Communication in Times of Crisis
Throughout the world, businesses are facing challenges that they've never experienced before, challenges which no-one could have predicted just a few months ago. As sales falter and profits dwindle, it's tempting to throw our hands in the air and give up on any positive outcomes during these difficult times. And yet, even when separated by thousands of miles, people are finding new ways to connect with their loved ones. Perhaps now is the opportunity for businesses to reach out to their clients on a more profound level?
The international crisis has proved to be a great leveller. Great or small, rich or poor, we are all at risk. Major brands whose only communication previously would be to promote new products are now liaising with health services and local charities to co-ordinate support efforts. Social media accounts have acquired a more human voice, our inherent desire to reach out to others triumphing over corporate jargon or SEO targeting.
If businesses are to survive this crisis they will need the support of their customers. Customers who are spending more time than ever online, looking for support, comfort or a distraction from the bleak reality of the everyday. It's time corporate communication shifted its purpose. No longer should the bottom line be the only consideration. It's no longer about closing the sale, or bringing prospective customers further down the sales funnel. We should take this time to rethink what our business represents and who our clients are. Solid business advice at any time, but now more than ever we need to really talk to our customers.
What do your clients need? Do your best to provide this. Is it reassurance that things will get back to normal? Remind them that this crisis will come to an end. Is it a way to assuage their fears? Give them as much well-informed information as you can, and offer support where necessary. Is it humour to brighten the dull days? Share jokes, funny videos, memes. The truth is, what we all really need right now is human connection. Many of us are alone, isolated from friends, family and colleagues. Show your human side. If you're conducting a zoom conference in pyjama bottoms and a dress shirt, let your customers in on the secret. If your isolation haircut went horribly wrong, share an embarrassing photo! By building relationships now we may learn more about who our customers really are. And when things start getting back to normal those customers will remember the CEO who wasn't afraid to admit to eating a whole packet of biscuits because, believe it or not, they're human too.
Written by Amber Domenech Patey