Expertise from Crisis Experts & Steps to Take Right Now

The world is in a constant state of flux and adjustment, but we know the unwavering aspect of this global crisis surrounding the spread of the coronavirus is that it needs to be taken seriously while we ready ourselves as quickly as possible for the ongoing changes we’re facing on a daily basis. 

In our industry, we recognize things can change overnight when it comes to crisis communications and the internet. This has been key to remaining nimble in the world of online reputation, and even though the level of rapid change we are all currently going through is certainly a different challenge, when it comes to operating as a business during such tumultuous times we are experts in crisis and have experience in enduring trying times and consulting with clients in distress. 

There is a lot of criticism online about how everyone is handling the news around COVID-19, and that criticism is largely around the balance of confronting the serious long-term situations we are bracing for and the need to be calm and smart.

As a small business ourselves, we have actively taken up a number of changes to help our company keep pace with everything going on, including proactive measures to work remotely with whatever equipment needed, as well as weekly company-wide updates led by our top executives to ensure the team understands what we are focusing on as a business and how to continue to help our clients around the globe. We are all facing a crisis, but there are steps to take right now to make sure you handle it appropriately and transparently.

Here are some of the top considerations to make as a company as we navigate the uncertainty of what’s to come:

No matter the crisis, whether it’s an internal scandal or a global disaster like the spread of coronavirus, the leadership of your business needs to quickly assess their company goals and get their internal messaging to the team figured out and distributed effectively. 

What should be communicated? This needs to be a calm but strong message about the company’s focus and it should confront the issue/crisis at hand directly. Do not beat around the bush, own the issue, address any initial mistakes made in handling it and then move on with how the company will continue to operate and move forward. 

Set a standard for daily operations that involve frequent performance check-ins with managers. It’s hard to realize how distracting a crisis is until you’re caught up in it, and it’s even more difficult to snap back into focus and handle the work flow efficiently, but that’s exactly what needs to happen. Keep up internal updates as frequently as needed, especially if the team is spread out and remote. 

What adjustments need to be made? If the crisis is distracting your team then distract your workforce from it by clearly laying out expectations of each department’s output. Update deadlines and KPIs. Leave no room for excuses by providing support for your workforce while encouraging their best efforts. And if your team is working remotely, make sure each manager schedules daily check-ins with their direct reports that include daily to-do lists, create a schedule of frequent department meetings to assess productivity and address hurdles, and encourage creativity and innovation by incorporating more video-conferences, digital face-to-face meetings or presentations that are shared together versus just relying on emails, instant messages, and phone calls.

Understand your audiences’ perspective. Internally, you can run a tight ship with clear goals of efficiency and productivity, but externally, it’s important to consider how the viewpoints of your market, stakeholders, and clients are shifting in the wake of a crisis. Build trust by not faltering on what your business provides, but also take a realistic approach to confronting issues. Don’t become robotic and predictable, be authentic.

How should this be done? If there were mistakes made, appropriately call out what is being done to prevent them from happening in the future. Earn trust by discounting your offerings in a time of great need. Don’t go silent, use your online resources to make it clear what matters to your company, how you’ll be moving forward, and consider ways to promote what your company feels is important, whether it is contributing aid in the local community or promoting philanthropic organizations and commitments that align with your business’ mission.

These top three priorities are useful and necessary measures during any crisis, but here are a few additional considerations specifically during the coronavirus situation that could be helpful to take into account as a business:

  • It is a mistake to run marketing efforts, advertisements, and social posts as “business as usual” during a global crisis. Edit your content to acknowledge the change in tone and perspective the world has right now and be sensitive to the many people affected during this time.
  • Seek creative ways to cut costs, but do not pull the rug out from under your team. Audit your tools and platforms to make sure unnecessary expenses are not draining resources, but continue to support your workforce so that productivity does not suffer. One quick assessment is to audit the expenses previously used for travel and social gatherings and know what you’re saving and where the budget needs to go until these things can resume, but update your annual projections without these.
  • If you did not already have regular company-wide updates, now is the time to roll out a schedule to consistently check-in with your workforce through meaningful messaging that echoes the focus of the business and the expectations of management while things feel like they’re changing day to day.
  • Know what you look like online. Everyone is restricted in their daily lives. There’s more downtime inside, and people are stir-crazy and searching, reading, and learning about brands and businesses online. It’s important to represent yourself and your company with a strong, updated digital presence that conveys your daily operations clearly, rather than letting the internet define you by moment that can live online in perpetuity without taking a proactive stance. If your website is outdated, people will assume you’re not handling this crisis well internally, as the focus goes to everyone’s ability to transition to a digitally coordinated workforce. And if old negative news shows up in your results, you’re losing the trust of your audience and your credibility in the industry, during a time no one business can afford to not be in full control. 

Contact us for more information about steps to take in a crisis and ways to represent your company positively online through strategic SEO and brand amplification services.