Communication Is The Key During Crisis

In spite of all the research techniques, progress in artificial intelligence human race was caught unawares. I believe that humans are resilient and will make it out of this event even stronger.


Photo Credit : Anirban Sen, VP and Head of Business, Godfrey Phillips India,

A billion consumers, shoppers suddenly vanished leaving brands temporarily orphaned. Brands suddenly find themselves floating aimlessly in a “vast vacuum” without their patrons, not really knowing what to anchor themselves to. Brands whether products or services are nothing but an extension of human values, thoughts, and activity. Just like us humans, they too are social, and they thrive by creating a “momentum of connections” and “transactions” with their consumers. These vacuums are likely to be dynamic and continue for a longer period of time.

But frankly, it’s not just brands and consumers but the complete chain …marketers, manufacturers, brand managers with the exception of a few industries and services have all been in disarray. Though COVID 19 event started much earlier but most didn’t take cognizance of what was going on in WUHAN and its cascading global impact. In spite of all the research techniques, progress in artificial intelligence human race was caught unawares. I believe that humans are resilient and will make it out of this event even stronger.

In the absence of tangible interactions with their consumers and core patrons what can brands do? The only lever in their hands to keep themselves salient is communication. But there is a slew of questions…. will consumers be open to communication in these troubled times? Or will brands have to substantially change the communication to suit these times? Of course, brands are faced with low commercial transactions, economic deflation, and deficits hampering their inability to deploy expensive and wide communication techniques. Yet, brands have a responsibility to keep their communities connected and thriving, a fine balance needs to be struck.

While many brands have started on by messaging “wash hands”, “wear masks” etc. This is interesting and important to spread the message and lower the impact of the event, but the real and valuable part is how brands plan to incorporate “hygiene-concepts” more permanently in their products and services and not just in messaging. How brands look at permanently changing their products and services and their architecture to extend their purpose. Brands should actively pursue partnerships particularly in technology and pharma firms to create “shared values” that can enhance the longevity of brand purpose.

Communication in these times can completely change the way consumers ever looked at brands. Brands have the opportunity to “tell simple stories” that they never got a chance to talk of ….in the regular course of hectic transactions. Stories focused on building new trust-bonds, that of “highest quality”, “brand origin” and “transparency” to talk of a few. Brands can infuse “hope”, “optimism” and “cheerfulness” during this uncertain time of stress. If done successfully, as we emerge from the COVID19 event, brands would have built momentum for rejoiced “anticipated-reunion”.

The challenge is a mode of communication is unique and drawback due to low earnings of brands, the digital mode by default becomes the channel with immense power to reach each individual in their own time and communicate to them. It is however a very busy medium. The digital medium offers powerful concepts like “crowdsourcing” to listen to consumers and how they visualize future connections with their brands. Listen more, adapt and be ready. The last aspect is that… brands should endeavor to perform is selfless contribution to society without the intent of publicity, such forthrightness is likely to be seen in a hugely positive light by consumers now and beyond.

Inward, internal communication with colleagues, partners is of paramount importance as well, the rhythm with which organizations work has been disrupted in the majority of cases, and new harmonization efforts are required to keep the morale and trust of teams. The world has adopted to digital ways of working quickly, while this mode is effective in bringing people together, it substantially alters senses like touch, feel, tone, body language, togetherness.

Internal communication can resolve some issues in this area. The philosophy is more or less the same. “Transparent communication” to all levels about any significant development and response to the current situation even if it is as simple as COVID 19 medical cover is one that is most critical in these times. “Celebrating small victories” can be a huge morale booster, “Appreciation of extra-ordinary efforts” by individuals whether for the organization or society. Creating regular space for “employee voice”. Communicate freely, justly, and prepare a road map for a stronger and solid future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


Around The World