The news and our lives are dominated by one thing at the moment: The national lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. These are challenges times not only for individuals but businesses and organisations of all sizes who have found themselves put on hold.
While lockdown looks like it is starting to ease in the UK, there are some big challenges for businesses and organisations ahead. One of these is maintaining good communications with a media plan that can adapt to what is likely to be a fluid situation for some time to come.
- How do you handle communications if one of your staff falls ill with the coronavirus?
- What if you have to close a store or office because you have been forced into a new lockdown after your business was able to open up?
- How do you communicate safe practice to your staff and customers?
- What if your business has a crisis caused by the effects of the Virus or the Lockdown?
All these questions and more can be answered by having the right crisis media plan in place and that plan should include upskilling the relevant team members with media training. Fortunately the team at Hawkeye Media Training have devised an excellent media training method deliverable online via Zoom and are able to deliver their tailored plan as effectively and quickly to the staff who need it.
Asking the Right Questions
These are, of course, unprecedented times. Your old media plan may be able to cover most aspects of Covid-19 but there are going to be new issues and potential problems that might arise and which will require you, for example, to make a statement to the local or national press.
Crisis media management is about being prepared. We are now a few months into the pandemic so many businesses now have a clear idea of how it is likely to affect them and their customers.
- You may need to put together a specific crisis team to deal with all aspects of the virus and lockdown.
- Businesses that fail to follow the regulations or are unable to protect customers and, just as importantly, their staff are likely to find themselves in the news.
- Planning means having the right processes in place before any company opens for business once more.
- Businesses will also need to address specific questions and understand how the answers will reflect on their business and its standing with the general public. Not all the questions will be about how your business is protecting staff.
- You may be faced with questions about operational issues and whether you will need to cut staff.
- You might be asked about suppliers and how you hope to maintain these relationships during the partial lifting of restrictions, especially if you have international partners.
- You may be asked what happens if we need to go into another lockdown following a second wave.
Communication is Key During Any Crisis
News has a habit of filling a vacuum. If you are unable to get the right information out at the appropriate time, rumour can run wild and cause more difficulties in a short space of time. Transparency is key even if you want to keep your media messaging under tight control.
That means having strategies in place so that the right people are in place and can push the talking points and answer the questions raised, both confidently and clearly.
Finally, communication isn’t just important for media engagement. Internal messaging is just as important and can stop information leaking out from disgruntled or frightened employees. These are difficult times for anyone with a job that has been affected by the coronavirus. It’s important to have clear instructions when it comes to keeping your workforce safe and ensure that information is accurate.
While many businesses will have to operate reactively to the pandemic, working out an effective communication strategy is a good way to take a more proactive approach and prepare for the future uncertainties and media training skills are the first step to a confident and competent workforce should a crisis happen.