Crisis management in times of COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder that much of what happens to us in life is beyond our control. The times of emerging threats, such as the one that has been taking place are, as a rule, ideal for rethink or reformulating the communication strategies in times of a company’s crisis management.

In this case, there have been varying degrees of crisis management, which differ from company to company. However, some situations are directly related to the spread of the virus and arise from cases of contamination within the company. But, in most cases, crisis management may be insufficient just because the companies’ communication offices feel overwhelmed and little prepared to communicate a situation of this dimension, first to their employees and then to the outside world.

Thus, there are some steps that must be taken into account when facing crisis communication situations:

1 – Anticipate the event

The biggest change that needs to happen is related to the way of thinking of companies, regarding crisis management, which should, whenever possible, change their perspective of reactive communication to plan possible scenarios proactively.

While most companies may be prepared to deal with a crisis communication, some may not anticipate equally important strategies, such as mapping the risks of each option and communicating the recovery phases after crisis management.  Prevention strategies can be especially important in communication for social networks, where feedback is direct and immediate and, in which digitization encouraged a change, not only in the speed of response but also in the content, channel and tone.

2 – Using technology in favour of the company

In times of crisis, digital tools may not be perfect, but they have a preponderant role when it comes to preserving data and, above all, they are extremely important in remote work situations, for example.

Analytics tools, whether predictive or not, can help the company prioritize potential system hacks as they help determine the likelihood of attacks. In this sense, companies that invest in technology to safeguard their cybersecurity are better prepared and are able, more easily, to understand what went less successful, what resulted and how to build better partnerships and alliances for the future.

3 – Preserving the company’s core values

The company’s culture and values are important pillars that help prevent a crisis and guide your response to one. Attention to detail and what is most essential to the organization’s culture can make the difference between effective damage control and more unfavourable situations.

So thatmanagers can help others within a company, it is necessary that they have support as well. In this sense, assigning specific roles, in a crisis communication situation may be important so that, at critical times, everyone knows what their role is and when it is necessary (or not) to involve someone else to guide work and help them succeed .

4 – Investing in Creative approaches

Different companies will face different challenges. In this context, it is important to invest in internal communication and solidify the corporate message, in a clear, but creative way.

Creativity can be the right way to overcome obstacles, whether referring to the company or its customers, in order to reach a target audience with transparency, empathy and honesty, preserving the human nature of the message.

5 – Prepare the return

It is essential that, from the beginning, in the crisis strategies to be implemented, possible post-crisis scenarios are also contemplated, so that organizations are able to derive insights on how they should prepare to become more robust in this return.

As we all know, in all crisis, there are companies that can adapt more quickly, recovering more easily or having less significant impact than others. According to BCG, for example, about 14% of companies increase revenues and margin in times of crisis.

In this way, there are several examples of companies, which anticipated scenarios and changes in behaviour and sought to take advantage of them, changing their business model to face the drop in sales and respond to new needs in times of pandemic. If they used to make 3D prints or car parts, now they manufacture visors. If they used to produce textiles or beer, now they make disinfectant.

Regardless of the scenarios, it is essential that organizations do not underestimate the importance of preparing and creating an effective crisis management strategy, because only then will they be one step ahead of their competition.


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