[by Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications] It may feel like ages ago now, but think back to when you first began to deal with how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect your business. You scrambled an internal team to communicate minute-by-minute changes about how the business would adapt. How your employees should work at home. How they should protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus. How you stepped up cleaning and disinfecting protocols in your workplace. How you’re delivering products and services to customers.
What was this working group? A rapid response team? Emergency response team? COVID communications team?
Call it whatever you like, but in our world, you created a crisis management team (CMT). And you should keep that team in place for crises and issues that may lie ahead for your company once – whenever – the pandemic finally ends.
If the pandemic was your CMT’s first rodeo and your organization never had a crisis communications plan, now’s the time to start putting one together. Your CMT may be doing a bang-up job communicating through the crisis so far, but think about this:
How prepared was your company to communicate to your employees, customers, suppliers, vendors and business partners when COVID-19 hit? Were you constantly playing catch-up with the employee rumor mill and social media innuendo? Were your customers and suppliers wondering how to do business with you – or if you were doing business – during the lockdown?
Now that your CMT has caught up with COVID-19 communications, it’s time to think through how you’ll deal with other crises or issues that your company could face, such as criminal and sexual misconduct, financial malfeasance, workplace safety violations, internet attacks and product recalls.
We can help you develop the appropriate strategy for responding to any crisis of any magnitude. We’ll work with you on a vulnerabilities audit to identify and prioritize the situations most likely to threaten your company’s reputation. We’ll work with you to develop appropriate messages and then help you put a strategy in place. We’ll help you identify the best methods to get the word out – whether that’s Zoom meetings, web posts, text messages, emails, phone calls, social media, or traditional media.
COVID-19 has been a trial by fire on every level. Communicating about it has been – and will be – critically important, and because the virus seemed to come screaming out of nowhere, immeasurably challenging. Your CMT rose to the occasion. Let us help you take that to the next level so your team is ready for any challenge that threatens your company’s good name. Shoot me an email or give us a call at 216-321-7774 – we’re always glad to talk!