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5 Principles of Digital Communication for Crisis Management

 5 Principles of Digital Communication for Crisis Management

Recognizing concerns of employees and consumers is paramount right now – and it is here that marketers can play a central role.

On March 2nd, Indonesian Government confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19 on national television. The numbers went through 1000 cases In just about three weeks time, while globally 593.000 cases were recorded. The cases outside China in a very fast pace, outbreak in many countries in almost every continent.

Emergency state was then officially announced to the public not long after the President’s announcement. Heat body temperature scanners were in every office and malls, we saw people wearing masks everywhere and started to do physical distancing in public places. Government started to push companies and businesses to put employees safety as their highest priority, many companies pushed Work From Home policy immediately up until this day. Schools and campuses closed, students remain at home, studying in their room until the end of the Semester. Life has started to change drastically for everyone, but it’s for the best until this situation ended.

Businesses slow down in a  sudden and so does the economy. Financial markets have begun pricing in risks from Covid-19. The market saw uncertainty, not knowing when the pandemic is going to end, and it’s not going to be any time soon. In the longer term, it means a dramatic shift on people’s jobs, health and wellbeing, as well as social consequences. 

But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, there is always hope. A deep recession is probable in the short term but learning from history that outbreaks have a short-lived impact on people consumption. Companies need to act fast to create plans for business continuity and potential rebound post-outbreak. Increasing resilience for the long-run has never been more important than before for companies to overcome such downturn.

The big difference between the crisis back then and business today for companies and brands is this new landscape, we live in the era of digital which helps us to navigate through this unfortunate time.

Some brands, under this heavy pressure of the business, unfortunately went dark in digital while for many others are heavily pushing everything they have in their digital arm and sadly profiteering from this event. We don’t recommend those actions,  instead we need to re-evaluate the digital approach. We cannot forget that this situation is a humanitarian issue, we need to help people to get through this tough time. Remember the condition shifts human’s life, behavior and habit.

These are the principles need to be considered in your communication during the crisis :

  1. Adapt the strategy
    The shift in the consumer behaviors changes their daily lives and of course their buying habit. It then changes how they use digital channels and content consuming habits. Revisit marketing mix and spend based on this behavior shift and monitoring performance more frequently.
  2. Stay Relevant
    Stay true to your brand expertise and make the most sense of the brand in this period of time, don’t give information that you don’t have the authority or if it’s isn’t that you are qualified to.|
  3. Listen carefully
    Pay attention to what customers feel and need the most. People’s health, livelihoods and wellness are being impacted at the moment. Be emphatic and listen carefully, respond immediately while maintaining your message consistent in every messaging and publication.
  4. Be Transparent
    We cannot forget that this situation is first a humanitarian issue. Your loyal customers need to know what you are doing to help people surround the brand.
  5. Spread Positivity
    If it feels appropriate, share positive or inspiring stories that give your employees and customers hope and reassurance in this uncertain moment.


Things brand shouldn’t do during this crisis

  • Don’t post unproven information, or unverified claims. Misinformation in the face of a global crisis like this is incredibly dangerous. It’s important for a brand to stand on the right direction, and avoid spreading any information that isn’t verified or still debatable.
(One of brand reposted tips on “when is the best time to get sunlight for vitamin D”, and leads to some debate on comment section without clear clarification)
  • Don’t be ignorant about this situation. Visual communication is powerful, as are the words we use, messages encouraging immediate interaction may be deeply scrutinized.
(One of restaurant chain still encourage it’s customer to spend quality time at their restaurants, sending the wrong signals for customers like telling them to violate government instructions on social distancing)
(Gives big promotion to “red zone” countries leads to backlash from many people to its unethical decision amidst the outbreak)

Great Examples of positive brand communications during the crisis

  • It’s important to put out a statement if your business or your customers are going to be impacted by the Covid-19 directly.
  • Information Is Always Better Than Silence, Saying nothing puts a brand in an ignorant position. Try to be present in conversation while sending out positive and emphatic messages to audiences and stakeholders.It’s the perfect time to join the cause. The importance of honesty, dedication, and community outreach helps companies keep their brand and reputation authentic during this time
  • Share emphatic message and encourage people to stay in and fight the pandemic together
  • Death and fear are the most frequent unaided words in this situation, it’s time to alleviate the stress by showing them informative and creative content to bring more positive vibes.

Navigating through uncertain moments is tough, not only can the outcome affect our employees but it is bad for business in either short term or long. But with the spirit of keeping each other safe, honesty, and good direct communication we can overcome it and we will become a much stronger business in the future. That’s why a solid communication strategy adaptation in such uncertain moments is very essential.

For further information and assistance regarding how to strategize and manage your communication properly during crisis, please send an email to info@microad.co.id or simply leave a message on our website at https://microad.co.id/contact.