Do you know what ‘moment’ you are in?
The health emergency scenario imposes new rules and a key word: ADAPTATION. To do this, CEOs and managers had (and will have) to adapt their businesses, but comms directors have the responsibility to embed the change into a new communication strategy.
In times of uncertainty, as demonstrated in previous crises, communication is essential. And every communications manager must ensure that the entire organization adopts a common, coherent and consistent strategy.
At The Almond we have defined 4 moments. What is your ‘moment’?
REDEFINE. Your business has changed, so your story and your way of telling it need to change too. Have you thought about how you want to be perceived from now on? How has your business changed? What is your value proposition? Your audiences should know that you have adapted to the situation and that this ability to adapt can respond to their current needs. Be honest: are you still using corporate pre-confinement messages? Depending on your sector, it is very likely that the current year will end with negative results. Have you thought about how corporate communication can help explain it? How to communicate the results, prepare the annual report, draft speeches for top executives… to put the results in the right context and explain the measures that are being taken to explain the adaptability of your organization?
RE-CONNECT. We have been permanently connected through technology during the past months; however, we will have the opportunity to do it again in the real world. But for communication to become effective, it must be based on empathy and emotion. Do you know what are the main concerns and current needs of your audiences? Are you willing to listen and respond? Do you maintain a solid communication channel with your providers to understand how the situation impacts them and seek solutions if needed? Do you know the initiatives that are promoting sector associations and public bodies? If you think you can contribute, is your voice being heard?
Restoring and strengthening relationships is key to driving growth and positioning of the company.
REORGANIZE. Health and safety protocols need to be conveyed to all members of the organization in this new stage. For it to really work and be effective, it needs to be communicated well, both to the internal team and to customers. How have you integrated post-COVID messages into your strategy? Has it become a new axis of internal communication? Maybe the main one? Have you made sure that the information is transmitted in a rigorous way and helps fight rumours that inevitably arise due to the uncertainty of the moment? Do team leaders have the necessary training and skills to ensure cascade communication within the organization? Does it make sense to maintain the strategy that you had previously proposed? A-D-A-P-T-A-T-I-O-N
RE-START. Working from home while taking care of the children, or working at the office with an extra workload, or being stuck at home because temporary lay-offs. Undoubtedly, the teams have lived up to these months, regardless of the job option they have had to live. As comms director one of the great challenges you will have this summer is precisely to THANK teams to RE-START the activity. You should reinforce the feeling of being a people-centric organization, ensure that managers explain to their teams the security measures, inform them of new options such as working from home, or new forms of performance evaluation. The RE-START “framework” story must be created and declined in the different areas, so that the organization advances with a clear, homogeneous and positive message.
The decisions regarding employees made during this confinement and the coming months will undoubtedly mark the ‘pride of belonging’ and the well-being of the teams.