Over the last two weeks, businesses of all shapes and sizes have undergone immense and rapid change. Here at davies tanner, our once chatty office is now eerily silent as we all work from our individual attic offices, dining room tables and sofas. We’re still talking of course (this is PR after all), just over WhatsApp, email, and Zoom video calls instead.
Communication is now more important than ever as we strive to keep connected when apart. According to a study from influencer agency, Obviously, there was a 22 percent increase in Instagram campaign impressions from the last quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. Twitter has also seen a 23 percent jump in its daily usage this year (though ad spend is down). And over at Zoom, CEO Eric Yuan said on March 4 that the company has seen a “large increase in the number of free users, meeting minutes, and new video cases”.
But the rules about how and what we communicate have changed under our feet, and some brands have been slow to adapt to this strange new world. The news of Sports Direct lobbying government to stay open springs to mind. McDonalds’ superficial ‘social distance supporting’ logo change is another. At the other end of the spectrum, some businesses have gone silent. Paralysed with fear about getting it wrong.
There’s no doubt – it’s more important than ever to make sure that what is said and done during this crisis hits the right note with clients and potential clients. And as the situation evolves on a near daily basis, it’s crucial to get the timing for your communications right, too. Your long-term reputation as a responsible brand relies on getting this right.
But you don’t need to stay silent. There have been numerous heart-warming examples of brands doing amazing things. There’s John Lewis Partners, donating pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream to NHS workers at local hospitals, or the supermarkets that quickly introduced elderly and NHS shopping hours. In our industry there are the restaurant chefs posting delicious recipes to make from home; the physical events which have moved online; or to use a specific example, IBTM, which has made a vast library of online content (IBTM Connect) available for free, so that people can stay learning and networking during this difficult time.
It’s a reminder that now more than ever, we should be putting our clients and communities first. What do they need? What would be useful to them? What can we do? In terms of communicating, you may be wondering how much to communicate, what to say, in what tone, when, to whom, and whether you should even be communicating at all. Whenever you are ready, and whenever you feel the time is right, we will always be here to help. We definitely aren’t going anywhere! We’d be very happy to give you some free, no strings attached advice on your current communications (emails, newsletters, press releases, social media). To find out more please email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org and add #safestrongtogether into the subject line.