The coronavirus currently determines the news, economic and social world. But how should companies react to the panic in crisis communication?
I can’t remember when a topic last dominated public discourse like the coronavirus. Although, as a news consumer, I have largely switched on the way, it is worth taking a look at how companies deal with the epidemic.
Finally, there are different approaches and ways of crisis communication. These range from hysteria to attitude to hope.
Anyone who advises companies on communication and press matters probably knows the following e-mail text only too well: “Hi, please call through. Have mega idea for PR, could be great story! LG.”
So you take the mobile phone, call very briefly and listen to the supposed top idea of your customer. There are three scenarios in total:
- It’s actually a top idea and you go straight to work.
- The idea is not bad, but it needs to be packaged differently.
- Implementing the “story” is by no means an option.
There are occasions for such flashes of mind every day, also because the current news situation always offers opportunities for companies to communicate themselves.
With the coronavirus, however, there is currently a topic so autocratic about the news agenda that some seem to be carried away by the general madness without thinking and let bare actionism prevail instead of reason. Example pleasing?
A digital food brand provider has issued a press release proclaiming a “Corona discount.” Companies can use the company offer free of charge for one month.
In terms of content, this may be legitimate. But whether one really has to advertise with a “corona discount” and contribute to the general hysteria in a communication through phrases such as “rapid spread” can at least be questioned.
The fact that the brand sells “Happiness” as its concept in its claim makes the matter finally seem bizarre.
Clear stance in crisis communication does not need much space
As is currently evident in the most diverse areas of our society, attitude is far from self-evident. And also on the company side, curious cases can be observed again and again.
After all, as soon as an economically lucrative business beckons, the priorities shift abruptly. The fat and bold lyponed beliefs are then quickly put back in the back.
Lemonaid is a naturally refreshing brand that uses the coronavirus as an opportunity to communicate its convictions on two socially highly relevant topics.
The combination of originality and clarity in crisis communication is remarkable. Finally, the organic lemonade producer Twitter not even 120 characters to deliver.
In any case, the relevance of news topics is increasingly influenced by the dynamics of social networks. This time, Facebook seems to be aware of its responsibility as an information body for updates and breaking news on global phenomena such as the coronavirus.
Accordingly, two weeks ago, the company Promised, to examine questionable content that contributes to general scaremongering at least critically.
Crises create potential
Sure, Facebook’s power of opinion is undisputed. That is why it is the damn duty of Mark Zuckerberg and his team to ensure that the spread of fake news is contained. But where there are crises, there is always a degree of opportunism.
In this respect, Facebook may not be too unconcerned about the Corona madness. The company can repair damage caused in the past by the questionable handling of socially critical topics.
Basically, it is the case that one is the joy of the other suffering. If we now swap the substantive logic of this proverb, it is highly valid in view of the Corona crisis.
And by the supposed profiteers, I am not only referring to German retailers, who suddenly and quite surprisingly have so many quantities of disinfectants that they have Include sets in their assortment.
Tatsächlich gibt es Unternehmen und Produkte, die durch eine Krisensituation schlagartig an Bedeutung gewinnen. Thus, the popularity of technologies such as Augmented reality in the wake of the multitude of cancelled industry events abruptly.
And software vendors of remote tools such as Zoom or Teamviewer also sing a cheerful song about this development. The share prices of both companies are in the throes of Corona suddenly increased.
Awareness and content prevail in crisis communication
Even if those responsible would probably not resist riding a little on the virally driven wave of success, one does not want to be seen as a profiteer of the current health crisis. Nevertheless, both companies confirm that the number of users has risen sharply in recent weeks.
What Teamviewer has also found: In the current situation, Home office solutions sometimes implemented much faster than before. At a time when pretty much every company wants to be a modern and progressive employer, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
However, it is obviously also worth reporting when Apple is one of the global pioneers in new work his employees now work at home for a week Offers. Apple’s example shows that simple mechanisms work, especially in times of crisis.
If the name is big enough, he only needs to speak out on a prominent topic. It will then be heard regardless of the quality of the content. However, this also applies to those who really have to contribute substantials, regardless of the notoriety of their brand.
Either way, a short text to the competent consultant can never actually hurt to openly discuss a spontaneous idea – and to assess whether the supposed PR coup might also become a disaster.