During uncertain times, communication is more important than ever. We at OMEP have relied on communications support from our friends at Coates Kokes for several years. They have assembled a list of advice that could be used during this challenging time to keep manufacturing employees, customers and business partners informed as we address this pandemic together. These suggestions are also valuable for follow-up as the economy begins to reopen.
COVID-19 has created challenging times for all businesses, making calm, clear and thoughtful communication critical. However, as John Hunt recently discussed in his webinar, taking a proactive stance will allow your business to be prepared for the future. Here are proactive communication steps every business can take:
- If you’re considered an essential business (most manufacturers in Oregon are), let your customers, employees and clients know that you are still open. Post website announcements or statements about how your business is responding to COVID-19, but try to only share information that is relevant to each audience. For example, your customers want to know if they should expect delays.
- Write proactive and reactive social media copy for business announcements/statements. Consider your customers and partners as you write. Use the opportunity to highlight good news, as well as keeping everyone informed.
- Write a newsletter or e-news to vendors, clients or customers surrounding the outbreak and the status of business operations.
- Develop messaging around delayed shipments or halts in production. Update these often to avoid confusion.
- Draft messaging featuring the essential work manufacturing businesses are doing to help during the crisis (e.g., manufacturing medical devices, altering production to shift to creating medical supplies such as face masks or more in-demand products such as hand sanitizer, etc.). If you are doing this work, don’t be afraid to share it! If you know of others in the industry, show off their work.
- Consider communicating with news media about an effort you are leading or contributing to as a way to help your community.
- Write talking points ahead of time to help answer FAQs surrounding COVID-19 and what this means for your specific business, employees and the industry/sector as a whole.
- Plan for communications and messaging for if/when employees become infected. This could be internal communications to employees and staff surrounding what this means for their day-to-day operations and the long-term outlook for the company, or if there is an outbreak at a business and reporters contact you.
- Prepare a crisis communications plan to help you respond quickly and be proactive during a crisis. It is always best to take a proactive stance and be prepared for any situation.
- As the threat of COVID-19 begins to dissipate, and the economy opens up, share your story. Are you open? If so, when and to whom? Communicate regularly so clients and partners know what to expect.
If you have any questions for Lance at Coates Kokes, be sure to reach out