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Business as Usual? How to Know When and What to Communicate in Times of Crisis

Tara Brzozowski

Director of Public Relations

These are unprecedented times. I think it goes without saying we’ve all been through a lot in the last two weeks, and we are doing our best to come together and operate in unfamiliar territory. As marketing communications professionals, we’ve been presented with new challenges that go beyond what we’ve experienced in the past, leaving us feeling unclear and maybe a little uncomfortable on what to say and do next.

But why are we struggling? Let me break it down to a few key areas.

First, we’ve all been forced to become crisis communications experts overnight. Our executives are looking to us for the answers: what to say and how and when to say it. It’s certainly a lot to process. But, know that you are not alone, and COVID-19 is challenging even for the most seasoned crisis communications professionals because its impact transcends to so many aspects of our lives. This is not one type of crisis, and there are multiple independent layers intertwining, including public health, economic/business, and societal ones. The sheer magnitude of this pandemic is beyond what most of us have experienced in our marketing careers.

Second, change is happening at a pace so fast and furious that it’s hard to stop and think strategically; we just react. And, it’s not completely our fault. We are simply trying to keep up with the pace. Government leaders have been issuing a constant stream of executive orders, directing the way we can and cannot do business. The media coverage for COVID-19 is nonstop and more intense than we have ever experienced, and we’ve been told to socially distance ourselves from our team members and establish new workflows and processes from our make-shift home offices in a matter of days.

All of this chaos has turned our lives upside down, and now it’s time to figure out what we do next. If you are able to operate your business during this time and you are tasked with leading any aspect of the marketing communications functions, I’m sure you have a lot of questions on what to do next.

We all do.

Everyone is sending COVID-19 emails to their customers. Should I?

What can and can’t my business post on social media? I don’t want to come off as insensitive.

Is it appropriate to send a B2B press release right now?

The benefit of working for a marketing agency is that we get exposure to a variety of businesses, industries, and marketing challenges. It’s through these collective experiences that we are able to develop a playbook of best practices that we use to help people answer questions and solve problems.

And, right now, we want to help you.

Starting next week, and for the weeks to follow, we will be publishing a #PRbrief that will include a roundup of the most frequently asked questions of the week.

Whether we know you well or we’ve never met, we are here to help. Please let us know what’s on your mind. If we don’t know the answer, we will connect you to someone who might. All questions can be directed to me at [email protected].

Be well and stay safe everyone. We will talk to you next week.

View the links below for related topics we’ve recently covered in our #PRbriefs:

4 Ways to Leverage Social Media in a Period of Social Distancing

3 Tips for Effectively Communicating in the Wake of Coronavirus

Why Social Listening is Crucial to Your Brand