Communications During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Over the past few months, Zoom has become a ubiquitous term in the vocabularies of millions of people all over the world. As the global community retreated into our homes and governments instituted national lockdowns during an unprecedented pandemic, it became clear that the nature of communications has changed drastically. What does this mean for B2B companies and communication strategies moving forward?

The importance of keeping an eye out on the news cycle and popular commentary cannot be understated. Given how rapidly the situation has evolved within countries, it is crucial that we keep abreast of the changing developments. Singapore provides a clear case study for how a nation’s situation might unexpectedly change at the drop of hat. With public health directives and national policies changing from month to month, even week to week, B2B companies have to keep alert to the way states are responding to the crisis and plan ahead accordingly.

We should be cognizant of the general mood of fatigue that has settled around the world. This fatigue has taken on many forms—social distancing fatigue, screen fatigue, Zoom fatigue, and even compassion fatigue, as bad news seems to be unending. As nations extend lockdowns far beyond what many of us initially expected, a sense of exhaustion has emerged. Even as some yearn for a return of normalcy, experts urge that with the advent of climate change and the possibility of Covid-19 being here to stay, we might have to imagine a new normal instead.

A good rule of thumb to adopt during this period is to emphasize positive, uplifting stories. In this period of social isolation, sharing positive stories of human kindness and decency can help keep us afloat and remind us of our common humanity. These stories can also motivate us to work harder for the common good and spur us into action to provide relief for the most vulnerable amongst us.

Future trends

As consumer and media demand for transparency and accountability increases, the management of corporate affairs and corporate communication will only take on greater importance over the next five years. It is thus incumbent on companies to prepare ahead of time for the changing responsibilities and stakeholder demands ahead of us.

For instance, companies and business are expected to undergo a large digital transformation. Beyond the uberisation of the economy, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a movement towards the online space, where much economic activity has moved. It is likely that this digital transformation will only continue after the Covid-19 pandemic. This transformation will require companies to adopt a bottom up approach and listen to various sectors’ views as policies are developed. It also reaffirms the need for companies to take an active role in managing their PR and prepare ahead for other potential crises.

The importance of crisis communication strategies

Companies should develop a crisis communications team to work with the media and external stakeholders. Experts predict that with environmental damage, Covid-19 might be the first of many zoonotic viruses that spread globally. Dealing with sudden changes and unexpected crises might become a reality. In this context, companies must strongly consider the need to invest in developing a crisis communications team. This is particularly true in Asia, where companies are less likely to have developed a strategic crisis communications plan. Developing a crisis communications plan is crucial when navigating uncertain waters.

 

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Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project