Public Relations Moment Of Glory
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Somewhere out there, the bright side beckons. If virtual agencies are one of the beneficiaries of the Covid-19 era, then consider another. That the public relations discipline may finally find itself in a position to steer brand creativity rather than being consigned to the supporting role against which it has chafed for so long. Most of the businesses are adopting the ‘wait and watch’ approach which seems to be the most logical at this juncture. The same is true even for a service-led industry like Public Relations (PR).
Provide factual, trustworthy information: Social media has turned into an un-navigable ocean of rumors, misinformation and specious advice. It has also turned everyone overnight into a COVID-19 expert. The PR team should stay current using only trustworthy sources of information – WHO advisories, government orders, local administration ordinances and notifications from public health officials. Keep a common list of trusted resources for reference, updates, technical guidance, health advisories and resources (based on enterprise and employee locations). Above all, ensure that the team does not fall into the trap of becoming COVID-19 experts. When they treat every piece of information with caution and the diligence of researchers, they will save lives.
Communicate with transparency: Employees, stakeholders, customers and partners will want to be kept informed. Tell employees of the measures being taken to safeguard their health and well-being. Ensure that their families are kept informed as well. Tell customers about the steps being taken to ensure their business or orders are not impacted. The key is to remain honest, explain what you know, admit what you don’t know and always reveal the sources of information. As many as 84% respondents in the Edelman report wanted their organization to be a reliable source that keeps people informed about the virus and the progress being made in the fight against it.
Picking up the Pieces and Planning for the Future
With so much turmoil swirling every day, it’s hard to imagine a time when the COVID-19 crisis will be over. But this too shall pass. The key question for PR pros and marketers is: “What will things look like when this is over?” You can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it. As you move plans forward, take a minute to map out three separate PR strategies:
Above all else, stay optimistic. Things may seem bleak now, but the most successful companies will find silver linings and capitalize on new opportunities. Focus on any positives you can identify, stay alert to how things are changing for the better, and use market research to drive your PR plans. Tell stories about how individuals in the enterprise have overcome odds without compromising their health. Tell stories about how the organization is contributing to the well-being of the societies it serves. Focus on innovative ideas that enable people to overcome odds, maintain business continuity and improve public awareness. Use the company blog, email, Instant Messaging groups and social media to spread inspiring stories. Make it easy for people to share the story. Staying indoors can be tough.
The COVID-19 pandemic requires PR professionals to bring experience, intuition and gut feel into play. There are very few rules to go by. No playbooks to refer to. If anything, this is a good time to rewrite many of the PR practices that have become outdated. As the pandemic changes the world, so should the practice of Public Relations.
Hope this was of any use to you, Stay tuned for more.
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