public relations covid-19 responses

At this point, you and your business have had to react to the increased concern and recommendations related to maintaining the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Not since the attacks of September 11, 2001, has a crisis has so quickly transformed the economy. Small businesses will be the hardest hit and they comprise 44 percent of the U.S. economy, according to the Washington Post

You may have already delivered some form of announcement to your constituents. If you have made such an announcement, you’ll need to continue to address the impact of COVID-19 for your customers, supporters, staff, and volunteers. We’ve worked on several announcements and have been devouring others from different sectors including nonprofits, tattoo shops, fitness studios, retail boutiques and restaurants.

cover-19 response

Below are a few good examples:

Mod & Soul – a fashion retail boutique has two physical locations and serves customers online. They announced on social media where most of their customers interact with them. They have offered discounts to shop online, free shipping, and returns. 

CARITAS: This nonprofit provides services to people experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders. Its service delivery model was impacted in many ways. They delivered a series of responses over email, on its blog, and across social channels. The responses reference local and regional sources. They continue to update on social regularly.

Loose Screw TattooRichmond based tattoo shop created a fun graphic to deliver its message on social media. More detailed responses will roll out over the next week. 

When you click on the links above, you’ll realize that each business had a different set of concerns and messages that they needed to share. We are proud to help them craft those messages. We’ve been reading many more messages from a variety of organizations and businesses. 

Below are a few of the characteristics we’ve determined make an effective, positive, and even beneficial COVID-19 announcement. 

Transparency

Now is the time to be vulnerable with your customers and supporters. Let them know exactly what your protocols have been in the past and what they are going forward. Leave no questions. Your announcement is an opportunity to build a even deeper bond of trust. As we’ve written before, trust is the foundation to any good relationship. Marketing is the best way to build that trust with your customers, present and future.

Reference the Experts

It’s not enough to tell your constituents that you are closing or tightening up your cleaning activities. They need to know that you are following the highest, most effective recommendations. Reference organizations including the WHOCDC and your local health department. This will instill confidence and also demonstrate that you are not a part of a wave of panic, but part of a very sensical system response.

Specific Call to Action

If business cannot operate as usual, which is highly likely, be sure you are sharing clear opportunities to still engage with your brand. People need direction right now. It’s likely that your loyal customers still want to support you. Volunteers and donors are still eager to make an impact. Make sure they do it the right way and they have the tools to do so.

That includes offering virtual workouts, providing free delivery or pick up, promoting gift card purchases, showcasing virtual consultations, and sharing links to donate. If you are still open for business, make clear suggestions on how to visit, such as limiting the number of people who come with customers to appointments. If you’re a nonprofit, make sure people now the most useful things to help you. Make sure it’s easy to find and click on the right links.

A sense of calm

cover-19 richmond

As we’re all aware, a bit of panic has overcome individuals, businesses and the media. The rates of anxiety will increase as the situation progresses. We’re all in need of some relief when it comes to anxiety, especially if we are predisposed. Play your part in reducing fears. Make sure your message is heard and readers want to respond. There are words and phrases to use in those not to use. Your message has the potential to feel almost therapeutic to its readers. The organizations who use calming language will be consumed and remembered more thoroughly. 

Rinse and Repeat

New global and local updates will impact your business and organization. Revisit your network often to share new ways you are changing your business to keep customer and staff safe. Showcase new business offerings. Provide something positive in a somewhat uncertain world. Now is the time to nurture your relationships, not leave them to collect dust.

Let Us Know if We Can Help!

If you’re looking for help crafting your messaging, we’re here to help! 

We’re offering free copy writing and strategic planning to new businesses. 

Send an email to hello@sweettalkstrategy.com