Preparing Now for Post-Crisis

April 28, 2020


Hi, everyone, Crayton Webb with Sunwest Communications. I hope this finds you well and safe at home. Lots of talk right now about getting back to business. Opening states back up, getting back to work and whether you think it’s too early and premature or too late, it is not too early to begin talking about and thinking about and planning for how you will communicate about your organization in a post COVID-19 world. Not just talking about how you’ll communicate to your employees that it’s time to get back to work and how you’ll keep them safe, or to your customers that you’re open for business, but more strategic. Four tips today. First and foremost, think about the appropriateness of connecting your brand back to the virus. Believe it or not, organizations that have been negatively impacted by the virus – and of course those organizations that have been on the front line – have an inherent benefit in communicating who and what they are following the crisis. We all have heard from our local restaurants or retailers – “Hey, don’t forget about us,” or Takeout Tuesday, or curbside pickup and you inherently want to help and do business with those organizations and juxtapose that with the emails that you’ve been getting from the sharks and piranhas who are saying, “If you want to survive COVID-19, we have the service for you.” It just feels opportunistic – even predatory – in nature. So we recommend that unless you’ve been on the front line or have been directly impacted, that you don’t use the virus as a sales technique.

If you’ve got a product that is perfect and can be shipped to home. And obviously there’s an inherent benefit or has been or if you’ve got an opportunity around work-from-home people, will get it. They’ll put two and two together but think very carefully about the appropriateness in your messages going forward and the appropriateness of connecting it back to COVID-19. Number two: corporate social responsibility. Also important to think about as you consider giving back, cause-related marketing programs – first and foremost actually doing them, taking on some kind of an initiative that you do communicate to all of your stakeholders, your employees as well as your customers, other stakeholders, stockholders. They want to know that you’re giving back and that you’re getting involved – that you’re helping out the nonprofit organizations that have been on the front line. But again, how do you do that in a way that doesn’t seem opportunistic, isn’t clickbait, and doesn’t just seem like you’re trying to sell something? In other words, be authentic in your corporate citizenship and in your giving back.

Third, great opportunity to communicate with your elected officials – now. On the local, state, and federal level – county commissioners, city council members, state reps, state senators, as well as your members of Congress, many of whom are home from Washington, D.C. right now and working from home just like you. They want to know how you fared through the crisis, what your plans are afterwards, how you’re going to get your employees back to work and keep them safe. It’s a great time to reach out and build that relationship when you’re not necessarily asking for anything. Fourth, and finally, many organizations, many of us, have had to make operational changes during the crisis and I’m not just talking about learning how to use Zoom or video conferences or VPN. I’m talking about true, actual, operational changes – in many cases – on the technology front. We are working with an organization right now that has had to make huge technology changes just in order to keep its doors open and in order to serve its customers. They have been criticized for years about their platforms and the lack of customer service and that it just didn’t work. And for cost reasons or efficiency reasons or both, they just wouldn’t pull the trigger before COVID-19 forced them to do it. So in a post-crisis world, there will be a great opportunity to talk about that, and at the right time and the right way. And it’s something to plan for, those changes that you’ve made, how do you alert and let your customers know about your improvements without it seeming self-serving? Just four quick pieces of advice today from Sunwest Communications. Again, I hope you’re staying safe and well, take care. Be careful and be kind, and we’ll see you next time.