I have lost count of how many times SME owners/public figures and friends from the corporate world have said to me: “Now I see that public relations strategists’ are key workers in disguise” since this pandemic begun.
Yes, any organisation worth its salt regardless of its size knows they are safer having PR as part of their strategic management instead of a cost that is avoided until when quick fixes are needed. It won’t work the magic as you want it to, because effective PR is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Here are tips to guide your brand through this unprecedented time safely.
Your brand’s reputation and credibility is hard-earned and must be zealously guarded. In the words of the world’s most revered investor, Warren Buffet, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to tear it all down to nothing.
HERE ARE A FEW POINTERS TO AVOID RUINING YOUR REPUTATION
Secure your premises, work stations and adhere to social distancing measures set out. It is beyond anyone’s understanding why any organisation worth its salt regardless of its size has not done this by now.
I am still seeing employees sending anonymous messages to bloggers and social media influencers complaining of neglect and poor working conditions in spite of the government putting out clear measures to be followed to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 at the work place. If you don’t step up and follow the measures set up by the government in regards to work spaces, you won’t have a business to grow and employees to work for you post the pandemic.
Listen to all your audiences. Most companies/brands do not have their ears on all their audiences especially employees, they concentrate on shareholders, customers and media and leave out their number one brand ambassadors, their employees. If by now an organisation/brand has not listened to its employees’ concerns and done right by them and as the situation calls for, they might not speak up now for fear of losing their job in the middle of a financial crisis but they won’t forget how helpless they felt and at the first opportunity to sink your brand, they will do it.
COMMUNICATE TIMELY AND TRANSPARENTLY
Communicate with your audiences immediately you have news to pass on to them and do so truthfully. At the end of the day, truth is what elevates brands. In being transparent with your various audiences about matters of concern to them you will create an organic connection with them that will serve your brand long after this pandemic is gone.
SHOW CONCERN FOR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES
Companies/brands and SMEs going about their business as usual will be judged harshly and might cost them their bottom line post the pandemic for the simple reason that they put profit ahead of human life.
We live in the era of consumers with control and power over brands, and they won’t forget about the brand that set aside their profit and focused on saving lives, similarly, they won’t forget about the brand that buried its head in the sand and went on with business as usual or disappeared from the scene when they needed it to step up the most.
DON’T GO DARK, KEEP THE BRAND MESSAGES AND ADVERTISEMENTS COMING
This is particularly for SMEs. Don’t fold up the digital and main stream media messages you had planned for this year, let your communication teams go back to the drawing board and create content suitable for the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, your consumers want to hear from you.
You can also help the government reach their Covid-19 related messages to consumers that you have access to on your various platforms.