The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every business and every individual, and it has greatly impacted the global economy. Though this is daunting, there are ways to tackle this pandemic from a public relations perspective. Companies need to understand how to navigate PR in the midst of COVID-19. Below are some best practices to consider when running a business in the new normal.
1. CREATE A PLAN FOR HOW YOUR BUSINESS WILL FUNCTION
Allow for flexibility for employees to work from home or to work remotely if they come in contact with a COVID case or are COVID positive. Create a rotation roster of workdays/shifts for on-property employees whose jobs are more manual in nature (chefs, housekeepers, production-line workers, etc.) and allow others to have reduced in-person hours.
2. FOCUS ON RESILIENCE AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Leaders need to instill resilience in people and tap sources of hope, trust and optimism in order to unlock creativity and build momentum for the future. It is encouraged to choose candor over charisma, be transparent, focus on facts and demonstrate vulnerability to build trust. Consider how you can add value to people in your industry during this time and orient your PR strategy around these key points.
3. CULTIVATE A POSITIVE COMPANY CULTURE WHILE COLLABORATING INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY
Find a deeper, collective sense of purpose, and mission by injecting internal communication within your company culture that is both fun and can help alleviate stress. It’s important to shape a story of meaning for your organization to create a space where others can do the same for themselves. Be clear about what your organization will achieve during this crisis and communicate through your actions as much as you do through verbal communications.
4. BE EMPATHETIC AND UNDERSTAND CURRENT NEWS CYCLES
As a PR pro, adapting your brand announcements across various channels need to be sympathetic, compassionate and sensitive to how people may be feeling during this difficult period. Pitching and messaging needs to shift to what’s relevant like understanding news cycle trends.
5. PLAN FOR A POST-COVID FUTURE
The response window for a crisis is typically measured in months, while recovery is measured in years. Consider what happens not just today, but tomorrow, and beyond. This is the best time to run scenarios to create a crisis-agnostic plan that’s fit for your business. This may involve allocating dedicated resources who are freed up from the day-to-day pressures of managing the crisis. The resulting wider and longer-term perspective can help make the company’s emergence from the crisis even stronger and more sustainable.
Remember one of the most important things to do in a time of crisis like this is to remain compassionate and understanding – we are all experiencing this pandemic and its effects together, for better or for worse.