Effective PR in a Pandemic
Updated: Jun 9
If you’re reading this blog you already know how coronavirus has affected the world, shook economies, and not to forget, ruined our travel plans for the rest of the year.
Since the outbreak emerged from its shadows, many media publications around the world have been working tirelessly not only toward providing information to those wanting to know more about it and its symptoms but also its impact on businesses. From the stock market crash to the cancellation of events, organizations need to provide information to their target audience.
Information plays a pivotal role in times like these. Providing necessary information avoids unnecessary panic in the public, eliminates fake news and helps organizations in putting out the right messaging. Irrespective of the type of brand an organization represents, it is important that they react to it and prepare for a crisis that we are currently in. Turning to a crisis strategy can be of most help a brand can get on how to communicate with their audiences.
Below are five practices to follow in coronavirus messaging:
Follow Government Guidelines
Whether you’re a gym or a restaurant, do not advice anyone on the symptoms or effects of the virus. Let the Centre for Disease and Control Protection (CDC) do its thing. The CDC will provide all the information on the outbreak, its symptoms, steps on precaution, and how to deal with treatment. Based on the guidelines, think about your clientele. Now if you’re a gym, send an email about cleanliness in the gym. And encourage customers to stay home and opt for online gym sessions if they feel unwell. Let them know you care about them.
As mentioned above, organizations need to understand the importance of providing information. In the event of an outbreak, people crave information. No matter how small or big the announcement is, people would appreciate receiving information.
As citizens, parents, and employees each one of us wants to know how are they going to get out of the current situation. So, give them the information, even if the plan is in its early stage make them known.
Schools/Employers/Government should consider sending constant updates to make people let them know they care about their safety.
Now once the information is drafted and ready to distribute, put it out where it’s easy for people to find. Don’t tweet your announcement as not every one of us is on Twitter. A news story is great, still not everyone will watch it.
The best practice organizations should adopt while announcing policies at such times is on the homepage of their website. In doing so, all stakeholders, consumers, and investors can see it. In addition, an email blast can also be highly effective.
While posting on the homepage, use bold colors and post it where it’s easy for consumers to find it, ideally on the top of the homepage or a central location. The information can be lost in case it’s too hard to be found.
Embrace The Consumer
Traveling enthusiasts all around the world are in a dilemma to either explore the world or cancel their flights and wait until the outbreak is contained. The cancellation of the World Mobile Congress, delaying of Dubai Expo to 2021 surely bummed out many eagerly waiting travelers to visit the UAE.
Most travels understand the reason behind travel restrictions decisions that led to the cancellation of events all around the world. It is important for governments and institutions to communicate that these decisions were made to protect the lives of the consumers. Each one of the cities and travel companies will lose a lot of revenue due to it, so they don’t take it lightly. While if they do however continue with their plans it would seem the brand has little regard for consumer safety.
Many travel agencies have introduced schemes to help travelers, such as airlines giving a full refund due to cancellation of flights. These steps show the company works toward keeping consumers safe.
Most crucial amongst all. It is the moral responsibility of any organization to state the facts. It is indeed fun traveling, exploring different parts of the world. But if doing so has any risks, the company should communicate it to its consumers. Consumers would rather appreciate a messaging with all the facts on how the brand is safeguarding its consumers' health rather than a calming message with no direct information. Keep your messaging short, on-point, and state all the facts for all consumers.
I hope the above pointers help you in driving your organization through the pandemic. Stay safe :)