Staying One Step Ahead Through Proactive Communication

April 3, 2020

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that some companies are much more prepared to handle a crisis than others. Take brands like Louis Vuitton and General Motors, which swiftly pivoted from day-to-day messaging to convey how they’re manufacturing critical products like hand sanitizer, ventilators and face masks.

Then there’s Sephora, which laid off 3,000 U.S. workers via conference calls on March 31. The news came after Sephora had stated it would pay employees through April 3 — during the calls, employees were told to mute themselves and weren’t allowed to ask questions.

That’s why proactive communication is key — it allows organizations to define the story and present positive messages. Companies like Sephora are now playing damage control, which, during a crisis, is like trying to swim in quick sand.

To come out ahead after a crisis, brands must proactively communicate. Below, check out four ways in which proactive communication can help organizations stay afloat.

It builds trust, appreciation and loyalty. When organizations go silent, employees, the public and the media may assume there’s something to hide. Companies which are transparent are likely to be viewed in a more favorable light.

It provides value to customers and stakeholders. Proactive communication shows people your company is thinking ahead and improving organizational productivity by anticipating and addressing questions before anyone asks.

It shows the company cares. During a long-term, unprecedented crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining how your brand is dedicating additional time and resources to handling the crisis, for example, goes a long way.

It prepares companies for future crises. Experience, after all, is the ultimate teacher. Proactively communicating during the current crisis can help brands learn what to do — and what not to do — and hone their internal processes for the next time bad news hits.

Proactive communication helps brands stay one step ahead. Reactive communication will guarantee a company is always one step behind — and, once behind, it can become increasingly difficult to catch up, and reputational damage is likely to be irreparable.

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