Crisis Accounting Banking Failure Financial Concept

Five best crisis communication strategies to deal with Covid-19 Pandemic

As the global pandemic Covid-19 has crumbled businesses, every company must choose effective crisis communication strategies to sail through. One needs to understand that both internal and external communication strategies are essential to respond to the global crisis. A general principle when dealing with a matter of public health and safety is to be proactive. You cannot escape from a global health crisis and therefore it’s essential to be prepared with effective crisis communication strategies. If you are still confused what to do, we are here to help you. Follow these five crisis communication steps and overcome the problems that are looming around you.

Build A Team For Centralised Communication 

Decentralized communications are comprehensible and even favoured by large, complex organizations. But in an emergency or fast-moving situation, you need a crisis-response team. With the coronavirus, we are seeing this happening at all levels. These teams comprising of four to six people from corporate communications, HR department, and an expert in the area of concern should be responsible in managing crisis within the organization. The main job of the team should be to monitor the situation closely as it continues to evolve. They must be the main source of information about the crisis and provide regular updates to key constituencies. It is also essential for the team to be transparent, let them explain what they know and be succinct. Long messages written by health professionals or lawyers will not be read or easily understood.

Make Your Communication Clear and Crisp With The Employees 

Employees are the backbone of a company. If they are not informed and aren’t aware of what the company is facing during the crisis of global pandemic, it will be very difficult for them to strategize their work. The company needs to demystify the situation for employees, put everyone’s mind at ease, and provide hope for the future. Researches have shown that leaders, in particular, have a special role reducing employee anxiety. To bridge the gap, the company needs to make the employees understand the advantages of work from home. Added to this, don’t forget to provide timely information rather than waiting until you know all of the answers. Post information regularly through email, WhatsApp group and Skype and keep them all motivated. This will help to overcome every hassle.

Make Sure To Communicate Regularly With Customers 

Customers require a different approach than employees given that companies do not have the same access, nor frequency with this constituency. That’s why it is important to focus on what is important to the customer. One way is to provide relief whenever possible. For instance, JetBlue was the first-ever airline to cancel fees for coronavirus-related concerns. The move went a long way towards reassuring current customers as well as bringing new ones on board. You must also find other means to communicate with your instances. The best example can be taken from Johnson & Johnson who established a set of best practices for communicating in a crisis, including speaking early and directly addressing the consumers.  Simultaneously, the company issued a national alert, telling people to stop consuming Tylenol products. It established a toll-free number for consumers to call with questions or concerns. Therefore, you have to understand that to retain your customers in future, you have to take a step forward in the present and provide them with facilities and compensations so that they develop a faith and trust in you.

Provide Assurance To Stakeholders

The epidemic has created intense volatility in the financial markets in the last two weeks and we are already in the recession period. With earnings season just around the corner, publicly listed companies have a special responsibility to communicate the impact of the virus on their operations. Be transparent in communicating near-term challenges. Make sure to use the crisis as an opportunity to reinforce the corporation’s long-term fundamentals and communicate what you are doing about the problem to all the external stakeholders.

Be Proactive With Communities 

Lastly, it is also very important for organizations to do their best to make sure their actions do not negatively affect members of the community. Instead, during a crisis through effective communication, you can enhance relationships with the local communities in which you operate. Make sure to provide them with resources like cleaning supplies or food for those in quarantine. Don’t forget to provide information to the local media to help to calm the communities down, while also enhancing your organization’s credibility. Instead of going radio silent, be transparent in your work and deeds and stay positive.

We all know, it is a hard time. At this point, the leaders need to look at communication from the perspective of the audience. This requires companies to provide accurate information, communicate as much as possible and be vigilant about correcting mistakes without worrying about the repercussions. Let not the champions stop playing until they make it right.

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Pr and Marketing

PR And Marketing Are Not Same: Here Lies The Differences

A lot of communication professionals often assume that Public Relations and Marketing are the same. This is highly mistaken and can hamper your career growth. Therefore, you need to understand the differences and we are here to help you with this. 

