Let’s be honest, communications has long been considered an afterthought for many businesses. Especially when we compare it to areas such as operations and technology which, on the face of it, are perceived to be much more important for the bottom line. But, due to the pandemic, the level of communications has been significantly heightened, and as a result, has exemplified why comms are so critical. Here’s why we should be investing in communications, rather than making cutbacks, moving forward.
- Silence is golden
Those businesses that are making their presence known during the crisis are perceived to be handling it better than those who have remained silent. Take brands such as Morrisons and Ikea, who have stepped up to the challenges of Covid-19 in more ways than one. At the same time, brands need to communicate at a respectable volume. Making small and regular updates are much more likely to be appreciated by customers than for instance, releasing a barrage of information all at once.
- Consistency is key
Communications are a great way to create consistency, and consistency is key in an era where we are being bombarded with messages left, right and centre. Saying the same thing everywhere across different channels creates aligned messages that are better digested and understood by the consumer. Consistency is vital in promoting consumer confidence and instilling trust. Yes, alter your tone for each channel where necessary, but make sure that the messages running through your PR, social and digital channels are cohesive.
- Things are changing all the time
If the pandemic has highlighted anything, it’s that change is constant – we talk about this in more detail in our article on preparing for change. But to summarise, it means comms professionals need to be constantly on the ball, as things are changing minute by minute. We can no longer sit back and wait for change to happen. Without a combined proactive and reactive comms strategy, we simply won’t be able to keep up with the many urgent demands thrown our way. Response times have needed to be exceptionally quick, and we’ve had to be nimble in deciding which channels are most appropriate for our audiences. Communications professionals are crucial in helping to administer all of this.
- Internal communications ensure employees can work efficiently
From an internal communications perspective, investment in this area is vital. It goes without saying that the pandemic has been unsettling for many employees. For those people who have recently gone back to work from furlough, they are in a more vulnerable position than most, and at risk of feeling cut off having spent such a long time away from their employer. Addressing their mental wellbeing by communicating with them regularly and listening to their concerns can help to build trust which can in turn, increase their job satisfaction and productivity at work. The same is also just as essential for those employees who have been working through the pandemic from the outset. The frequency and methods of internal communications have needed to adapt to the changing circumstances and communications professionals are very well placed to advise.
- Cross-functional meetings can bridge gaps
Creating shared goals is especially necessary in a time where many of us are working from home and can no longer be as easily informed as to what everyone else is doing. Ensuring that meetings, in any format, include members from different areas of the business, can help to build a holistic strategy, and bridge gaps between departments.
If the pandemic has done anything, it’s given communications the limelight its needed for so long. Whilst there might be an urge to cut back in this area once the epidemic has calmed down, it will do more harm than good. We need to continue investing in communications post-lockdown if we are to keep pace with a world that’s evolving at breakneck speed.