5 Tips + Considerations For Communication During These Uncertain Times
"It’s important to remember that you and everyone around you has never been here before. There’s no playbook. Because of this, you’re going to need
to be as flexible and nimble as possible." – Forbes
We’ve received heartfelt and heartbreaking communications from our favorite restaurants, retailers, coffee shops, banks, and more. We’ve also received tone-deaf ones.
Providing leadership and refining marketing communication during a time of crisis is hard, and until now, there’s been a general playbook of guidelines. We’re in strange times, unusual times.
As an Atlanta-based branding firm with a deep expertise in market research and content creation for fintechs, banks, payment solutions, and healthcare benefit providers, we’re sharing 5 tips B2B brands should consider as they communicate during this crisis.
Tip #1 First and foremost – it’s time to put people first, before business.
For years, we’ve been reminding C.E.K. & Partners' clients, B2B brands, whether they’re here in Atlanta or in Toronto, London, Sydney or LA, that communication should have a tone that reflects people speaking to people. What’s even more important right now is content creation using a tone of voice that is both authentic and empathic.
As companies rush to connect with customers and offer a sense of trust and safety, communication during this COVID-19 crisis doesn’t need to be perfect, as we're navigating unchartered territory together. But it must seek to balance any company updates and information with words and corresponding actions to show that you value and care about them as people.
Show heart. Acknowledge the vulnerability we are all experiencing.
Tip #2 Strike a chord with relevancy – it’s time to be spot on with what matters to the reader now.
While you might have taken the time to develop a content strategy and content calendar, these times underscore the need for it to be flexible.
Whether you're communicating to SMBs, merchants or enterprise-size customers, today's communication must balance your expertise with providing updates to your services and offering helpful resources.
As you create content consider answering these types of questions:
Will there be a disruption in service?
Will hours of operation change?
Will additional digital tools be offered to support communication?
Will software trials or monthly fees be reduced or waived?
Will customer support be readily available? If so, are there new hours?
Will the limit on monthly transactions be waived?
Will deadlines be affected with software releases?
Tip #3 Choose photography and images thoughtfully.
Now is the time to create content and communication that visually reflects your leadership’s and brand’s actions and words. Choose images and photography that exude reliability, confidence and stability. Customers want to know that, well, that you’ve got their back.
While words matter, the accompanying imagery should match.
Be mindful to select imagery that avoids high-fives, a team huddle, or even a simple handshake.
Tip #4 Evaluate the needed frequency of your communication.
The news cycle is faster than we’ve ever experienced with continual updates to rules, guidelines and deadlines.
While you might typically send out customer communication monthly, there may be a need to communicate with customers more regularly – for an interim period of time. Or, you may want to consider moving up or back your pre-planned communication date. That’s okay.
Tip #5 Explore and identify the right channel for different communication.
In natural disasters, social channels have provided the connection people need both emotionally and literally, as in being able to have companies with disrupted service post tips and updates.
As you create content and communication, be mindful of how it should be distributed. For organizations with a leaner structure, such as a local or regional bank, changes to hours of operation might be easiest and quickest to post on social channels. Larger organizations might be able to swiftly update their website with a new page or establish a microsite with key information.
We've Got Your Back!
There’s no one right way to get through these times. One thing is certain, we’re all in this together. We’re here to be supportive as your needs flex and change – no matter how big or small.
What you might not know is that our team is operating business as usual. We’re well versed in operating remotely – and as companies have limited resources or need a specific expertise, we’ll be operating in a more on-demand and flexible way to help you get through these tough times and be well-prepared for when we’re on the other side of this crisis.
About C.E.K. & Partners
Our team is passionate about delivering strategic insights that transform brands. Clients across a range of industries – fintech, technology, banks, payments, financial services, health care, manufacturing and purpose-driven – benefit from our team's ability to mine data and extract gems from market research to find insights that truly differentiate their brands. We guide and position them to reach the next level. We help companies establish thought leadership and we create content that builds awareness and drives demand.
We’re a woman-owned business. We’re here to help – even if it is just connecting with a virtual cup of coffee.
Relevant Tools + Articles:
Leading in the Midst of Uncertainty