service front of mind, and let people know you’re still around.

Furloughed consumers are a captive audience.

The new government measures to support businesses are amazing, hats off. It also means people can keep their jobs, won’t be plunged into poverty, and can continue to shop online and consume digital media. Whilst everyone’s still cautious, it means large parts of the UK can continue to exist without major economic problems. Purse strings will be tighter, yes, but people will keep buying.

Health food and drinks products are really important, more so than ever. People will value health and want to maintain their immunity. People also have more time on their hands than usual, so may be open to new ideas, and trying new things. Hammering home your offer with them now could cement a relationship and win you customers for life.

Communication should be internal too. 

Leaders need to be in constant communication with their staff, suppliers and shareholders. You need these guys to buy in, and without transparency they’re not going to be 100% on board. Honesty is re-assuring, even if the contents of the message isn’t. That doesn’t mean everything has to come with a glass-half-empty tone attached – accompany any negative comms with positivity, plans for betterment, and hope (no matter how remote). Communicating little and often will make the people your business relies on feel a lot more assured.

Communication for good.

It’s important to bear in mind that communication can’t just be about volume, it also needs to be engaging, relevant, and in the current climate – demonstrate empathy and sensitivity. Now is not the time to trash talk the competition, or to profit from disaster. Your comms need to have a human element, something that is either empowering or demonstrates solidarity, and shows them that we’re in this together. Or better still, something that actually helps.

This example from Netflix US demonstrates a fantastic creative and relevant interpretation of their product, posting spoilers to their popular series on prominent billboard ads to discourage people from going out.

Over the coming months of uncertainty, it’s clear that all businesses need to evolve the way they operate, and it’s critical that communication and marketing strategies don’t get overlooked. Let the audience and prospects know you’re open for business, and you’re more relevant now than ever.

And in the age of digital communication, in an unprecedented time, where uncertainty reigns supreme… the more we can communicate with our customers and stay in their lives, the better.

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