By Ilissa Miller, Founder and CEO of iMiller Public Relations and President of NEDAS

As you know, we are in uncertain times and this means we have to communicate with customers and peers more often. Many of our clients are asking us for guidance in all facets of their business from sales efforts to communications, technology for networking and beyond.

To help frame communication messages that you are considering to the market, we prepared a Do’s and Don’ts for your consideration. In short, here are our top recommendations for your consideration:

  • Make sure your existing customers/clients know what you are doing for them, capable of doing, what concessions (if any) you can offer and how you have prioritized their needs
  • Make sure your existing customers/clients know how you can help THEIR customers, colleagues, peers and others.  By letting them know how you can help you build a web of trust that goes far beyond traditional expectations
  • In all your messaging you should be sensitive to the global situation we are in.  You do not have to mention it directly – indirect references are ok – but be sure to put your communication in context to the big picture in the market.

Below is a more detailed Do’s and Don’ts to follow for your consideration:

What TO Communicate

  1. Please be aware that this is global and affects many people throughout the world equally – being sensitive to this is important (so as not to look like you are too centric in your approach)
  2. Messages of assurances
  3. Messages that show your company’s commitment to employees and customers during times of crisis (protecting and enabling them)
  4. Messages of service availability and commitments to customers
  5. Messages related to offers to help companies pivot/leverage solutions quickly and effectively (and cost-efficiently) – especially if they solve problems known to exist that you can support
  6. Messages to customers about how you are able to continue to support and things they can consider with your service capabilities (that can be quickly and safely implemented)
  7. Updates on timelines of projects
  8. Concessions for services (if any)
  9. Promotions for services to existing customers (if any)
  10. What you may be doing to help the community, and first-line responders
  11. Company values and ways to engage your customers to align and help in efforts
  12. Pitching is OK as long as it is relevant to the current climate and integrates a direct or indirect mention of the situation (completely ignoring is a DO NOT DO)
  13. Do communicate messages that provide help, guidance, expertise, and insights to support others going through it too
  14. Do share thoughtful pieces from partners, customers, others to help spread best practices
  15. Do share updates and relevant information with customers, partners, vendors, employees to keep them informed of your company’s efforts and initiatives that will be helpful to them
  16. Do identify customers and target prospects that you can help immediately in a time of crisis and reach out to them with real solutions that can solve their immediate problems
  17. Do identify top risk/frontline customers that could use your expertise and reach out to them with real solutions that solve their problems
  18. Do consider cutting fees for Universities and Research customers who are unable to leverage network solutions for their campuses because everyone is at home
  19. Do consider offering free upgrades to healthcare/hospitals you may provide services to
  20. When pitching, media are encouraging non-COVID-19 related pitches as long as they are relevant (for instance, “how can you quickly scale up your network in a remote work environment” – note there is no mention of the virus but the message is apropos to today’s climate.

What NOT TO Communicate:

  1. Tone-deaf messages ignoring the current global situation
  2. Do not ignore what is happening around you
  3. Cancel all business as usual posts (accolades to the team, accolades to partners, award wins, etc.)
  4. Do not use the situation or self-interest or corporate gain
  5. Funny messages that are inappropriate
  6. Self-serving messages that toot your own horn without regard to others
  7. Don’t issue communications as press releases (unless it’s a media alert for the media)

Other Considerations:

  • Wait on driving value with partnerships, media organizations, etc. unless you have a specific purpose and budget to apply – otherwise it will be a distraction and only serve to interest your company which will be frowned upon
  • Social Media Considerations
    • Some interesting ideas for post topics at this time (on a very minimal basis)
  • What is your company doing to help #SlowTheCurve?
  • COVID-19’S Impact on global internet performance with people staying home (tons of third party articles on this).
  • Encouraging people to #StayHome
  • Posts / memes of encouraging / uplifting quotes or statements.
  • Cybersecurity in the times of COVID-19
  • The recommendation would be to keep posts to probably 3 / week for the peak of Pandemic

Something you might consider in light of these tips and the market’s overall, current climate:

Virtual Networking

To help keep business opportunities flowing, iMPR is hosting Virtual Networking Sessions Monday in March at 12pm ET.  If you would like to join us – please register here.   We have some topical discussions scheduled for Monday, March 23.  We hope you can join us. #Dontgoviralgovirtual