PR in the time of the pandemic

04/21/2020   •   Blog
PR in the time of the pandemic
The corona virus pandemic has stopped all activities around the world and the business and lives of people. In spite of the enormous technological advancement of mankind, the human race has been shown to have failed in the most basic postulates of humanity, namely solidarity among nations, states, we read that some prohibit the export of medical equipment that means life, others "steal" humanitarian shipments intended for third parties. others, under the pretext of caring for the population, introduced emergency situations in violation of basic democratic principles, namely freedom of movement and freedom of speech, and there are many such examples ...

In essence, a pandemic brought the human race back to the basics of existence - survival. Some jobs are completely disabled, such as travel that brings with it the survival of millions of jobs of people working in tourism, hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, museums, galleries ... Overnight and changed our business and personal life. All that we can do, we in Chapter 4 have been moving from work to home since March 13, others under certain controlled conditions, in terms of protection, are working so that the rest of us can survive, that's what I mean by medical staff, manufacturers medicines, protective equipment - masks, disinfectants ... food, vendors, pharmacists ...

Everyone who could upload their business online did so, stopped publishing, not all, print magazines and started publishing online, as most companies and brands stopped or almost completely stopped their marketing campaigns and PR activities.

In these times of crisis and difficult times, it shows how important communications really are, not to mention the most important business segment, as well as relationships with all publics - internal, external, consumers, business partners, institutions, local communities ...

In fact, the pandemic has put communication at the forefront and the center of events. Every day we get different messages from experts in the field - doctors, state representatives, business leaders, which differ in tone and content depending on who speaks.

In a situation full of unknowns like this, it seems like the only thing we have is communication. Good communication lets people know what they need to do, how to protect themselves and others, and helps them balance their fears with the specific information they receive. And that means that communication must be, as usual, timely, accurate, clear and transparent.

Even when we are quarantined, coronavirus should not compromise the strategy that companies and brands have. The audience still wants and needs to get information from brands. Journalists also need pandemic-free news to share with their audience. In my opinion, it is not necessary to stop everything, but to find a way to adapt the messages to the current situation and to share relevant information with the media, and through them to the target public. Of course, certain projects should be delayed, but communication and marketing should not stop altogether.

Brands and companies need to show that they are first and foremost supportive of their employees and then supportive of the community. Through internal communication, they must show that their employees are the most important resource and that they will do everything to protect them, both physically and mentally, to try to preserve all or as many jobs as possible. With regard to social responsibility, in recent weeks we have seen how much companies have donated products, money to provide basic livelihoods to the most vulnerable fellow citizens, to donations through necessary medical equipment.

It is logical that the interests of the users have changed during this time. With that in mind, companies and brands need to understand how corona virus affects their product and service, and how they target their public, what their priorities are, and how to convey their messages to their users. By answering these questions we will come to the conclusion which content and campaigns are adequate, which should be set aside and wait for all this to pass.

Of course, companies and brands have to be careful about promoting content during a pandemic, because the virus is still at the top of everyone's list of priorities. It is not time to insert random content into one's social media feeds or other communication and sales channels. If you do, it could be misunderstood and cause negative reactions.

Some brands continue to publish regular content while sharing important information related to the corona virus. It shows their audience that they are involved in what is happening while still delivering top quality content.

Other brands have decided to switch their social strategy to shared specific tips related to the corona virus that will help their audience during this difficult time.

The point is to continue to engage your audience with a healthy dose of empathy.

We live in uncertain times, but that doesn't mean you can't still have successful PR and marketing strategists.

Author: Milena Avramović Bjelica

The text is initially written for the portal Sve o novcu