Updated: Nov 23
Since the time we heard about the pandemic until the time we were actually in it, life has been a riot of emotions. At an individual level, this shift has been difficult to deal with and even more so for any brand or organization. The pandemic shattered workflow and gave birth to more challenges than we could have imagined. Brands across the world have had no option but to come face to face with these issues and think of solutions that not only keep them afloat but also help navigate uncharted waters. It has taken time, and rightly so, for brands to cope with something as unexpected as this. But then there are some others who’ve not only gone beyond surviving but have excelled in dealing with the life that 2020 brought with it.
What has worked for these brands is their preparedness and agility to re-evaluate the changing circumstances while communicating it to the world. Amidst all the chaos, they have emerged as industry experts and surely, there’s a few things to learn from them.
In fact, Richard Edelman in an interview with PR Week happened to mention the importance of moving the industry’s strategy from defence to offence. He lives by Edelman’s mantra of ‘actions communications’ which focuses on actively changing the industry for the better. He says this is especially important to instill confidence in a world that has forever been changed due to Covid-19.
Let’s take a look at the four aspects that can make or break a brand's industry records.
With Reputation Comes Value
Impact of a good reputation for any brand directly reflects onto its market value. This is simply because good reputation management attracts good talent, which on the other hand contributes towards building business growth. The same can be said about clients and customers who maintain their loyalty for a reputed organisation. In fact, the U.S Reputation Dividend Report states that top organisations earn more than 40 percent worth of their market capital from its reputation that is a healthy mix of drivers like its culture, leadership team, quality products and services etc. All in all, reputation management isn’t just a ‘feel-good’ concept but matters especially more - internally and externally, during this Covid-19 pandemic. And so, managing employee experience by acting upon the core values of the organisation, and communicating with the workforce clearly and respectfully, is of utmost importance.
Identifying and Dealing with Crisis Situations
An organisational crisis brings with it a threat to the safety of its workforce, finances and reputation. In fact the current coronavirus pandemic can create all three of these together. But an effective crisis management plan can help avoid the unforeseen by ensuring preparedness on part of the organisation. Like in the case of top companies, it was relatively simpler to deal with the negative environment as the unprecedented Covid-19 virus disrupted everyday life. In a crisis situation like this one, most employees were concerned about various things like job security, remote working, work life balance, productivity while working around the family and health. But a solid crisis management plan is known to keep employees calm and stress-free by ensuring frequent and updated crisis communication, while reducing any losses to the company.
Keeping Track of Public Affairs
There are quite a few external factors that affect the way of doing business for an organisation. They are interdisciplinary in nature, making it crucial for organisations to track these trends, rules and regulations - like in the case of the countrywide lockdown resorting everyone to work from home and disrupting the supply chain. Brands had to find alternatives for doing business, which led to taking heavy support of digital mediums and other research that identified a change in consumer preferences due to economic slowdown etc. They adapted to this situation with the help of effective public affairs as well as clear corporate communication and got back to business in no time.
Engaging Employees During Uncertain Times
Covid-19 has given rise to feelings of uncertainty, work stress and other health concerns amongst employees. It doesn’t help that everyone is working remotely which means that the usual employee experience has been disrupted due to the lack of personal interaction. During such times, listening, empathising and communicating can work wonders. Along with training the managerial team to connect with employees, organisanising employee engagement activities, using employee engagement tools etc. will go a long way in ensuring a higher engagement rate at the workplace.
The Reason for Expertise Amidst Chaos
Brands who’ve survived and thrived during the Covid-19 breakout have been able to do so by showcasing industry expertise, with a combination of the above four aspects. Whether it’s about crisis management, or maintaining brand identity with reputation management, what seals the deal for any organisation is a good mix of public relations and corporate communication. After all, to be industry experts, organisations must aim at thriving and not surviving in the market.