It Came Out of Nowhere.
As a communications professional, you're always looking forward. The past is the past and crafting future messaging and calendars gives a sense of control and it gives everyone involved an expectation of what will happen next. That sounds great, doesn't it? Routine, schedule, planning? Well what happens when you have an entire window of the future blocked out for a client bursting with events, social media posts, video production and it all gets wiped right off the board when something like COVID-19 comes along.
It's fair to say that everyone panics. They scramble to understand what this means for their organization, staff, clients and fiscal well being. And that's ok, for them to panic. However, the communications team will not ( and should not) panic, because as a professional in this industry, you know that crisis communications is a hat you will wear. So you pivot and bring your clients with you.
What does it look like to pivot at the beginning of a crisis? Well for one, you toss out your ideas of what was supposed to happen, create a brand new strategy and get to work. During COVID-19, posting lighthearted messages and photos on social media would be tone deaf, hosting events to raise money for an organization was just not an option and none of the media wanted to talk about anything other than COVID-19.
At White Birch Communications we quickly figured out a way to align our new messaging with what the media AND the public wanted and needed to hear about. It was sympathetic to those struggling through this time while still maintaining relevance when everything was coming to a halt. Many of our clients offer valuable and necessary services, and they remained open and operating through it all. It was our job to insert that messaging any way possible so the community knew that if they needed help, our client was there.
Though it's important to move quickly, it's as important to be thoughtful and mindful and strategic. Your communication team should take the time to understand the crisis, understand what it means for your clients and be mindful of the messaging.