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Published on 15 April 2020 by The Clarity Business

George Hulbert from The Clarity Business explains.

Amid the Covid lockdown it may seem that now is not a good time to communicate. Let’s face it, there’s so much uncertainty around, and many organisations are still out there blasting us with frankly pretty useless ‘we’re there for you’ messages, so it’s not surprising that many companies just want to stop talking for now so they don’t just create more noise.

At The Clarity Business we understand that impulse. In our view, ‘we’re there for you’ is a useful thing to communicate if you’re a utility like a power company or IT/ISP provider. But for pretty nearly everyone else it’s a bit like asking ‘is there anything I can do?’ when what people really want to hear is ‘this is how we can help you’.

In our view, you show your audiences that you’re there for them by showing them how you can help them move forward.

So, are you thinking about how you can really help your customers right now? What is it that you know – or are doing – that will help them now and over the next few days, weeks and months?

And the other important question is this: do they know that you can help them?

It’s worth thinking about a few things:

- Organisations that can provide useful guidance to their audiences are of most value – so what do you know that will help your audiences to move forward? Break it down – which audience segments need what help, and have you got ideas, plans or activities underway to help them?

- Your audiences – clients, stakeholders, customers and more - will remember you fondly if they know you were helpful to them during this crisis period; and not so fondly if you went silent on them…

- You don’t need to make a splash to communicate with your customers and other audiences – are you thinking about what you need to say to them directly, via email, via newsletters, or more widely?

- Media (extremely busy as they are) are interested in human stories of how organisations are responding to the evolving situation by doing clever, creative new things to help people

- Many companies are also using this period in time to reset, re-target and plan ahead

- Government procurement activity is pushing on across a range of sectors - and if you want to work with ministries or local government bodies you need to know that they have fundamentally changed the way they evaluate and score companies. (Tip: it’s all about the Broader Outcomes: we can help).

- The mental wellness and suicide prevention charity MATES In Construction, which recently launched a new online chat room to provide a place for people in the building and construction sector to come together daily to talk about their worries and concerns. MATES is pushing hard daily to communicate (via media, social media and directly to clients) not only that it is there for people, but that it has numerous tools to offer people to help them navigate this worrying and stressful time.

- White Associates – which put out a focused and informative set of things that funders need to consider when looking ahead to fund construction projects in the current environment.

In virtually all cases there are audiences out there that need to hear from you – specifically 1) what it is that you know about their world and 2) how you can help them to move forward.

Two great examples of organisations that have been pushing hard to be useful and communicating with people right now are:

So what tools do you have to offer your audiences – and how can you show that they are of value to your audiences?

If you need any help in terms of making your messages and communications useful to your audiences so you can help your customers to do their job, get in touch with us at Clarity.

We will offer free planning sessions for Generator members if it’s useful to you, or even do a seminar if enough people want one.

To finish, I really liked this quote by Mark Ritson in Marketing Week, showcased by the ever-excellent Tom Fishburne that reminds us of how we should communicate right now:

“The world does not need our support or our concern. Your companies do not need a communication campaign about how much you care about the state of the world. They need us to do our job. To develop products and services that reflect the strange new challenges of the Covid summer ahead. To distribute them in a way that enables everyone in the market to benefit from them.”

Stay safe – and communicate well.