Strategy is communication's basis
11/09/2020 • Blog
1. To what degree did the COVID-19 crisis highlight the importance of strategic communications?
Strategy is at the very core of communication, regardless of the fact whether it is a usual working environment we are talking about, or a specific, such as the time we are currently living in, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Good communication requires serious strategy and support to business with the help of communication. The pandemic brought unique reputational and communication challenges for companies because all, without exception, and regardless of the industry had to adjust to new business method and new environment in which they do business. It is certain that the pandemic has helped make communications a more visible priority for companies’ top management because the COVID-19 crisis hit everyone and messages for employees, associates, investors, buyers, partners, regulatory bodies etc. had to be conveyed by means of timely, accurate and transparent communication. Therefore, I dare say that unfortunately, the pandemic had to happen, in order to raise awareness about the importance of communications for many people.
2. How well did Serbian brands respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and how quickly? (list an example of one good and one possibly ill-timed communication)
They responded equally well and quickly, or equally bad and slowly as anywhere else in the world. The COVID-19 virus remains an unsolved riddle for the world as a whole; everything happened so fast, especially in March and April, and all companies had similar targets, namely to take care of their employees and continue their business activities with new models and with the implementation of safety measures, to preserve jobs and then, as I have previously mentioned, share obtained information with other target groups in a timely fashion. At the beginning, internal and, when necessary, external communication, were the most important types of communication. Practically at the same time companies were also drafting crisis scenarios. Later on, when everyone „got used“ to the pandemic, regular brand communication was continued.
3. What potential risks the lack of communication with target audience brings in situations like these? Can silence during the crisis harm the brand and to what extent?
Communication must not stop. By no means. In times we live in, in unprecedented circumstances, we cannot sit still and watch what others are doing, wait on the sidelines and then decide to follow in the footsteps of others. No, in the current circumstances, both brands and companies were forced to grasp a unique role their brand has in people’s lives, understand the changes brought by the pandemic, how our work methods and our lifestyle have changed, and figure out how to make both the brand and the company useful during the crisis. In addition, while looking for opportunities, we, in Chapter 4, advised our clients to do the right thing in line with their business activities, join certain socially-responsible projects for greater good, all in accordance with the values, the mission and the vision of the company in question. The same as people, brands should adjust their tone of communication to the context. Now more than ever, both companies and brands must show empathy and understanding for their customers and their needs with adjusted communication. Silence is not only very expensive when it comes to brand; it has the power of completely destroying it. As if the brand itself has never existed.
The text is initially prepared for Adbooka, publication dedicated to creative industry in Adriatic region.