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Five things that should be driving comms now


Communicating as a business right now feels high stakes – because it is. Get it wrong and it will be remembered. Strike the right chord with staff and external audiences and you have the potential to galvanise the very thing that will help your business survive and prosper – good people.

Story MD Amanda shares her view on the five things all businesses need to consider in their comms now.

#1 Be human

At any time, but in a crisis more than ever. Humanity, empathy, honesty and humility go a long way in connecting with people.

The popularity of people like Jacinda Adhern, the PM of New Zealand is evidence if ever it were needed. Engaging in a virtual public Q&A after putting her baby to bed, at home on the couch. She became relatable and believable before she even spoke.

Take off the corporate mask and speak like a human being

#2 Your staff

Your staff are THE leading ambassador for your brand. Surveys throughout lockdown have shown people taking more notice of how brands treat their staff and making decisions about where to spend or not spend their money in future based on those actions.

Well informed, heard and engaged staff are fundamental to successful businesses and will be crucial to recovery. Real people telling true, positive stories about their working experience will be increasingly powerful as brands look to rebuild trust and confidence.

#3 More comms, not less

Time and again cutting marketing and comms has been shown to be a false economy.  History has shown that those businesses that continue to spend in a downturn are the first to thrive in a recovering economy.

Mark Ritson, the notorious marketing professor, points to recessionary data from the 1920 – 1990, that highlights how the brands which invested more, not less, fared better in terms of customer loyalty, acquisition and growth long term. Those that reduced spend and then upped it, even at much higher levels, never regained the growth of those who had invested significantly.

Key lesson – think before you cut back on telling your stories. Your audience might not be there to listen when you return.

#4 Create and grow a community

As more people, particularly the under 35s, have moved further towards having direct relationships with brands, the formation and power of communities of ‘fans’ has grown exponentially.

As a team with a focus on fitness and wellbeing during the pandemic, we embraced Gymshark’s and Joe Wick’s efforts to bring people together with a shared goal of keeping safe, healthy and raising money for the NHS. They made it easy and fun for complete strangers of all ages and abilities to get involved and unite under a common goal. With user generated content and people led campaigns showing high engagement levels, many brands should look at creating and maintaining ‘fan’ communities.

#5 Get your house in order

Now, more than ever, it’s clear that what people want is brands and businesses they can trust.

This means being honest and transparent. Noting and owning your failings, AND highlighting what you are doing to be better.

As long as you have been fair and open in your dealings with all staff, suppliers and customers, you will be able to build on this goodwill, internally and externally, to kickstart your recovery, but it won’t be easy and you need to keep talking to the market.

The coronavirus crisis has placed on warp speed many of the moves we all knew were coming. The acceleration of digital comms, the need to tell a people-led story, to do the right thing within and outside our business. It is and will continue to force businesses to take a hard look at themselves, what they stand for, what they stand against and how they can innovate to ensure they remain relevant and competitive in a tough recovery landscape.

To talk more about how to get your business’s comms right please drop me a line: amanda@wearestorycomms.com.

 

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