Getting Your House In Order

3rd April 2020

Article by RoyceComm

Communications planning for restrictions and operational impacts during this pandemic is the second most important thing you can do for your business right now.

Most of our clients have strong business continuity and risk planning protecting their operations, supply chains, distribution networks and staff. That has rightly been the number one priority for most organisations in the last month.

What is often lacking is how exactly communications works with these plans; how the message or the method changes with the situation.

Too often, preparation (and, importantly, approval) of draft materials and action plans is left for later. If you thought getting multi-level approval for a media statement, call centre script, social media messaging or investor communication took too long before, imagine doing it remotely while your key staff are all worried about their own families.

Thorough crisis planning in the pandemic era considers the likely and possible scenarios, and communications approaches and materials for each scenario.

You need these written and agreed – including by your legal counsel - before the event takes place, or you’re playing catch up in a very complex environment.

Try to consider as broad a range of scenarios as possible. What do you do and say if a staff member or a client contracts COVID-19? What if a key supplier or distributor goes under or their own supply chains break down?  

Many organisations are adapting well to the current rhythm of restriction announcements – rumours, National Cabinet announcements, state government responses, and finally restrictions being implemented.

Consider how your stakeholders (clients, suppliers, distributors, staff) feel in the absence of information between the National Cabinet announcement and hearing from you about how you’re going to manage it.

The more prepared you can be for new restrictions the better – even communicating proactively to some of your audiences about how prepared you are to deal with different scenarios.

Document it, socialise it, practice it, and revisit it as the situation evolves.