07 May Planning communications for a post-pandemic world
This pandemic has marked a moment in history, one that has changed our lives as we knew them. Over the last weeks and months, we have thought twice, re-imagined and re-evaluated our lives and what is important to us.
The world has changed and there is no going back to the reality of before. As we keep hearing, we are in a ‘new normal’ and the rule book is different.
What is next may be an unknown but that is not a reason not to plan. If anything, we are all desperate for some clarity to pull us through and we need to be prepared for the road to recovery that’s ahead – the only way is up.
We have been given an opportunity to re-launch, to start again. Although that can be scary, it is a huge opportunity to come back better than ever.
For a recovery plan to be effective, it must be agile. The unknown puts us in riskywaters; our next steps must evolve with the recovery of the economy and our specific sectors and follow the shifts in consumer needs and behaviour.
Although it is not easy, with this ‘new normal’ what we should or need to do nextmay feel wrong and contrary to what we’ve known or learnt previously. We will need bold confidence to help us stay ahead.
We need to study hard. If we are to understand the marketplace and our customers, we need to understand what the ‘new normal’ means to them. How has their behaviour changed? What are their priorities? Needs? What now motivates them and what are their expectations in this new world.
In Bristol especially, we have always been a city that champions collaboration. Now is a time to share our learnings and experiences and educate each other to help with the recovery. We should also think outside the box, it may well be the more creative partnerships and ventures that strengthen our offer and message the most.
What we have learnt over these last few months is how quickly the story and landscape changes – every day brings something new and the news cycle is ever-changing. Put one foot forward to drive the agenda rather than risk following it and getting lost in the noise.
Never Stop Communicating
While comms budgets need to be proportional to your operating costs and forecasts, they should never be cut. Struggling in darkness is not a place to aid recovery, keep communications frequent and relevant throughout this process otherwise you’ll be cutting off your nose to spite your face.
With all of this in mind, we thought we’d take a glance in our glass ball and sharea few pointers of what we expect to be key drivers in good post pandemic communications strategies:
Digital is here to stay
The digital revolution has been growing for more than a decade. We have spent years advancing with it but in the last few months it exploded. Digital communication has become the core component of everyone’s lives and that is not something that will be undone.
Loyalty is more important than ever
All companies will be eternally grateful for the customers who have stayed with them throughout this tough journey. It will be important to acknowledge that gratitude and find ways to reward it to keep them with you on the road to recovery.
Emotions are at an all-time high
Never has emotive language been more important; after months of separation from family and friends and for some the terrible loss of loved ones we are all feeling emotional. Now is a time to speak to the heart.
The health and safety police are no longer the party killers
There will inevitably be some hesitation to leave the safety of our own homes, even when we are told it’s safe to do so. Clear, regular messaging about the steps that businesses are taking to continue to protect their workforce and customers will be crucial to provide reassurance.
Community, altruism and goodwill are at the centre of everything
The movement of social solidarity and uprising of community Samaritans is what has kept us all going throughout this pandemic. From it we have found hope and inspiration in a very dark time. That feeling will not leave us anytime soon and it’s something we should all factor into our communication plans going forward.