Crisis Playbook

Communications

When navigating troubling times, employees want to hear from their leaders, and that’s true now more than ever. They want to be inspired, to get practical solutions for real challenges, and a vision for the future that gives them hope. In this guide, you will learn best practices for communicating during a crisis, along with effective tactics to communicate with your employees, customers and the families you serve.

Create A Clearly-Defined

COMMUNICATION PLAN

Create a Clearly-Defined COMMUNICATION PLAN

Inspire & Inform

Create a clearly defined communication plan to inspire and inform your employees and customers during this uncertain time. Fear is a virus and it thrives in companies and cultures that don’t communicate openly and often.

Keep Everybody Updated

Make sure your employees know where to get up to date information, whether on a website, email, conference calls, video conferences etc.

Stay Connected

Now more than ever, your employees need to hear from you. Conduct daily video conferences with your entire team, to inspire and inform them about everything that is going on and to gather feedback on what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Fast Facts:

DID YOU KNOW?

Productivity improves

UP TO

25%

in organizations with
connected employees

Effective Communication with Employees & Customers

Chief Encouragement Officer

In bad times, your title is Chief Encouragement Officer. Look for opportunities to recognize your team and celebrate victories along the road to recovery.

Inspire your team

Share stories of wars won together in the past, to assure them that we will win again and “this too shall pass”. Share videos that inspire your team to use their time to constantly learn, grow and improve, personally and professionally. View Sample Video

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
Secretary of State & General Colin Powell

Water what you want to grow

Catch your employees doing something good, and celebrate them publicly, to inspire others to imitate their positive example. Water what you want to grow, and it will.

Appreciation goes a long way

How you treat your employees will directly drive how they treat your customers, so love and serve them and they’ll do the same for others.

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Seek to understand

The key to good communications is less about what you say and more about what you hear. The best communicators don’t always say the right thing or have all the right answers, they ask the right questions and leverage the wisdom of others. They listen and learn, then they speak more intelligently, and their audience listens more because they feel understood.

Hard times require hard decisions

Discuss challenges openly with your team, invite them to help you find the causes and solutions, because they’ll be more likely to buy into a plan they helped create.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

When communicating in crisis, delivering tough news can be tough to hear, so be honest and straightforward, but speak with empathy, sincerity and compassion. It costs nothing to make people feel good, but it can cost you a lot if you don’t.

Be there when they need you most

Many families are struggling, experiencing fear and personal pain, from the uncertainty and fallout from the crisis. Acknowledge their pain, listen and learn how you can help or connect them with someone who can. Equip them with the Corona Care Guide to help them protect themselves & their family.

State the facts:

Connect employees to timely, accurate information from CDC, WHO and your State and County Health Departments. Provide clear instructions about what to do if employees suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19.

Demystify the fear and outline the steps the organization is taking on behalf of its employees:

Communicate the facts from authoritative resources on how COVID-19 is spread and how to avoid infection. Clearly articulate and communicate preventive actions the organization is taking to avert or contain transmission of COVID-19 at work (focus on technology and techniques for employee safety, hygiene, biohazard disposal)

Promote safety steps that employees can take at work:

Use posters, memos, emails, intranet postings, supervisor talking points, FAQs, etc. to promote preventive actions employees can take (hygiene and avoidance) – see WHO and CDC recommendations.

Describe the impact on the organization:

Describe the potential impact of an outbreak on your operations, services, travel, supply chain, business, revenues, etc., so employees can plan accordingly.

Summarize company policies/positions:

Describe health plan coverage (preventive and treatment), attendance, paid time off, payroll continuation, travel, and group meetings.

Articulate work-from-home policies:

One of the most effective strategies for limiting the spread of contagion among employees is to reduce human-to-human contact. If your organization supports telecommuting practices, clearly articulate procedures and expectations that employees should follow.

Promote safe travel policies:

Consider the organization’s stance on employee travel and restrictions. Promote alternatives to travel, such as web conferencing and phone meetings. If employees must travel, offer clear guidance on safety protocols, augmenting with guidance from CDC and WHO.

Protect Your Employees & FAMILIES YOU SERVE

You are a leader in your community and your people need you now more than ever. Help the families you serve by educating them on how to protect themselves and those they love. Below is a Corona Care Guide for families & businesses, with valuable information you can share with everyone you serve.

Corona Care Guides

For Families & Businesses

Corona CARE GUIDES

For Families & Businesses

The Corona Care Guide provides the information you need to protect yourself & those you love.

In the guide, you will find best practices to:

  • Understand the COVID-19 virus
  • Prepare your facilities, at work & home, to protect yourself & others from the virus
  • Prevent yourself & others from getting & transmitting the virus
  • Identify symptoms of the virus compared to the traditional flu
  • Care for those who are sick

Marketing

In this guide we’ve outlined best practices for how to market your business during these uncertain times. There are times to play defense and times to play offense, and you’ll need to be prepared to market to your customers in both scenarios, depending on market dynamics. Not all messages and marketing mediums are created equal, so it’s important, In this highly sensitive time, to strike the right tone In your messaging and to utilize mediums that provide a measurable, short term ROI, so you generate and conserve your capital through the challenging times.

