Few of us have experienced a health crisis like this, but we know that far from being time to ‘slow down’, this period can instead be a time of great productivity. It can provide a rare opportunity to plan, evaluate and perhaps more importantly, review and improve internal practices.
For many businesses, the coming year is going to see huge upheaval in the way work is done. At Allegory we are fortunate that we can continue working in a remote environment – thanks to the wonders of video conferencing – and carry on delivering effective communications for our clients at a time of great uncertainty. We know that many of our clients are going to have to take a different approach to communications, but a pandemic does not mean you have to stop engaging with people. In fact, it creates a challenge to interact in new and different ways.
Keeping communications relevant and effective
We are yet to see the long-term effect that remote working will have on the population, both physically and mentally, but communications teams around the world may now have time to look inwards and tackle key internal tasks that usually get pushed to the bottom of the to do list. Some of these might have now become essential as remote working requires greater organisation and clarity internally, so as to provide for business continuity, and communicate well externally. These activities might include nailing down (or reviewing) your brand positioning, creating useful and relevant content for people in times of crisis, looking at your business continuity plans and overall business strategy, hosting virtual events and becoming more active on your social media channels.
Below we’ve outlined some internal projects that we have been working on inside our agency and with our clients. They’re important right now, but will also guarantee that your external communications make an impact once the threat of Covid-19 passes. Here’s our top five:
Embrace digital and try new tools
Businesses across all sectors are having to embrace digital in order to survive. At Allegory we had a head start when it comes to remote working because, as a business, we were already fully equipped to make the transition. Why not investigate how tools and resources can help automate slow processes or enable more social interaction in the team? We love The Coronavirus Tech Handbook.
Contribute the relevant content in online conversations
Social media has played a huge role in the spread of information throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Every business and every individual has a story to tell but sharing information in broadcast-modes not always the most effective approach. We advise our clients to think on a micro level, to get involved in conversations within a community – either locally or on a specific topic of interest. It is likely that your insights are going to be better received and more relevant, allowing you to have better engagement with your audiences.
Build a content bank with support from the whole team
You can never have too much relevant, quality content that can be shared across all your channels. A clear understanding of your audiences’ challenges and motivations will make the production process easier, ensuring that your content has a clear message and call to action. However research is key to not replicating content that already exists – there are only so many tips relating to making yourself look good on Zoom calls!
Develop specialised Covid-19 personas
Understanding where your audience is now, and where you want them to be, is a crucial step in strategic planning that can easily be forgotten. Use this time to think about what impact Covid-19 could be having on them, the problems they may be facing, and how they are having to adapt. Showing empathy and an awareness of the struggles your audiences may be facing in a time of crisis will go a long way and you will be remembered for all the right reasons.
Get the team involved with business planning and refining strategy
This is possibly the most important element of communications planning, yet it often gets forgotten. Organisations will be contingency planning and having to rapidly adapt ways of working to operate in the current situation. Think about your organisation’s aims, objectives and overarching business goals, and make sure the communications strategy is aligned with these. If possible, share this process with the team to ensure that all employees feel connected to and invested in the business – in the long run this work will streamline communications and resonate more with audiences.
These five projects are always worth thinking about, but the next few months might give you a reason to look at things again in light of the current crisis. The results of thoughtful communication at this moment in time will be evident long after the pandemic is over. We understand that many communications professionals have been furloughed, and we are not recommending taking part in these activities if this is the case. There is voluntary work that furloughed staff can sign up to and apply their communications skill to, for instance The PR Initiative. The projects listed above are exactly what short-staffed charities need help with in order to make their communications effective and relevant in times of crisis.
Can Allegory help you?
If you need support in any of these areas, please get in contact with our Business Development manager, Simon Davies firstname.lastname@example.org.