 

Firstly, let us understand that marketing is a business activity that aims at promoting, advertising and selling the company’s products and services. The term marketing has various definitions. Few call it shopping for products or services, others call it merchandising, while some link it with the selling of the product. In real sense, shopping, merchandising and selling all are covered under the activity jointly known as marketing. Therefore, in short, we can say that marketing is a management process, which is concerned with the buying and selling of products and services, that include all the activities that involve the movement of product from concept to the customer. Product designing, warehousing, packaging, transportation, delivering, advertising, branding, selling, pricing, etc. are all part of marketing activities. 

 

Whereas Public Relations or commonly known as PR is a communication process where the company seeks to build a strong and healthy relationship between the company and the general public, which is mutually beneficial for them. It is an act of managing and disseminating information amidst the company and the general public. It is a process, where an organisation gains exposure to the audience through third-party endorsements, wherein news or other topics of public interest are used to share the organisation’s positive stories. For instance, newsletters, press conferences, featured stories, speeches, public appearances and similar other forms of non-paid communication. Therefore, it can be concluded that PR aims at informing the public, investors, partners, potential customers, employees, clients, to influence them to make a positive perspective about the company and the brand. 

 

While marketing is mainly concerned with the promotion and sales of the product, Public Relations (PR) is intended to create and manage a favourable image and reputation of the company amongst the public. Now let us understand the major differences 

 

While Public Relations Is About Introducing A New Product To The World, Marketing Is Selling A Product

Every company today has a PR team so that the product that the company is launching is reached out to the world. The PR specialists contact relevant journalists and media houses and pitch stories so that that news is known by the world. It has no role in selling the product. Its main objective is to let the world know about the product and the work of the company behind it. On the other hand, marketing is all about convincing the audience to buy the product. 

 

While PR Has A Greater Impact, Marketing Is More Reliable 

PR not only takes time but is not always guaranteed, but has a greater effect. Marketing campaigns, however, are scheduled, processed, prescribed and what’s more guaranteed but has less of an effect. A brand can be sure that when they choose to market their brand in a specific way with a specific message, that message will appear exactly where they have paid for it to appear at exactly when they have scheduled it for. PR, however, is dependent on editorial and journalistic needs and integrity and is not always guaranteed because the success of a PR campaign relies on angles and stories that work for editorial teams which affects the readers’ perception in a more effective way than advertorial.

 

PR Is A Long-Term Process And Marketing Is A Short-Term 

As PR manages reputation, and stakeholder engagement, it is much harder to measure the ROI. Perception takes time to create and shift and may not translate into revenue and sales for months or even years. However, marketing is more concerned with the short-term effects on revenue, it is the direct promotional activity employed on behalf of a brand.

 

Thus, the goal for marketing teams is to reach consumers and make them think, believe or do some kind of sales-focused action. Essentially it is about selling the product or service. Whereas public relations building positive managing the communication channels between a company and its stakeholders. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while PR is trying to drive a positive reputation through an effective PR strategy.

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Becoming-the-best-content-creator

Five Must-Do Tips for Start-Ups To Generate Good PR

Most start-ups face challenges when it comes to managing public relations. PR initiatives are essential because it is one of the effective ways small businesses can tell their story to the world and acquire customers. These small companies need to create a buzz through PR channels but often fail to have connections or manpower to stir up a good press. With the right PR initiative, even small companies can build a user base and attract interest from venture capitalists. It can build the image of the company and shout out to the world about its good deeds and new ventures. Never let a non-existent marketing budget or the lack of a dedicated marketing team discourage you. Use these tips to help your start-up to reach out to the world.

 

1. First Identify The Target Media Outlets And Relevant Journalists 

The first important thing that you must take care of is choosing the right media outlets that will publish your relevant story. Instead of reaching out to every media house, choose your time wisely and identify the right journalists that write for these outlets, read their work and follow them on social media. Once you do good research of the journalists, you can then identify the person that is most likely to be interested in your pitch. Simultaneously you can recognize particular journalists and create your pitch specifically tailored for them, even if you aren’t sending it directly to them. Such ways are very welcoming even for the journalists who are given stories that they find compelling as well as interesting. 

 

2. Use Strong Content As PR Bait 

There are thousands of start-ups who are approaching to the media for coverage. What is that one exact quality that will help you to stand out from the rest? Of course, engaging content. You must produce a clever and well-thought-out piece of content to present as part of your pitch. One great example is the Infographic. You can tell your story visually and get much more attention than you would if you just wrote it out. This can grab the attention of the journalists who can then introduce your start-up to a much larger audience simply because visual content is more engaging. You need to be creative and stand out from the other hundreds of pitches. 

