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BEST PRACTICES FOR OPERATING IN A COVID-19 WORLD



March 26, 2020

As we navigate these uncharted waters together, it’s now more important than ever that we extend our hands (metaphorically, of course), open our hearts and lift each other up. Our team has been working hard to support each other and our clients during this time of uncertainty while proactively adapting to this ever-changing environment. We’ve been able to help strategically navigate a myriad of issues while finding opportunities to bring people together for the greater good.

In this spirit of community, we thought it might be beneficial to share a few best practices we’ve developed to help others during this challenging time.

Stay well,
Brian Signature

ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Adjust planned content and tone to reflect the current situation
Pause pre-scheduled content and consider what new content will best serve your community. Choose the most appropriate channel for each post based on message, audience and tone – share thought leadership with your business community on LinkedIn and reserve team-focused updates for Instagram (follow our Instagram stories at @briancomms for a look at how the team is bonding while working from home).

Share meaningful stories that demonstrate brand values
Social channels offer the opportunity to connect on a human level and the chance to share the ideals at the heart of your company. Identify authentic and appropriate moments to engage in ongoing conversations with key audiences and stakeholders.

Offer resources that only you can provide your audience
Use your social reach for positive impact by sharing unique insights, data and experiences your organization can offer.

 

SHARE A CLEAR, UNIFIED MESSAGE

Define the key messages you would like to communicate to your internal and external stakeholders
Draft messages in your company’s voice in a tone that reflects the context and severity of the situation. Source key information and data from appropriate authorities to cite in your messages. Lastly, update and redistribute often as data and guidelines rapidly change.

Designate a spokesperson to deliver your message via owned and/or earned channels
You may choose additional spokespeople when many updates and interviews are required. Conduct a media training to ensure clear message delivery. For interview opportunities, prepare spokesperson(s) title, headshot and bio in a document for easy reference. In the coming weeks, we will be bringing you expertise from our talented colleagues to address a range of issues related to this crisis.

Draft statements and decide where to distribute with your key audience in mind
Decide what type of statement and distribution channel is most appropriate for your organization – should you be addressing only your internal stakeholders, or do you have an obligation to the larger public? In the case of COVID-19, proactive, frequent and transparent communication is ideal. Always refer to government and CDC guidelines for more information.

Avoid nonessential media outreach during this time when reporters are providing 24/7 updates on COVID-19
Only share critical information as a resource to reporters who are covering your organization or industry.

 

DEMONSTRATE LEADERSHIP

Seek out opportunities to showcase thought leadership
Share your expertise and insights on platforms where you can reach the community. This could be convening industry leaders, appearing as a guest on a podcast, hosting a video webinar or facilitating a Twitter chat. Keep a lookout for an invitation for virtual talks where we will be joined by Philadelphia industry leaders for a discussion on operating in a COVID-19 world.

Find creative ways to stay relevant and be a resource
Think about what your organization has in common, and has to offer, during this time. This could be goods and services, or intellectual insights. Then, generate creative ideas to engage with your customers and core audiences around these offerings in an authentic way. Check out this video to see how our clients and friends at Independence Blue Cross are serving the community in the wake of COVID-19.

 

STAY CONNECTED

Organize regular conference (or video) calls to ensure your team is aligned
Connect personally to maintain a cohesive team culture where your colleagues are engaged and focused, helping them rise above being socially isolated. This could be daily, twice a week or weekly. We’re gathering the team at least once a week on an agency-wide video conference call on Amazon Chime – seeing the faces of colleagues and friends keeps us feeling connected.

Provide frequent and transparent communications with clients and across the company
Establish regular contact with clients and assess your meeting schedule in the wake of this ‘new normal’ to share frequent updates.

Establish clearly defined work from home guidelines
Outline goals for productivity while also expressing flexibility for those juggling parenting, caretaking or other challenges at home. Identify where communication should take place (our team has been using email and Microsoft Teams for ongoing colleague communication, and Amazon Chime or Zoom for conference calls) and ensure that employees have access to the tools and technology they need. Above all, offer support and empathy.

Organize digital team-building activities to keep morale high
Think creatively to boost team morale, encourage mental breaks and stimulate creativity. At Brian Communications, we have hosted a virtual happy hour, virtual lunches and crowdsourced a list of tips for working from home with our team’s favorite music playlists, free exercise apps, recipes, children’s activities and more.