Managing corporate reputation during the Coronovirus pandemic is critical for safeguarding your company’s reputation and profitability. Here are 10 top tips from the online reputation experts at Igniyte.
“Everything has changed. Both in life and in work as we know it. And, while the primary concern for most of us is our health and wellbeing and that of our families, friends and co-workers (and rightly so), we’re also worried about our jobs and finances,” says Fiona Broomfield, Head of Content at Igniyte. “And the business world is also trying to get its head around how to navigate this unprecedented situation and, how to survive it.”
Fiona says: “What’s vital in a time of crisis for businesses – as well as looking after their companies, employees, stakeholders, investors, customers (and sanity!) – is the ability to stay visible and maintain brand awareness.
“Let’s face it, this is an unsettling time for consumers and businesses and none of us can predict how long it will last. So, as we enter the unknown, many businesses are unsure about their future security.”
Staying visible and ensuring you’re at the forefront of people’s minds (for the right reasons), should help safeguard your business’s long-term profitability and investment over the coming months.
Managing corporate reputation during the Coronovirus pandemic
Here are Igniyte’s top tips for managing corporate reputation during the Coronavirus pandemic:
1. Monitor the public mood
This Coronovirus pandemic situation changes daily. How you communicate with people – from your employees to your customers – should absolutely reflect the public mood. Monitor Coronavirus and COVID-19 announcements, news and commentary online (think news sites and social media).
Also, ensure that you adapt your tone of voice in your communications so its synched with the public mood.
2. Stay visible – ramp up your comms
Don’t stop talking and communicating with your people, stakeholders, and customers. People want to know what is happening, how you are adapting to the changes and what will be changing as a result. You need to communicate to both share information and to manage expectations.
People still want and need things and they will after this is over. Let people know what is happening, what they can expect from you and how they should get in touch. If you take the lead in communicating with people, you’ll save yourself time and effort firefighting too.
3. Take a step back… do you need to rethink your advertising and marketing tactics?
Companies should, and are, rethinking their advertising and marketing campaigns, and are largely being guided by public mood on this. Assess your current campaigns – do you need to pull or alter anything to avoid causing problems? Not just for your reputation, but are you still able to meet expectations due to shortages for example? Or should you be creating something new that speaks to wants or needs that you can fulfil?
Word of caution, tread carefully. Those companies that have already tried to take advantage of increased demand for products like toilet roll, and not doing themselves any favours in the court of public opinion. Don’t end up being associated with the crisis for the wrong reasons.
4. Build more trust
Being visible and continuing to communicate with people will reinforce and build trust in your brand. Create content that shows what your business is doing to support its customers, employees and the communities in which you operate, and you’ll also continue to promote your products and services. Use this time to give something back.
5. Think about your reputation – and risk assess EVERYTHING
Corporate reputations are impacted by the way companies handle a crisis – and this is the moment of reckoning for some. At Igniyte we deal in corporate reputation every day – and crisis management. So, we are helping clients to understand how to handle everything from their internal communications to their online presence. And to navigate any communication needs from the positive to criticism on social media or in the national press.
Managing corporate reputation during the Coronovirus pandemic involves taking a step back. Before you say or do anything think about the potential impact it could have on public perception of your brand. Is this the right time to say what you’re about to? How is it likely to be received? Are you doing it in the most appropriate way? Is there a better time or place? Is the tone of voice right? What does your audience want or need right now? What will they want or need in a week or a month from now?
6. Look after your employees
Your employees are your biggest asset – and you know it. Treat them well during this crisis. And let’s not forget that the world is paying attention. Some of the company headlines coming out of this crisis are causing irreparable damage to company reputation such as Wetherspoons and Sports Direct, both forced to make U-turns on virus-related decisions due to the huge online public backlash. There are calls on social media for the brands to be boycotted.
7. Be human and compassionate
Yes, of course, the numbers matter. But, right now, strike the wrong tone and it could shatter your reputation and send customers, stakeholders, investors and even your employees running for the hills. Be human and compassionate in all of your business dealings and interactions.
8. Think about how you can add value
Think about how you can support the greater good during this time. Managing corporate reputation during the Coronovirus pandemic involves creativity too. Many businesses are thinking innovatively and being creative. Some are also creating new opportunities, take Brewdog, which is switching beer production to make hand sanitiser due to a shortage of it.
9. Keep the ‘bigger picture’ in mind
Be aware that consumer behaviour could change once the pandemic is over. It may not return to be the same as it was before. The things we’ve had to adapt to and the new behaviours we’ve adopted could become the norm after the coronavirus pandemic is over. For example, people might shop locally rather than in the supermarkets more, we could also see more people working from home or more services provided online.
10. Remember that more people will be online right now, what they see matters
What people see when they ‘Google’ your business is perhaps more important now than ever before. You want people to see a search results page that is filled with links directing people to your website, social media, and positive news coverage and reviews. You don’t want anything negative to show when people search for you online. Google controls as much as 92% of all search engine traffic and that first page of search results attracts 95% of traffic. 90% of people only look at that first page of search engine results to form their impression of your brand – make it count.