Inside a One-Year Crisis Communication Response
4 Ways Your Business Can Meet The Challenges Of An Evolving Crisis
You never know when you will find yourself on the front lines of a crisis.
A year ago, the answer to that question might have seemed irrelevant. But this all changed a year ago when the COVID19 pandemic raged across the world and every business had to have a plan…and it needed to be finished yesterday!
Every one of us found ourselves impacted in some way, professionally or personally.
Communicating in a pandemic
Kristal Howard, the national spokesperson for The Kroger Co. unexpectedly found herself in the right in the middle of the COVID crisis.
Grocery stores found themselves on the front lines of the crisis, as a gathering place and a vital resource for the community.
From supply chain issues to COVID19 vaccine rollouts, Kristal has effectively been in crisis communication mode for over a year.
She has learned more than a few lessons about how to handle communication in an ongoing crisis that she shared with us.
You can watch the full video at the bottom of this post, or
Balancing crisis communication with regular messaging
Focus on the message you want to send and figure out ways to convey that message is very important during a crisis.
But at a point, when is it okay to convert back to normal marketing messages during a crisis? When can you talk about sales on eggs and move away from the availability of hand sanitizer or toilet paper?
A year is an extraordinarily long period of time to manage a crisis. Working with the unknown is a big hurdle to overcome, but creating the right partnerships is beneficial.
Asking your marketing team questions, even though you might not come up with all the right answers, helps to create a more transparent and educational environment.
Bringing in more eyes that might not see what you see can foster collaboration that everyone can benefit from.
From there you can make decisions about what messaging is right for the moment.
Tools to consider for crisis communication
There are many affordable resources out there that you can use. Who wouldn’t want the extra help?
Utilizing tools and leveraging platforms can create a collaborative and educational environment.
You don’t need a huge budget to get great results. Kristal used some of the following tools to coordinate her team and communicate with internal and external audiences.
- Reddit: Kroger paid close attention to community comments on the Kroger Reddit page https://www.reddit.com/r/kroger/
- Media Room: liten
- Brand folder: https://brandfolder.com/ ,Kristal’s team uses this as a catch-all for their art assets as well as any press communication statements that they have published.s
- Google Docs: https://www.google.com/docs/about/ Google docs provides a very collaborative workspace where everyone can make suggestions. Kroger uses this for internal business.
- Memo: This allows you to see the readership of your audience. You can see what’s trending. Click here for more information on Memo.
Managing crisis communication and keeping your sanity
Crisis has really opened our eyes to doing the work that matters and only the work that matters.
Being diligent during the chaos of crisis and making time for self care and recharging yourself can make a big difference in your performance.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Know that you have a team ready to support you.
Become a resource for others. Whether you are showing yourself as your brand or yourself as a person, this can make you an accessibility.
Create messages for your brand that are relatable. Approach your audience as person rather than a company.Set expectations with your team to allow people to thrive.
Stop doing stuff that doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t reach a lot of people or have an impact then do not focus on it.