5 Crisis Recovery Tips for Brands
With the prolonged COVID-19, companies are bracing themselves for a long road to recovery. Switching to survival mode, many have streamlined their operations and pivoted to new business opportunities to stay afloat. Over the past months, Cision and PR Newswire have held a series of webinars on adapting communications strategy in the new normal. We round up 5 helpful crisis recovery tips on navigating the communications challenges ahead.
1. Prepare for a bumpy re-entry journey
As companies begin to re-open, the route to recovery will not be straightforward. In an interview with Cision, Matthew Della Croce, Global President and Partner at communications agency Allison+Partners, said: “Re-entry is going to be a dynamic process that involves several stages of turbulence and changes before we finally get to something approaching an equilibrium.” He added that brands need to plan for a sequence of re-entries that vary in speed and intensity, which will test their organization and their stakeholders in different ways.
2. Start with short-term opportunities
Prioritizing short-term plans is the best way to stay nimble, according to Della Croce. He shared that Allison+Partners’ immediate plans emphasize on the next three months’ ‘sprint’. He explained: “As an agency, this means managing our business and our client work in sprints to enable rapid and agile adjustments to day-to-day operations for ourselves and the strategy and execution we provide for our clients.”
3. Agility is the new stability
Being agile is the main feature of the comms strategy plans of fast-food giant McDonald’s for entering the new normal. In a Cision interview, David Tovar, Vice President, U.S. Communications at McDonald’s shared the chain’s reopening sequence in 4 phases: crisis, recovery, revival and the next normal. Different messaging and communication outlets are required for each phase. He shared: “It’s important to be agile, be genuine, be authentic and most importantly be current with the information that is shared.”
Tovar also shared 3 key points to remember:
- Maintain a predictable cadence and align your system’s needs with the right voices at the right time.
- Prepare the right content be flexible and be able to modify quickly as the system mindset shift and/ or re-direction is needed.
- Monitor operator sentiment and be able to connect the dots for the strategic leadership team based on real-time, dynamic measurement.
4. Regain trust among stakeholders
The COVID-19 crisis has abruptly disrupted normalcy and brands need to re-establish a sense of assurance with their stakeholders. According to Deloitte Insights, businesses need to think from their stakeholders’ perspectives and consider four dimensions of trust: physical, emotional, financial, and digital. Physical trust involves keeping spaces safe, emotional trust safeguards people’s emotional and societal needs, financial trust is about maintaining strong economic health, and digital trust involves securing the privacy and transfer of information.
5. Build up brand resilience
It is a critical time for companies to strengthen their brand resilience, which increases its capacity to anticipate and respond to challenges. Brand resilience, which is achieved by building up reputation and earning trust, will be imperative in the new normal, according to John Kerr, CEO of Edelman Singapore, who spoke at a PR Newswire webinar on crisis recovery.
“The best path towards resilience is agility and planning for the reality of dealing with multiple issues that pop up every day,” he said. “As long as you have coherence and everything is defendable from what you say and what you do, then you should be okay.”
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, consumers are looking to brands not only to demonstrate leadership during challenging times but to also help, assist and serve. Hence, brands need to adapt to the new world, alongside with their consumers. An Edelman article states the five attributes of brand resilience: risk-tolerant, providing useful and needed service, values-led operations, connecting with stakeholders through meaningful relationships and adaptability.
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This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.