 

3. Stop Copy/Pasting Pitches: Instead, Use Data And Statistics 

Journalists and editors can easily spot a copy/paste job. This will only garner a negative impression on your company and they will never respond to your emails and calls. They get pitched around the clock every single day with generic requests. Make your pitch completely personalized and tailored specifically around them and the publication they work for. Make it mandatory to include data and statistics on your pitch. Remember journalism is not about flowery language and creative writing rather presenting stories with facts that will inform the mass as a whole. The use of data and statistics makes your pitch authentic and real which every journalist needs to produce in their news article. 

 

4. Make Use of Twitter For Soft-Introductions

More or less every journalist has their profile on Twitter and many use it as their main communication source. Following them allows you to comment on their work and put your name in front of them. Instead of harassing them, take a way forward and start complimenting them on recent stories. However, compliments must be genuine. Twitter is also a great platform to use for identifying windows of opportunity. You can publish your business success stories, the product launch on Twitter itself and create a strong follower base. 

 

5. Develop Your Company’s Online Presence Actively 

It is important for your start-up to have a strong digital presence. There are many PR agencies in Delhi and only one way that can make you stand tall is by making a compelling website and increasing the digital presence. This prompts editors to view you or your company as the leader or expert in the field. Having a reputable online presence shows journalists that you are a source of valuable information and influence in your industry. This makes everything your company does more newsworthy because you are already aware of what direction your field is heading. To do this successfully, make sure to optimize all of your content so that all of it is visible online, specifically in searches. Embrace SEO tools so that you can get a higher rank in Google search. One more effective means is to provide exclusive and embargoed access to stories that can big headlines. Famous editors and publications generally like stories that nobody else has access to. This will be a boon for you if you make them realise that it will be the first-ever story covered by the particular journalist. 

 

We hope we could give you some effective tips to amp up your PR game. Next time, you pitch a story, don’t forget to remember these five effective points and shine like a star. 

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Coronavirus Business Impact

How Covid-19 Is Impacting Businesses Worldwide

The ongoing spread of the deadly Covid-19 has become one of the biggest challenges to business worldwide, including our coveted financial markets. According to World Health Organization, the virus that was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December has infected more than 110, 000 people in at least 110 countries and is expected to increase with time.  More than 80, 000 cases have been reported in China so far. Italy remains the most affected country as the death rate has surpassed China. The disease has now spread around the world with countries like Iran, the USA, South Korea, France, Germany, Spain and India affected severely. 

 

In order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, countries like China, Italy, Spain, Russia, India have locked down cities, restricted movements of millions and suspended business operations. Moreover, travel bans, cancellation of sports events, the prohibition of mass gatherings, deserted shopping malls and freefall of the stock market have shaken the worldwide economy, affecting many businesses worldwide. 

According to the latest information from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, China’s gross domestic product growth saw the largest downfall. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index — a survey of private companies revealed that China’s factory activities recorded a low reading of 40.3 and a reading below 50 indicates contraction. Such a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing has hurt countries that have close economic ties with China such as Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea. Moreover, China is not only the country that has witnessed the weakening of the service sector. The service sector in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer market, also contracted in February, the lowest in the last 10 years. 

 

In the case of supply chain market, Airbus has halted its production line in Tianjin as travel restrictions imposed by Beijing take their toll. The plant builds about six A320 aircrafts every month and therefore its closure will negatively affect the manufacturer’s jet output. Other manufacturers that have stopped its production in China are Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. 

 

The South Korean carmaker, Hyundai has shunned the production lines with China due to the disruption to the supply chain of parts that usually flow between the two countries. The Japanese economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said factory production and company profits could bring the business in doldrums due to the pandemic. Honda has three plants in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the epidemic. GSK, which is one of Britain’s largest drug makers took an initiative to close down the medicine packaging facility in Tianjin, which employs about 100 people. It remained closed after the extended lunar new year holiday. The company has 3,000 employees across China, many of whom are working from home. 

