How we communicate in a crisis situation
The period we are in, beyond the pandemic that prompts us to stay home and rethink our actions and activities, changes almost all the data of the problem when it comes to how we communicate in this context.
In the position of content marketing manager, it is important to know how to build your message so that it reaches the audience and is relevant to it. Maintaining a constant dialogue with clients should be a priority, as they need trust and empathy, and above all, guidance in these circumstances that we have not encountered before.
So, everything revolves around building a community that shares the same values and needs for identification in the context of the crisis. This is not a good time for cowardice, for accepting the situation or for thinking based on fear. On the contrary, it is the moment of gratitude, in which a new scenario emerges, being absolutely in need of a “playing the long game” approach. Also, it is necessary to maintain a permanent dialogue with the customers but also to adapt to new needs, precisely in the sense of making the most of their potential.
How do we cope in the context of communication itself?
One of the biggest challenges for brands is to use any opportunity to prove their consistency and relevance in the current context. They need to learn to focus on what people need most now. Therefore, their speech will have to be more about what they bring into people’s lives, about their added value and therefore less about themselves (that they are the best in the market for X, for example) or about how they relate to competition. It is ultimately about how they will bring utility. In this sense, it is vital to follow the path that this idea of real utility takes us, even if we do not know exactly where we can go: can we create or recreate an idea that will be appreciated, bring hope and good vibes? Can we bring utility into the public’s life?
Depending on why we need to build the message?
It is impossible not to have been misled or to have found ourselves in a state where panic empties us of any creativity, seeming to find no answer to the question “what are we doing now?”. That’s because we haven’t encountered such a situation so far, so there is no special recipe with instructions. This is why we need to focus on the people’s needs. Which are these?
The ones I identified and experienced myself would be:
– Belonging: we all want to feel that we are part of a team, that we have its support in the kind of challenges we face now, and above all, that we are not alone, even if we are isolated.
– This is when the feeling of loneliness intervenes; being imposed by the work at home, the lack of socializing breaks or even the jokes that a colleague told at the office. Of course, we continue to socialize, we have Skype, Facebook, Instagram and all the other apps that help us stay connected, but nothing really compares to direct, face-to-face human interaction.
– Psychic safety is also one of the main needs, especially since we are also exposed to sources of information of questionable authenticity, which is why we must learn to filter information based on the criterion of credibility and truthfulness, so as not to be panicked.
– The level of motivation can suffer, especially for people who work efficiently when surrounded by people, or when they have a well-grounded routine that helps them work to their full potential. Here team leaders and managers can be of great help, especially if they know how to handle the situation. Now more than ever they can shed light on Jack Welch’s words: “true leaders are easy to recognize during hard times.”
Now that we know all these things and we have all the information and inspiration to come up with the best solution. It is up to us, as communication people, to know how to apply our skills so that we can create a relevant message, useful, but above all human and true. It is time for us to be kind, rational and patient, and this must also be transparent from the construction of our message, emphasizing what must really be appreciated in this period. And then, after the storm has passed, we will be able to enjoy the beneficent sun, knowing for sure that no effort of ours has been in vain.