How to communicate through the coronavirus crisis
Advice from PR professional, Erin Farrell-Talbot on how to communicate with customers, employees, and the media
This is part 2 in a series of posts to help sales and marketing leaders manage through the coronavirus crisis. The first post focused on advice from sales leaders to sales leaders. This second post focuses on communications.
One of the most important issues for leaders right now is what and how to communicate with your employees, customers, and the media.
I interviewed Erin Farrell-Talbot, of Farrell Talbot Consulting, to get her to take on what leaders should be doing right now.
Erin Farrell-Talbot has over 20 years of public relations experience with firms ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Having held key roles in corporate communications departments and public relations agencies, she has developed keen insights and perspectives as a communications and media relations strategist.
Here are the key takeaways:
Communications – The Big Picture
- It’s important to always to be on, you have to be connected with your clients and with your stakeholders
- Communicate often and communicate that you care, especially with employees and customers
Communicating with Customers
- Clearly, customers are nervous and fearful about their business. Be empathetic, authentic, and helpful.
- Communicate with your customers about your policies, what’s taking place right now in your business, and how they can work with you.
- Let them know you are there for them. Tell them how they can reach you, especially after hours.
- Don’t be self-serving. People want transparent, honest information that is helpful.
Communicating with Employees
- With employees, in particular, communication needs to be transparent and honest. It needs to be human as if you’re sitting across the table having coffee. Tell them how you are going to help them.
- Communications are not just one and done. It needs to be constant.
- Use all channels and media, not just email, but also zoom, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Slack channels and communicate broadly with all employees, regardless of where they’re getting their information.
Communicating with the Media
- Reporters are inundated right now by all kinds of PR people and sources on stories, but they have to keep writing, so you need to continue to communicate with them, especially about what’s going on in your business and with your clients.
- Most reporters have shifted their beats to cover the coronavirus and how it affects their normal beat. If they are a technology reporter, they are looking at how technology is helping, whether they are using AI tools or the internet of things and how that can help. If they are a beat reporter covering retail, they are looking at what this means for the retail industry and how this is drastically changing the way we shop.
- Your tone needs to be helpful and thoughtful. You must not be viewed as ambulance chasing.
- Don’t go dark. Don’t shut off your communications campaigns because we will come out of this eventually and the companies that have maintained a communications program will come out on the other side much better.
Other Interesting Links:
- Advice From Sales Leaders To Sales Leaders
- Agile Marketing In Healthcare – Podcast
- Brand Consolidation Approach In Healthcare
- Social Media Healthcare Marketing: Linkedln