Bad communication management—both internal and external—can directly affect your reputation and your company’s survival.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, most Quebec SMEs have made it a priority to ensure they have enough liquidity to continue their business activities once government restrictions are lifted.
However, companies must have a sound communication plan in place to dust themselves off and restore or maintain their reputation with their stakeholders in the wake of a crisis. A business’ survival, and its employer brand, hinges on an effective communication plan.
Choose action over reaction
You’ve worked hard to grow your business. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to ensure that your efforts are not undone by elements that could negatively impact your business reputation.
A good communication plan will keep you on track. Take action to protect your reputation and anticipate potential negative impacts. That way, you’ll be in better control of the messages you want to put out and help you restore your corporate image.
Your communication plan should take into account all of the parties involved in any way whatsoever with your business: employees, stakeholders, suppliers, clients, partners.
Each and every one of them has different expectations and needs. So, you should factor that into your communication plan. But first, here are some important things to know to ensure an effective rollout.
How to draft a communication plan
1. Review what you’ve done so far
Take a moment to review how far your business has come since the months prior to the crisis.
- Did your company’s reputation suffer from the impacts of the crisis?
- Is your relationship with your employees fragile?
- Are there any risks of a decline in clientele?
Take the time to ponder the consequences—positive and negative—the crisis may have had on your organization.
2. Set your goals
Set your communication goals, taking into account the observations you’ve made.
3. Prepare your messages
Identify the messages you want to share with each stakeholder based on the goals you’ve set.
4. Develop your communication strategy
Develop a communication strategy to disseminate your messages to your target audiences.
5. Create your content
Prepare content that’s adapted to your target audiences.
6. Roll out your communications
Consider the changing post-crisis context when choosing your communication methods and channels.
7. Follow up
Track your communication results daily and weekly and make changes, as needed.
The contingency plan: an important asset
While we can’t predict the environment Quebec and the rest of the world will be seeing in the next months, you can still gather the tools your business needs to face all kinds of scenarios.
That’s why your communication plan should include a contingency plan that will outline different scenarios for different potential situations. It will help you figure out what you need to do in each scenario.
A contingency plan will allow you to be in control of the situation in the event of an emergency and to minimize potential negative consequences.
Responsible corporate citizens
A business’ contribution to society is particularly significant during and after a crisis. Over the past few weeks, organizations have donated masks to the authorities. Essential businesses have put measures in place to protect their employees and some businesses have offered coffee, food or gas discounts to those working in emergency and healthcare services. A number of initiatives have come out during this crisis.
Those initiatives cost money but they truly highlight how important it is for businesses to act as responsible corporate citizens and to contribute to the well-being of the community. Every little gesture can greatly influence an organization’s image and reputation and, ultimately, your employer brand. So, businesses should continue to contribute to society and make sure that this is an integral component of their communication plan.
We want to ensure you’re able to resume and continue your business activities; that’s why our team of experts has launched Solutions for SMEs. Let us put our vast experience to work for you and help you develop an effective, personalized communication strategy.