by Kris Fiocca

April 21, 2020

Organizations across the globe are searching for a playbook on how to communicate during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. I’ll save you the time looking for one – the playbook doesn’t exist.

In what seems to be an endless news cycle, your communications strategy can change in an instant. The right message today could become out of touch tomorrow. With that in mind, it is vital to have access to the information your organization needs to understand, plan and react to the volatile environment.

When we all look back at this time, organizations and leaders will be remembered for how they responded in this moment. Comprehensive monitoring can ensure you have relevant and timely information when communicating with your key stakeholders.

Here are three areas you should be monitoring when crafting your communications strategy:

1 – Your Organization

Can you place a metric on how your brand is perceived on social media? How a placement in a top tier news outlet impacts the engagement of social users? Understanding metrics like sentiment, total mentions and share of voice can help inform your strategy and the tactics it will take to communicate your message.

For example, without warning, your organization could be ridiculed or praised by politicians, which could have a major impact on your business. General Motors and Ford have faced heat from President Trump to ramp up the production of ventilators. On the flipside, Ohio-based Battelle was praised by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for earning the authorization to decontaminate N95 masks used by health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus response.

A single social media post can quickly put your brand in the spotlight. Having the monitoring in place that can alert you if social conversation spikes—in a positive or negative way—can inform if and how you should respond.

2 – Your Competition

How are your competitors communicating their key messages? Does their outlook differ from yours? Where are they communicating? Is your competition getting media coverage for putting dollars behind an initiative to stop the spread or reduce the economic impact of COVID-19? Have they suspended earnings guidance amidst the uncertainty? Are these just a few of the questions keeping you up at night?

Every organization has a different level of concern as to how their competitors have answered the questions above. Those answers can be found in media coverage, social media posts and even in earnings call transcripts. Understanding what communication has worked or not worked for your competition will allow you to react to the current climate – and may ultimately help you avoid the same mistakes your competition made.

3 –Your industry

As the initial fallout from COVID-19 subsides and we move to rebuild the economy, how will government officials and citizens support a return to normal?

Despite everything, we are gearing up for another election and headlines are full of political debates on which industries deserve government funding to stay afloat in a possible recession. In the social media era, statements posted by government officials can set a tone for social conversation among citizens. For example, companies that rely on gig economy workers have taken a hit in media coverage and are getting blowback on social media from government officials and citizens for how they have treated their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis.

Having a pulse on what is being said about your industry, the good and the bad, can help you craft a strategy and message that strikes the right tone with your key audiences as our world starts to return to normal.

Curious about what insights you can glean from regularly monitoring your brand and the topics relevant to your industry? Learn more about our COVID-19 Market Intelligence offering to arm you with the right information to guide your next steps when making communications decisions. Shoot me an email and we can discuss what makes sense for your organization.