 

36Nike and H&M have shut half of their stores, thereby witnessing at a whopping loss. Disney remarked that its operating income could take a hit of $280m (£216m) after it was forced to close two theme parks that are usually busy over the lunar new year period. Ikea has closed all of its 30 stores in China, whereas McDonalds and Starbucks have shut half of their units. 

 

Tourism sector is witnessing the biggest loss in the decade. The number of Chinese tourists has seen a sharp increase in recent years, rising from only 10.5 million in 2000 to 150 million in 2018. This means tourism is likely to be one of the worst-affected industries worldwide, as cross-border travel has been halted to control the spread of the virus. The coronavirus outbreak is bad news for nearby destinations such as Japan, where Chinese visitors account for 40% of the tourist spend and cruise ships have been anchored offshore after passengers tested positive. Popular tourist destinations such as Bali and Thailand are facing the worst crisis. Added to this, the London-listed InterContinental Hotels, which has 443 outlets in China, has waived cancellation fees for a period, adding to the impact from a drop-off in domestic and inbound travel.

 

In India, according to the reports of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), over 50 percent of Indian companies have already seen an impact on their operations and nearly 80 percent have witnessed the decline in cash flows. The report further stated, “Besides the direct impact on demand and supply of goods and services, businesses are also facing reduced cash flows due to slowing economic activity, which in turn is having an impact on all payments including to those for employees, interest, loan repayments, and taxes.” 

 

Beyond the concerns associated with business operational continuity, employee protection, and market preservation, it is important for businesses to come out with an effective plan for the long run. However, once the COVID-19 is contained, much of the world is likely to return to complacency and remain under-prepared for the inevitable next outbreak. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to invest in strategic, operational and financial resilience to emerging global risks that will help them to be in a better position to respond and recover.

 

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Corona Communication 1

Will Corona Alter the Way We Communicate, Forever?

As I went about my daily routine of ‘Doomsurfing’ on Twitter, I came across a joke that hit home, way too hard. It spoke about how 50 years ago, our grandparents spoke about a future with flying cars. But instead, here we are, still teaching people how to wash their hands properly.

As we face what is possibly the biggest turning point of our lives, I am left to wonder how this is going to significantly impact the landscape of communication. Being extra sensitive and showing empathy seem to be key in winning the game of communication. It’s not about individual perceptions anymore; the world is leaning towards a dominant emotion, and everyone is taking it upon themselves to be the harbinger of awareness and sensitivity.

For instance, brands are constantly trying to outdo each other in trying to be the epitome of corporate social responsibility. Just this morning, I came across an advertisement by the legacy adhesive brand Fevicol. They effectively created a conversation around social distancing as a precautionary measure during the outbreak in order to strengthen bonds in the times to come.

From Amul to Bigbasket, all brands, big or small, are leaving no stone unturned to cash in on this great marketing opportunity, while also spreading awareness.

The government is not far behind either. Leaders across political spectrums are coming together to show they care about the welfare of their citizens. All governments are on war footing, constantly updating their social media handles, informing people of the pandemic, and assisting them in every possible way. A concerted, and cohesive communication plan is the need of the hour, and I truly applaud the way the Indian government has been handling this situation.

The effects of the pandemic on communication are more visible when people are coming across as not being emotionally aligned with the majority. Like in the case of actress Vanessa Hudgens, who was universally slammed online after a video of her complaining about the US response to Coronavirus in an Instagram Live video emerged.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-vanessa-hudgens-criticised-for-heartless-comments-on-pandemic-11959421

The effects of what are her technically her ‘personal considerations’ were such that she had to take down the video soon after. She even had to issue a public apology, where she said “”I don’t take this situation lightly by any means. So, stay inside y’all.”

As the situation continues to intensify, the communication landscape is altering in a way we had never imagined. Everyone is exercising extreme sensitivity and caution while dishing out any form of communication. Everyone is looking to play a narrative that is going to educate the masses.

If there is one thing that the virus has shown, it is that we are all capable of coming together in the times of crisis, and supporting our communities at large; across any social, economic, or political barriers. This is probably why communication across geographies right now seems so unified. Could this moment in history eventually transform the way we speak? Is it possible that this will usher in an era of empathy, and improve the general public temperament? Or will we retreat to our old ways once we are past this global crisis?

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