March 17, 2020
“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is an often cited remark worth remembering as we struggle to make sense of the COVID pandemic.
With each crisis over the past decades there are opportunities for change and renewal.
I remember sitting in my office in New York, on September 29, 2008 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 777.64 points, the largest point drop in history. Four days later, Congress established the Troubled Assets Relief Program, designed to bail out troubled banks. The Great Recession was underway, and it would last for eighteen months.
As the 2008 financial crisis took hold, I spent my days counseling clients on what to expect, how to re-trench and how to adapt in doing the three things: maintaining trust and credibility; managing for stability; and re-assuring customer, employees and stakeholders. My team and I helped our clients navigate that period and emerge stronger and better equipped for the next crisis.
And now that next crisis is upon us, although a 777-point drop in the Dow seems a quaint memory. The COVID-19 pandemic has already sparked the largest financial market sell-off in history. As a result, we face the likelihood of a serious economic downturn–recession and possibly a depression.
Few of us were prepared for what we are seeing with COVID. The need to modify and adapt communications and public relations strategies in real time is absolutely vital.
As we try to understand the scope and scale of this pandemic, we will all confront the need to balance stability and risk mitigation with trying to move forward cautiously re-gaining attention and momentum.
Indeed in the B2B landscape, buyers/customers are inherently risk averse. Sales cycles are long. In periods of crisis, buyer criteria for choosing vendors/partners changes significantly. Risk mitigation becomes the only imperative. As buyers become more deliberative, communicating consistently is critical. This is not the time for silence.
This crisis can be a time for rethinking every aspect of your PR, content and digital marketing programs. Your strategy, tactics, messaging, and spending. Now is the time to reassure customers, employees, shareholders, and stakeholders with consistent, high impact communications.
Finally, let’s not let this crisis go to waste.
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!