Communication in the COVID era

Saying Covid-19 has caused havoc and panic across the globe is perhaps a major understatement. With more than a billion people on lockdown, schools, and businesses closing, and travel limited, we are living in unprecedented times.

Organizations are scrambling to make sense of the implications of the virus. Many are also struggling financially with the crisis that has been thrust upon us. At the same time, customers, employees, and other stakeholders still require assurances from them. Having a communications strategy at this time is important. This strategy isn’t just for those in the organization, but those who depend on it. Additionally, the communication strategy must be in keeping with the time and situation and should stem from an understanding of the goals of the communications being shared. It must also be sensitive and accurate.

Perhaps more than ever, this is not the time to intentionally or by accident dispel misinformation and falsehood. Organizations must strive to avoid being purveyors of fake news, conspiracy theories, and inaccuracies.

In a time where many companies and governments are realigning their focus to help alleviate the impact of the crisis, it has been disheartening to observe companies practicing fear-mongering and attempting to profit from the crisis. Yet in doing so, they communicate their value. When the dust settles, the public will remember the position these organizations took or didn’t during the crisis. Organizations must decide how they wish to be remembered, and what side of history they wish to be on. The public is watching.

What is your communications strategy? By carefully creating a strategy and response, organizations reduce the risk of running afoul of their customers, employees, and stakeholders, and consequently damaging their overall brand and perception.