• Meriem Belhiba

Communicating during coronavirus crisis: how brands should react

This one-in-a-century crisis is hitting hard a world saddled by debt and poverty. This is not the first exogenous crisis the world encounters, yet it’s the most unpredictable, violent and perilous. Small businesses found themselves faced with an unprecedented situation that seems to be ever-exacerbating.

Some sectors where the internet plays a major role like phone operators or delivery services have witnessed a sudden rise in demand and sales. But, reality is bleaker when it comes to the majority of sectors like hospitality and travel sector, real estate and others.

The main goal in the time being is to weather the storm and overcome this virus-induced recession.

In this article, KPEIZ team gives you some suggestions related only to digital communication. Our main and sole goal is to help you fathom some controversies and ultimately guide you through this tunnel, safely and with a clear vision.

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Fathoming the Covid-19 health crisis:

An effective answer results from a thorough understanding of the problem. Small businesses encounter a myriad of crises throughout their lifespan. But, crises differ according to their causing factors. They can be clustered into: internally-developed crises or externally-caused crises.

Covid-19 crisis is an externally-caused crisis, i.e a crise caused by exogenous factors: the pandemic and international economy. The corona health crisis is not a result of an error committed by your business. It is a global problem that no one has been able to harness yet.

Communication leaders have always indulged in outlining solutions for internally-caused crises -those caused by a financial crisis, employees, badly executed campaigns and so on. But, they didn’t really focus on this type of health crisis or global economy problems. Small businesses are now left without a guideline or a playbook to follow.

All the “tested-and-approved” types of content fall short of this unforeseen situation.

Fortunately, digital communication comes to bring some solutions in order to mitigate the damages. Even though you fell victim of an unparalleled crisis, your clients remain at the core of your business and they are waiting for answers and clarifications.

Even in times of crisis and uncertainty, your clients are your priority.

So, stop focusing on your business damages and lingering behind. You should rather start communicating more effectively by preparing a well-elaborated plan. Because it’s the only means of emerging greater and stronger from this challenge.

Photo byIan ChenonUnsplash

How to manage covid-19 Crisis and not be subject to it?

The famous shakespearean question “to be or not to be” seems to shift to “to communicate or not to communicate”. But, this is wrong. You should never question your ability to merely communicate. Every topic is communicatebale. Every situation should be handled through communication.

The right question is “how to communicate?”. We’ve previously answered some of the frequently asked questions raised by marketers. Now it is time for us to guide you through the key components that will ultimately lead you to effective communication.

Anticipate: It remains difficult to anticipate such an unforeseen crisis or any other crisis due to the economic conjoncture. Nevertheless, you know, more than anyone else except your data tools, your audience and their needs. You’ve reached the point where you know, not guesswork, the social media content that resonates with your target audience.

We suppose you’ve stopped your already-made communication plan. And, we know for sure that coronavirus will be the theme where interests revolve till, at least, mid-may. You can elaborate on that to tailor or readjust your social media content.

Analyze: This the best time to absorb and search for more information and insights. In fact, this uncertain time racked by a global pandemic can reveal a lot about your society, market, marketing audience and clients.

A thorough analysis aims at better determining their expectations. To conduct such an analysis, you need to deploy all the communication means available be it news or social media. You can also rely on your own social media channel if you were able to build an engaged community.

Don’t forget to perform a competitive analysis to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the current communication. Your competitors are a huge source of insight, enlightenment and inspiration.

Create a short-term communication plan: If you haven’t noticed it yet, your communication plan for the next two months is no longer valid. For instance, if you were planning to launch a new product, chances are scarce for it to be positively perceived. You need to postpone your launch.

Dig deep in your audience’s needs and expectations and come out with topics that resonate with them in this period. Show empathy to them and don’t seem profiteering or opportunistic.

For instance, IntiGo (Tunisian bike taxi startup) has decided to switch to food and grocery delivery.

Social Media Club Tunisia (SMC) opted for video conferences to carry on giving courses and hosting conferences.

Parfois (a portuguese women’s accessories brand) took a step forward to show their social commitment and provide non-profit associations with their cars and stores to collect and deliver donations to Tunisian public hospitals.

Through analyzing the market and the interests of your audience, you can anticipate your plan to contribute with an added value.

Re-focus on your business: This period of doubt can be a great opportunity to refocus on the essence of your business and restructure your marketing strategy using a thorough review of your KPIs. If you’re feeling like your business is not responding to your clients’ expectations, it’s high time to take a step back and rethink everything you’ve done till now. Think of this crisis as an opportunity for you to “clean up the mess”. Indulge in conducting all the tasks you’ve neglected and kept postponing.

But, beware! Don’t make this period the essential reference for the changes and adjustments you make. Audience behaviour changes drastically according to the context. And, your audience is more biased than never now.

In order to make the right decision, you should rely on data. Make every decision you take informed by data. KPEIZ allows you to extract your current social media data (including audience behavior and brand insights) with those of the two previous years. Social media tools give you this golden opportunity to compare the value of your social media content and the swings of your audience behavior using data you may not have.

This temporary crisis will definitely enable brands to come back stronger if a crisis plan is crafted appropriately.

Be pertinent and consistent. And, don’t forget to stay safe and keep your spirits up.

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