People say a crisis brings out the very best and the very worst in people – but it has also been the case for brands. From 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore raising £27million (at the time of writing) by doing laps of his garden, to our NHS heroes risking their lives every day to save lives, there are people who are so brave you can’t help but marvel at them. Then there are the brands that get it so wrong that they have managed to turn the coronavirus crisis into their own crisis communications scenario.
Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold there have been many examples of businesses in the spotlight for the way they have responded to the outbreak. My colleagues have written several blogs examining the good, the bad and the ugly and I am sure there will be more examples as organisations grapple with how to respond to an ever-changing situation.
We often find ourselves advising our clients that communication is necessary, not just in the good times, and the times of success, but also during the challenging times. And this is certainly one of the most challenging times any of us have faced. In the absence of the reassurance that we all so desperately crave right now, what is it we expect in the communications from the companies we deal with? Empathy, warmth, solidarity, something that feels like a virtual hug?
The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented crisis requiring us all to make huge changes to our lives. Now more than ever, employers need to think about the wellbeing of their staff and the role internal communications has to play. Poor or unclear internal communications can have hugely negative implications for an already anxious workforce.
PR is always about moulding how you are perceived and that is never more true than in a time of crisis. Unfortunately, if you get this wrong then the damage done to your brand can be long lasting. Away from the legal sector is anybody likely to forget how Sports Direct and Wetherspoons have handled their PR during the current crisis?
Since Neil and I started our legal PR firm Black Letter Communications almost nine years ago, much of our work, and indeed our success, has been achieved from the comfort of our own homes. I would go even further and say that some of that success has come from the very fact that we work from home.
As 2019, the centenary of the 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to practice law, drew to a close, I was lucky enough to be at the unveiling of a new artwork at the Supreme Court – the first ever to depict women.
Whatever the size of your organisation, ensuring consistent, regular and reliable internal communication that conveys your strategic aims and brand values is key. Creating a work community with a sense of belonging and working towards common goals will contribute significantly to the success of your business.
News is all around us yet one of the most common questions a PR or journalist gets is ‘what makes a story?’ There is no simple answer, more a litany of potential facts that make up the story jigsaw when dealing with legal and litigation PR.