During the past 2 months, COVID-19 has spread its tentacles across geographies despite preventive measures being undertaken on a war footing. With its continued escalation, it is also presenting a potential impact on brands and organizations.
While the outbreak continues to remain another source of stress to possibly every stratum of society, companies need to equip themselves in order to manage this uncertainty with clarity in communications and messaging.
The region has braved many unprecedented situations like this in the past like the 2008 Gulf War crisis that caused a severe economic downturn. However, due to the determination and resilience of governments and organizations, most companies bounced back with strength and confidence. Of the many attributes that helped organizations navigate their way through the crisis; honesty, transparency, timely communication and clarity helped build trust and an image of capable leadership. Your audiences, both external and internal, need to believe that you are capable of handling this crisis. Of course, they need assurance.
Without making it look like another marketing campaign, it is important to highlight preparedness. Your audiences need to see effective measures planning and tools to combat contagion- be it your social media, digital platforms or internal communication tools. You need to effectively display execution capabilities to establish faith and secure confidence in consumer mind space. The hospitality industry especially needs to have an action plan to address the current situation and potential future impact.
Times like these can leave your team and audiences feeling powerless. As a brand, take leadership in building trust and fostering positivity amidst crisis blues. Organizations are already allowing work-from-home benefits to in order to take care of physical health but do not underestimate the COVID-19 impact and what can it do to mental health. With measures like quarantine and social isolation, it is human tendency to slip into complacency. Addressing such stress situations will go a long way in the overall health of your organization.
We all know how long it has taken a brand to discipline itself as an entity. But this is not the time to stringently abide by it. It’s time to review those sick leaves, work-related travel, and remote working policies. Be as generous and considerate as possible. Address tangible healthcare requirements that may need you to go beyond your organization’s policies. Convey support and communicate a willingness to help in times of crisis. Flexibility is the key.
Never before was it so strongly felt that crisis management could become a reputation handling scenario. How well your organization is prepared and fights these times of crisis will be long remembered even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Continue to drip inform important news through reliable sources, alarm with due diligence without becoming an alarmist and be thoughtful, well prepared and resilient.