PROSPER MAGAZINE: SPECIAL DIGITAL EDITION
ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
The need for dedicated and focused communications strategies has never been greater as we face the challenges of Covid-19. No matter which sector we work in the communication challenges have and will be great.
Having worked in the industry for more years than I care to remember, I, like everyone in my profession, have never really known a 'crisis' quite like it. Many of us will have dealt with 'crisis comms' as we know it; the factory closures, the redundancies, and in my case, the sudden death of a much-respected CEO whilst out jogging and an employee found guilty of a serious crime, but nothing quite like this.
Whether keeping your brand visible or using digital platforms to drive engagement levels; it is times like these when press relations, PR, communications, or external affairs, whichever you choose to call our work, comes in to its own.
In research carried out in April by Censuswide, the national research and data gathering consultancy, 48% of the British public said they would trust a brand less if they ceased communications, whilst 58% agreed that brands behaving, and communicating during the crisis, will affect their decision to give them business in the future.
We know in the initial stages of lockdown; the crisis provided the opportunity for PR professionals to guide their organisations as they sought to rapidly move employees to working from home on a scale we have never seen before. For those still working, the challenge has been to ensure that all employees understand the requirements for safe working. And alongside this, internal communicators have had to develop with IT colleagues in finding new solutions for meetings via video conferencing and keeping a sense of organisational unity through closed social platforms.
The external challenge has been no less. Government PR teams have been working flat out to provide clear, consistent messaging at a UK wide level to ensure citizens know what is required. Local service providers in the NHS, local government, care, and transport sectors have been working to communicate what services are available to support people, how to access them and organise local community responses.
For the external affairs team at the Chamber, it has been to initiate daily, even hourly, communications to members, stakeholders, the press, suppliers, and staff. The team have worked to decipher daily government press briefings, explored every policy announcement, translated business support measures coming out of Government departments, measured the crisis impact on members and their specific business sectors, instigated several business support packages, relayed business messaging, thought leadership communications and supported the lobbying activities of the CEO and the British Chambers.
In this, our third digital edition of Prosper, we look at some of those Government messages and updates and explore what they mean for business, employers, and their employees as many venture back into a very different workplace.
Sarah Thompson Press, PR & Communications Officer
Black Country Chamber of Commerce