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Covid-19 Crisis Response: What Answers Your Brand Should Have Ready

March 23, 2020

This is you, right here, actively stopping some dominos. Not the pizza.  Keep the pizza comin’.

Heeeeey brand frands. You’ve spent the last week managing out-of-stocks, wishing a mental farewell to those new product rollouts, and generally keeping Rome from burning. And while you take a quick breath to recover, it’s best to remember – your employees’ and consumers’ lives just got flipped upside down, too. 

This week, as you think through how your company and brand can be there for those folks in a time of crisis, it’s important to make sure your organization has prepared responses for employee and consumer questions as they arise. And, believe our PR team, arise they will. 

You’ve had at least a few minutes to breathe, right? Feeling good-ish? So let’s take a moment to look forward, and get ready for the questions to come. As you craft your to-do list this week, here’s a list of questions we recommend you be prepared for. 

Internal Scenarios to Prepare For:

  • If there is a “shelter-in-place” order in your city, how will this affect employees? 
  • If an employee is diagnosed, how will you share this information and with whom?
  • How will team members be assisted should operations temporarily cease?
  • If layoffs are on the horizon, how and when do you plan to communicate this?
  • If alternatively, things are strong, how will you share the good news?
  • What support channels are set up for employees to vent concerns, ask questions and keep motivation levels high?
  • Is your team prepared for remote work? Will any policies or systems need to be set up?
  • Do you have an emergency alert system in place?
  • If production has to temporarily cease, what is the plan? What messages will you share to maintain vendor and customer relationships?
  • Do you have a social media policy in place for your employees, to ensure they are not sharing sensitive company information in public forums? 

Consumer Questions You’ll Need  to Answer: 

  • How are you ensuring the safety of your employees, and those contributing to your manufacturing? 
  • What happens if someone at your company is diagnosed with an infectious disease? (Note, this is a when, not if scenario.)
  • If you experience production shortages, when will they be resolved, and how can people find your products in the meantime? 

Other things you can do this week:

  • If you haven’t lately: Gather your leadership team to outline what your company stands for outside of sales. What are you for and against? What good can you bring the world during this time? How will you give back?
  • Select a key spokesperson that will communicate with consumers, stakeholders, partners, and any key media. Brief them with core messaging and potential scenarios for each.
  • Share daily or bi-weekly internal communication with employees providing Covid-19 and company updates.
  • Implement a company social media policy to ensure family news stays in the family.
  • Find the good. Share the good. And if nothing exists, create some good.
  • Institute a daily standup meeting with key leaders to ensure the 24-hour communication cycle always circles back around to those who need to know.

Remember, there is still an opportunity to make some news. Below are some positive PR angles worth sharing:

  • Uplifting stories about your customers, your team and your community.
  • A video news package of your current journey we can pitch to local TV + digital publications. 
  • Special recipes, something funny or something useful to help consumers relax.
  • How your company is assisting employees + consumers during this time. Some ideas include food donations, financial donations, giveaways, job openings.
  • Any positive monetary shifts your company has in store (perhaps from resources that had to be reallocated).

The most important thing, both internally and externally, is clear and honest communication. Keep it simple, keep it straightforward, and deliver it from at least 6 feet away. If you’ve got good news to share, let the SRW PR team know! As the dust settles on a wild week, now is the time to get ready for the next hill on this roller coaster.