When we think about the pandemic, it is all too easy to think about the sectors and industries that have been hit hard. Some companies and agencies have been forced to close and many have had to make the difficult decisions to make redundancies. But we need to look at the wider picture and acknowledge that PR is key, and it’s here to stay.
Since I have been back off furlough and talking to as many people as I can, I have heard people say to me that, “PR is one of the first functions to be cut and it isn’t a necessity”, “PR is a luxury”.
I disagree. PR is an incredibly important function in normal day to day life, but if we look at what makes up ‘PR’ it is easy to see which parts will remain strong as we continue to move through the year.
Enter crisis PR and internal communications.
This pandemic isn’t something we have experienced before, and it is hard to know how to react. But how companies respond and act now, will be remembered for years to come. If you do not look after your employees and ensure that they are in the know and communicated to effectively it will be remembered. This could affect staff morale, staff retention and future staff attraction. At a time of uncertainty, employees need to feel that they are in this together and that their employers have empathy towards them.
Crisis communications are designed to protect reputation when a crisis hits. This could be to restore reputation, or a focus on the right messaging at the right time when managing issues. Things can go wrong, and the pandemic will affect businesses in different ways. If a case of Coronavirus happens in a business, this will need to be managed in the best way and quickly. And that is just one possible example. Workplace safety, drastic changes in the working week and job loss are others.
Another point to note is the use of influencers. Covid has shown the strength in communities, social media and influencers. This is an area that is thriving and so now would be a good time to include it in your PR campaign planning. Some PR agencies work closely with influencers and some do not use them at all. Influencers are at the heart of social media; their followings are continuing to grow, and micro-influencers are becoming a thing. With even more people taking to social media we need to adapt and be there with them, not retreating because we think this is a function to be cut.
So, when I hear people say that PR is not a necessity, or not as important as other functions and in danger, I find it very difficult to accept.
I am passionate about PR and believe in it, I hope you do too.
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