2020. It just rolls off the tongue. Two decades into the new millennia. Three decades into the digital revolution. So much has changed in these decades. Even the most clairvoyant among us wouldn’t have been able to predict or prepare for the current difficult times.
Brands in today’s world have a major role and responsibility to play, especially in times of public health challenges like the current crisis. Often it is said that silence is golden. However, never so in a crisis. I would strongly advocate that brands Communicate to Win.
Brands that take the 4E approach are most likely to not only survive the crisis, but thrive in the long term. So what does the 4E approach entail?
Educate: To use multiple channels to educate its internal and external audiences on the criticality of the situation, steps taken to manage the crisis while also educating them on the actions taken by the brand to support its stakeholders.
Empathy: To adopt a tonality and line of communication that is not only understanding, but also cautiously optimistic. It should reflect trust in the future and the ability for everyone to work together and find solutions.
Engage: To ensure engagement with its stakeholders, including the community at large, inspiring confidence in the brand through their actions as well as offering support in all its capacity. It also provides support to efforts of organizations like the government, police and the WHO by amplifying correct information and curbing fake news from spreading within the ecosystem.
Explore: In the near term, brands should be agile to ensure business continuity and growth while protecting the workforce. Organizations should include newer additions such as flexible work arrangements and remote working. In an era where technology is at its peak, it should make the best use of it through implementation of such working arrangements to contain the risks to the workforce and the economy. Market conditions have always changed and brands have always had to respond to them. But it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the changes in the last decade, and the changes to come in the coming one, are more profound than ever before. Another serious consideration is hence, to relook at its (possibly weak or archaic) business model and prepare to hit refresh and reboot! The key question to be answered is: What it will take to continue to be successful moving forward?