The importance of comms during an international crisis

By Felix Zadek-Ewing March 16, 2020 9:54 am

Effective communication is critical in times of emergency. As the coronavirus pandemic grips the world and sparks global panic, society relies on information from experts, officials, and leaders to understand the latest developments of the crisis and to make decisions about what they should do in response. If communication is executed well, it helps manage people’s expectations and fears. If done badly, poor communication can undermine trust and cause more panic. For this reason, communications consultancies and support is a necessity for organisations and stakeholders to navigate through the difficult times of a pandemic.  

Stakeholder communication 

A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during a crisis in the hours and days that follow. Communication is key to how businesses deal with the outbreak, particularly with regards to interacting with key stakeholders. Waiting to respond until something has happened is not a sustainable option. Communication firms can help organisations to quickly review their audiences’ needs by identifying their key stakeholders and developing messaging and communications strategies for each audienceAs a result, stakeholders will feel more supported in the knowledge that their organisations are handling Covid-19 effectively and quickly to ensure the business protects itself and its reputation as much as possible.  

Internal communications 

Communicating with employees on a regular basis to let them know of any ongoing developments and what their company is doing to handle COVID-19 is essential. Many organisations need support with this, given the time constraints of a global crisis. Communications consultancies can help to prepare statements for employees and regularly pass on and distribute information. Truthful communication will build trust, while lack of information or disinformation could cause more panic. If an employee has any kind of issue during this crisis, it is the duty of the organisation to show their support with constant and reassuring communication.    

Monitoring

Communications firms can assist in developing a monitoring system for daily, hourly and emergency information. A notable problem with this epidemic has been the spread of disinformation, which travels as fast or faster than accurate information and can do harm to an organisation and the morale of its employees. The monitoring of government updates, travel advisories and public health bodies guarantees accurate news, helps organisations to navigate this crisis safely and ensures that businesses are one step ahead of the game in terms of political and economic developments.  

Crisis communications 

Communications consultancies are experts in times of crises. An important first step of taking on a crisis is identifying the crisis team and giving them reputable media trainingHolding statements, messages designed for use immediately after a crisis breaks, can be developed quickly to be used for a wide variety of scenarios relating to COVID-19The most essential component of the preparedness program is the crisis communications plan. The image of the business can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident. Communications consultancies can help organisations to develop this plan so that they are ready for all kinds of scenarios. 

The Whitehouse team are experts in the impact of global crises, providing crisis communications, risk management and public affairs advice to a wide range of clients, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union. For more information, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at chris.whitehouse@whitehouseconsulting.co.uk.

By Felix Zadek-Ewing March 16, 2020 9:54 am

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