Crisis communications support during the Coronavirus pandemic
Whatever your business, we’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and right now all contact with your customers, clients or service users is communication in a crisis.
People want to know how you’re responding, what action you’re taking and what it means for them. They want to be reassured and you need them to be confident they can continue to rely on your products and services. This is at the heart of effective crisis communications – and our experts can help you develop the strategy and messaging you need.
Mosaic provides crisis communications support to businesses locally and nationally, both before the coronavirus outbreak and much more so recently. The starting point is to have a plan in place.
Create a crisis plan
Everyone involved in your business’ communications should be on the same page at all times, which is made possible by clear messaging and a plan everyone can access.
The plan should include agreed key messages you want to communicate to stakeholders as well as answers to difficult questions. It’s really important to keep a log of events or issues that arise so you can be on top of changing attitudes and aware of any significant issues that start to develop.
We’d also advise you to include in your COVID-19 communications plan the contact details of key individuals, such as the CEO, to easily alert them to developments and to reach them quickly in the event of media interest.
You need to ensure your plan is saved in an accessible yet secure location, perhaps using Microsoft Teams or Google Drive for remote working. Don’t forget to restrict viewing permissions to those involved with communications and on a need-to-know basis.
Prepare a statement
By now every business should have a statement or a response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Even in the unlikely event your industry isn’t directly affected, you should have a statement prepared to address customers’ inevitable concerns.
The statement can be a simple reassuring paragraph or two from the CEO keeping stakeholders informed about changes to your company or organisation, including remote working arrangements and updated contact details.
This can be emailed to customers and added to your website via a pop-up box, a feature Mosaic has created for several clients which appears as soon as people visit your site. Remember to share it with your own staff as well.
This statement can be quickly sent to journalists to address general enquiries and, if a crisis emerges, will provide a crucial foundation for a more in-depth response.
Update your team
Where possible, the plan and actions should be monitored by a dedicated team to ensure they cover every base and remain current. You also need to ensure you communicate relevant changes to your own staff.
If you don’t use an agency, it’s important your team is routinely updated on new regulations and advice to effectively respond to enquiries. You can keep up-to-date by tuning into the government’s daily conferences, which typically take place between 5pm and 6pm, and registering for BBC News alerts.
A member of your team should be responsible for monitoring the internet for news and social media coverage about your business or organisation two or three times a day, which should happen in real time if you’re facing a crisis. Ensure you set up Google Alerts, which notify you when keywords, such as your company’s name, are mentioned in online articles.
Not all media coverage is picked up by Google Alerts, however. We therefore recommend checking key publications’ websites directly.
Mosaic’s Crisis Communications Training will help you to put these processes in place, so you’re ready to act when you need to. As a team of experienced communications professionals, we also offer competitive, bespoke rates to help your business through this period of uncertainty. Get in touch to see what we can do for you.