Brands can no longer go about business as usual. Whether you’re an essential business operating at full speed, or the neighborhood’s beloved cafe that’s now-shuttered, how you choose to communicate with your customers, employees, and future job candidates in the weeks to come will impact your company’s brand long after the pandemic has passed.
Of course, determining how the current situation will affect your company’s cash flow is important. Using assessment tools, like the free Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) PwC COVID-19 Navigator, can calculate the potential impact the health crisis will have on your bottom-line and your readiness to respond.
Just as important is crafting your communications in response to the health crisis to ensure you are gaining fans and not critics. If navigating a natural disaster is unchartered waters for you and your marketing team you can check out these guidelines.
For ideas to help develop your company’s approach, look to leading brands who are doing an impressive job communicating their response to COVID-19, including Microsoft, AT&T, Whole Foods, and Chipotle.
Develop key messages for customers, employees, and candidates. Here’s a closer look at how one company, CVS Health, is enhancing its brand communications for these constituents:
CVS Health promotes its current brand message, “Protecting and supporting customers and our employees”, by providing details regarding the current CVS store customer experience on its website and social media channels.
CVS Health CEO, Larry J. Merlo, takes to video to recognize employees and explains “As [our employees] continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we’re taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times.”
Attracting Job Candidates
CVS Health is responding to the pandemic by embarking on an ambitious hiring effort to recruit 50,000 workers. In addition to using technology-enabled hiring tools including virtual job fairs, virtual interviews, and virtual job tryouts, CVS Health is reaching out to furloughed workers and has created a unique recruiting experience for them.
Regardless of size, your business can develop brand messages about helping that also advance the bottom-line and keep your talent pipeline warm. Think about how what you offer and how it could help customers, employees, and job candidates during this difficult time.
What You Can Do
Invite customers to donate a $5 breakfast or $10 lunch that is prepared and delivered daily to nearby first responders. Your Facebook post will get liked, shared, and start a chain of charitable giving for those in need.
Offer access to mental wellness services for your employees to help them cope with stress and anxiety that could lead to loss of productivity. A virtual daily coffee or 15-minute meeting to see how employees are doing can be vital to your team’s mental health and well-being.
Share brief status updates with job candidates via a personal note and arrange a virtual presentation about different job roles at your company. It might be uncomfortable to announce you’re in a hiring freeze but highlight that you hope the situation is temporary. Remaining transparent in the weeks to come will build trust.
For additional ideas, check out these resources for crafting your COVID-19 responses and messages for customers, employees and job candidates. And remember to refresh your communications often so that you remain relevant and engaged with your constituents.