ince COVID-19 hit our shores, I am constantly being told the fundamentals of making connections, building relationships and B2B marketing has changed where businesses now need to diversify their message to engage with their current and prospective clients.
For Resource Industry Media, first and foremost the health and safety of my clients is my top priority where I have implemented new business conditions as I deal with this crisis and remain focused on my customers.
However, even though the ballgame has changed slightly I still believe the key to good strategic communications and stakeholder engagement to promote business capabilities is stories; meaningful business narratives that engage and enthuse, that connect with us and create a culture that supports all stakeholders where prospective clients and customers not only want to do business with you, but are proud and inspired to do business with you.
We all know that more people are online than ever before, and I believe this is the time to make the most of this opportunity with strategic and proactive public relation campaigns and escalate content creation for your own digital channels. With a captive audience, there will never be a better time to grow your audience.
During COVID-19 however, the brands that will stand out will be remembered for their responsiveness and compassion. If sales are falling or your product or service has temporarily lost all relevance, focus on building brand equity – a primary function of public relations – so you are in the box seat when circumstances improve.
What needs to be remembered is sensitivity and community are paramount. Show the human side of your brand without being boastful. Involve customers and advocates in your storytelling by asking questions and offering solutions. Everything you produce will be viewed through the COVID-19 lens so don’t ignore it and don’t overdo the empathy.
During this crisis, I’m focusing on what I call ‘Conscious Communications’ which I believe transcends narrow self-interest where my motivation in creating success for my clients is primarily motivated by communicating purpose and service to people rather than using fear, power and personal enrichment.
A business that uses financial communications and stakeholder engagement incentives alone to attract clients will get precisely what it pays for; a communications model motivated by money. Such a communications model is far less capable of inspiring clients and customers to extraordinary engagement, creativity and performance.
In tough times like these, strategic communications and stakeholder engagement is the muscle that will help to keep your organisation moving. And compared with other marketing activity, strategic communications and stakeholder engagement is also the most cost-effective tool in your arsenal.
Having access to a skilled a communications team with real newsroom experience and great storytelling skills will ensure your content stands out from the crowd. It will also be instrumental in protecting your reputation, helping you navigate a safe path through this crisis, and get ready for the future.
- Kieran Moran is the managing director of Resource Industry Media, a consultancy firm specialising in strategic business communications, engagement and events for the mining, engineering, manufacturing, construction and services sector.