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Communication Guidelines For Challenging Times

by Michelle Ledford

Uncertain times call for certain types of communications. Whether you are a brick-and-mortar retail business or a business-to-business professional services organization, your customers and clients are looking to you for reassurance and useful information.

The most important thing to remember is that this is not the time to step back from your marketing messages. Instead, use these guidelines to change the type of messages you are sending.

  • How to Survive: Brands should be sending messages and tips on how to make it through this time. Consumers are looking for information that will help them make the right decisions. They also want to know what your business is going to do to help them.
  • What Your Business Stands For: Make sure you know the purpose of your brand and measure each piece of communication against why you provide the products and services that you do. This is not the time to send mixed messages that contrast your brand values.
  • Setting a Tone: Match the tone of your messaging to the level of concern from your customer and client base and allow it to evolve as the environment weakens or improves. In most cases, your business should be sending messages of empathy and reassurance. Humor may or may not be appropriate during uncertain times, whereas communication about providing support and showing that you care will create a positive affinity toward your brand. Authenticity is always the best route.
  • Commitment and Consistency: If you shy away from having a voice for your business, you risk lost business once you make it to the other side of the challenge. Commit to keeping your customers informed on how you will serve them or provide your products. A plan for consistent messaging will help you retain your loyal customers and attract new ones that have noticed how you handled a difficult time.

People will remember how you made them feel. This is not the time to scale back on your marketing communications. Instead, refocus your content to support the viability of your business.