The past few months have been bizarre. Not really knowing what was going on, how long this weird chapter is going to last (are we sure now?), trying to understand and remember what we were and weren’t allowed to do, all whilst trying to remain optimistic and motivated is hard work and draining. But what was clear throughout was that communication was so important to all of it.
From the government’s take on providing information, and internal communication with employees and contacts, through to remaining zen whilst home schooling, clear and consistent comms was paramount.
Here are some of the communications strategies we’ve been working with clients on during lockdown to boost morale and keep the wheels in motion…
Employee Engagement and Crisis Communications - With teams working from home, being furloughed or generally feeling worried and uncertain, it was imperative for businesses to be direct, clear and consistent with their staff. We worked with businesses to firstly understand the furlough scheme and then create internal strategies for the coming months. Creating transparent communications and managing virtual question times was imperative to keeping teams motivated and providing a level of comfort during an uncertain time. The best businesses to work with are those that care about this internal communication and provide the support and guidance needed during these bizarre times.
Customer Communications - Working with tech and ecommerce brands has allowed us to understand a new online customer to speak to through brand communications and alter communication strategies accordingly. With online sales increasing 129% during lockdown, there was a shortage of customer service agents, as well as a new customer to speak to. They weren’t used to shopping online so were cautious and naturally critical as they didn’t feel comfortable. As well as this new online customer, the general public was generally less tolerant than normal with a higher expectation of customer service and experience, and more time of their hands to tell you if they weren’t happy. For this reason an appropriate brand tone of voice and personalised communications were imperative when communicating with customers. Social media was sensitive and brands needed training on how best to deal with contentious customers and put processes in place for their teams to be able to cope with this going forward.
Positive Press - The first few weeks of lockdown, the media was consumed by all things coronavirus and it felt increasingly negative, as well as clients feeling guilty for sharing good news. Luckily, journalists are also human and clients realised the importance of sharing positivity so this soon shifted and we were able to fuel people’s motivation. From brands sales increasing 1600%, new global client wins, impressive prop tech products being launched, and new offices opening in Asia, we’ve been lucky to promote and support clients with a number of positive press stories as well as giving their thoughts to media on all things Covid.
Virtual Events - With clients not able to attend events where they would usually meet and mingle with industry peers and prospects, we worked with clients to hold their own. Rather than lengthy webinars, we encouraged soundbite style events and workshops to discuss and debate their respective industries and used it as a tool to get in front of potential business partners.
Forward Planning and Virtual Tidy - For some clients, Covid threw some huge curveballs and had hugely negative impacts to their plans as they paused for a couple of months. For these clients, we used the time to plan for the future and make sure that all the tools were in place for when the wheels started turning again. From rewriting websites and updating sales brochures, to social media clean ups and creating video case studies, we worked on the foundations to give us material for now.
What was clear throughout was that transparent communication was paramount, for us, for clients, for employees, for customers, for everyone. Whilst we have started having more face to face meetings and can’t wait to get back to more, it’s been a great time to reflect and reset for some businesses in order for them to reach their full potential in the coming months.