Despite being in business for 30+ years and proudly weathering at least three recessions, HKA, like everyone else, is being forced to adjust to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. We are learning fast how to navigate a global health emergency that has far-reaching impact, and which has sprung up almost overnight. Like many others, we are working remotely as a virtual shop, after always being a brick-and-mortar agency.
What we know, without a doubt, is that in a crisis, companies must be purposeful in their communications. A crisis is a time for delivering clarity when things seem most confusing and a time for communicating often, though silence may seem appropriate. While economic uncertainty can paralyze even the most seasoned executive, this is when organizations must be bold in communicating value to their audiences. It is a time to lean in, not back away.
Marketing communications activities, including public relations, may be viewed as expendable during times of uncertainty, especially as compared to tangible expenses such as payroll, rent/mortgage and costs related to the selling of a product or service. But in many cases, this can be short-sighted.
In good times, differentiating your company and leading the conversation are important. In times of crisis, they are critical. There is little doubt the economy is in a state of turmoil. With so many people out of work, and so many companies closing their doors – temporarily, if not permanently – businesses that proactively plan and deploy smart marketing strategies will be the ones that survive – even thrive. Whether you have a business continuity plan to implement now, or need to develop one, ducking down to wait for the storm to blow over is not the best option.
Consider how some restaurants are dealing with this crisis. Those that immediately unleashed a strategic plan for remaining open are doing far better than those that shied away from marketing. Many are surviving by offering drive-through or takeout options using curbside pickup or delivery – boldly communicated online and with quickly produced in-person storefront signage – and by being transparent about their critical reliance on customers. Posting proactively and frequently about specials and discounts on Facebook, and leveraging popular neighborhood websites like Nextdoor, many restaurants have stayed open and have not resorted to layoffs.
The situation restaurants find themselves in is unique. It isn’t applicable to every industry. But the idea of proactive marketing is paramount. And the concept of communicating clearly and with purpose is universal. The world has changed but it won’t be like this forever. Customers will return. Will you be here when they do?
If you would like to talk about using effective marketing communications to help weather the storm, please contact us. No strings attached. This is what we do, and we do it well. We’re all in this together, and HKA is happy to see if we can help. We’re sorry we can’t offer an in-person meeting right now, but we’re just an email or phone call away.