Effective Business Communication Strategies During an Economic Crisis
Business disruptions are sometimes hard to predict, and can literally happen anytime. But it’s also important to understand that there are significant differences between disruptions caused by operational failures, manmade causes, or isolated events and those caused by challenges on a global scale. In this article, we’ll look at how the current pandemic is creating business disruptions, and how planning for effective communication strategies can really help!
As with any such event or challenge that can affect your business, proper preparation is key. And by preparation, we mean coming up with detailed plans and the right communication strategies that will help you to conduct business as seamlessly as possible during a sustained crisis.
Here’s What You Need To Do!
When something like a pandemic or outbreak occurs, your company needs the right strategy to cope during times of uncertainty. Here are a few key tips to help get you started:
Form a Centralized Communication Team – In an emergency situation like a global pandemic, you need to have a crisis communication team. The team size should be kept relatively small; look for five to seven people who are particularly well-equipped for various areas of concern. Having such a team in place will help to:
- Monitor the situation closely.
- Offer critical information about the crisis & its potential impacts.
- Provide updates to key constituencies on a regular basis.
- Create simple-to-digest messages to communicate throughout your organization.
Communicate with Employees – Communicating with and informing your own employees FIRST is one of the most strategic things you can do in any crisis. If a company fails to keep its own employees well-informed, then communication outside the organization becomes difficult at best! It’s essential for you to keep your own people in the loop in order to help put everyone’s mind at ease; this is the best way to nurture hope for the future. For proper employee communication, an organization must:
- Post information regularly via emails, the company intranet, or by taking advantage of intra-organizational apps like Slack.
- If working from the office is no longer prudent nor advised, communicate your expectations, resources, and tips regarding how to work from home effectively.
- Try to provide information in a timely manner. Better to say something now –even if your information isn’t completely comprehensive at this point – rather than trying to wait until you have all of the answers. Pro tip: Since you’ll never have ALL the answers, better to communicate what you DO know right now! I promise, your employees will appreciate it!
Communicate with Customers Regularly – Communicating with customers demands a different approach than communicating with employees. For effective customer communication, an organization should:
- Focus on and communicate that which is most important for your customers to know right now.
- Provide helpful content and relief when possible.
- Base your communication on empathy, rather than simply trying to create more selling opportunities.
Ask for Input – A situation like a global pandemic or other major threat poses a great opportunity to connect with your customers on a deeper level. You must concentrate on understanding what your customers want to see and hear from you. You might choose to poll your customers, or just ask what content they need right now. Try coming up with and posting some new content ideas, and then track what your customers love the most.
Be Proactive with Communities – Organizations should do their best to ensure their actions do not have a negative impact on the community. In fact, a company can choose to utilize this time of crisis to actually enhance relationships with their local communities by:
- Providing needed resources. If folks are in a state of quarantine (as they are now), you might offer food, cleaning supplies, or other essential items.
- Providing useful information to local media that will help to calm and soothe local communities. This will also enhance your company’s credibility.
- Being transparent about what’s happening, and what your company is doing about it.
“Champions Keep Playing Until They Get It Right” – Billie Jean King
When dealing with a situation like a global pandemic, your company needs to strategize your communication from the perspective of your audience. You must be intentional to show empathy towards your constituents, even over and above succumbing to the fear of possibly doing the wrong thing. At such times, you may be required to reveal as much as you can about sensitive information; this will help you gain the trust of your audience, and will ultimately result in helping to increase your brand value. This is what champions and leaders do!
At Cibirix Digital Marketing Agency, we understand that it’s difficult to plan for every imaginable scenario. Let us help your company to strategize steps that will lessen the impact of sudden change, and ultimately protect your company’s best interests. You can reach out to us online, or simply give us a call today at (336) 415-3534 to get started!
Richa Mukati serves Cibirix as a Brand and Content Strategist, where she’s passionate about how creative concepts and targeted marketing messages can create positive, game-changing images for our business clients among their intended audiences. How does Richa help make this happen? She wields a crisp, compelling business sense that is backed by sharp, strategic thinking which aims for the target of meeting desired market success for our clients. Richa has extensive experience in marketing communication, and clients continue to seek her advice and trust her branding and content strategies which have resulted in measurable results. When not hard at work developing brand and content strategies, Richa enjoys meditating and binge reading.