Pivot Your

MARKETING STRATEGY & INVESTMENT

Measurable marketing

In a time of crisis, demand decreases, so it is more important than ever to only invest in marketing strategies that give you an immediate ROI. Delay long-term brand-building campaigns, and invest in strategies that target in-market consumers that have a high probability of doing business with you now. Choose channels that allow you to target and measure each campaign.

Drive online sales

Direct investments toward marketing tactics that drive online sales. Shift budgets to promoting at-home and delivery-based options.

Audit your creative for the new reality

Ensure that all of the creative elements — tone, copy, visuals, keywords, placements — are appropriate and relevant to the current environment. Feature the most relevant products or campaigns and consider ways your brand can be helpful in this moment of need.

Serve first, sell second

Protect & serve your employees, customers, and community by promoting and providing your business’s Corona Care Guide for Families. This is not only a brand-building opportunity, it is a bond-building opportunity with those you serve.

Communicating with

your customers

Communicate how you are protecting your customers

Communicate with your customers the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they will be protected when they visit your business. They may have concerns about exposure.

We are open for business

Many consumers have been left wondering what businesses are open, and what business are closed. Consider launching a “We are Open” business strategy so consumers know you are open and ready for business. In this strategy, you can effectively communicate with your customers using an omni-channel approach to service their needs.

Inform customers about incentive programs

Educate your customers on all the programs that could help them save money on their vehicle during this difficult time. Manufacturers are offering unprecedented programs and incentives. Create and implement a campaign that targets in-market customers to promote the new programs and incentives, so you are prepared before your competition enters the market.

Watch your tone

It is critically important to maintain the appropriate tone in all marketing messages, to avoid anything that could give consumers the wrong impression of your business during this sensitive time.

No-contact service

If possible, implement a no-contact experience from start to finish. This could include pick up, delivery, virtual showrooms, and electronic forms of payment.

Target

IN-MARKET CUSTOMERS

Recessions decrease demand, so it’s more important to target in-market customers than ever.

Channels that enable targeting, measurability & immediate ROI are:

  1. Search
  2. Targeted pre-roll & video ads
  3. Social Media Marketing (Facebook & Instagram)
  4. Direct mail

PSA

Public service announcement

Consider running an ad or asking your local TV rep if they would run a PSA to educate your community on ways to protect their families. Share the Corona Care Guide for Families as well as inspiring messages that bring everyone together. You can also run these videos on your YouTube channel, social media pages, & website. Here is an example of a video of what one association created to help communicate to their customers during this crisis.

Digital

Retailing Solutions

Offer an online buying process

While your physical brick and mortar may be limited at this time, to best support your customers while practicing social distancing, take this time to utilize the online buying process. Consider offering consumers the ability to do everything online and to have products or services sent directly to their home. Set up technology, people and processes to ensure a fluid pick-up and delivery experience for customers.

Action Plan

Actions

ActionWhoWhen
Schedule an all-hands meeting to review & distribute the Corona Care Guide for Businesses with your employees
Share Corona Care Guide for Families with all your employees, customers, vendors, partners, and community via email, text, website, social media, and other direct channels
Create a clearly defined communication plan to update your employees, customers, partners, vendors, and community
Make sure your employees know where to get up to date information, whether on a website, email, conference calls, video conferences etc.
Conduct daily video conferences to inspire and inform your team and to gather feedback
Look for opportunities to recognize your team and celebrate victories publicly, to inspire others
Discuss challenges openly with your team, invite them to help you find the causes and solutions
Provide resources for employees that are experiencing hardship. Listen for ways you can help or connect them with someone who can.
Share videos that inspire and inform your team on how they can use this challenging time to learn, grow and improve, personally and professionally
Carefully consider your messaging – state the facts, outline the impact, share safety measures with your employees
Articulate work-from-home, time-off, and travel policies to your employees; update on an as-needed basis
Create assets that outline to your customers the measures you are taking to
ensure the safety of your employees and your customers
Shift budgets to promoting online sales and at-home and delivery-based options
Postpone long-term marketing investments
Audit creative to ensure relevance and appropriate tone for the current environment
Re-engineer operations to deliver contactless commerce
  • Share Corona Care Guide for Families with all your employees, customers, vendors, partners, and community via email, text, website, social media, and other direct channels

  • Create a clearly defined communication plan to update your employees, customers, partners, vendors, and community

  • Make sure your employees know where to get up to date information, whether on a website, email, conference calls, video conferences etc.

  • Conduct daily video conferences to inspire and inform your team and to gather feedback

  • Look for opportunities to recognize your team and celebrate victories publicly, to inspire others.Look for opportunities to recognize your team and celebrate victories publicly, to inspire others

  • Discuss challenges openly with your team, invite them to help you find the causes and solutions

  • Provide resources for employees that are experiencing hardship. Listen for ways you can help or connect them with someone who can.

  • Share videos that inspire and inform your team on how they can use this challenging time to learn, grow and improve, personally and professionally

  • Carefully consider your messaging – state the facts, outline the impact, share safety measures with your employees

  • Articulate work-from-home, time-off, and travel policies to your employees; update on an as-needed basis

  • Create assets that outline to your customers the measures you are taking to ensure the safety of your employees and your customers

  • Shift budgets to promoting online sales and at-home and delivery-based options

  • Postpone long-term marketing investments

  • Audit creative to ensure relevance and appropriate tone for the current environment

  • Re-engineer operations to deliver contactless commerce

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