Select Page

Crisis communication?

Crisis communication?

By Ilke Platt
Founder Poiyah Media.

As Namibia came to a lock down this month, every individual has complied to the State of emergency over COVID-19. Following stricter measures to combat the further spread of this virus, it seems as if the ease of doing business has become harder.

Companies have been taken back to the drawing board to re assess their ability to still stay in business with such a pandemic. Apart from the ability to continue business as usual the communication tool has shown its power during this point in time. Being compelled to communicate the importance of the above, this is the time for communication practitioners to exercise the true meaning of a crises communication plan as well as revising its current risk assessment in the communication department.

According to Swetha Amaresan, a crisis communication plan is a set of guidelines used to prepare a business for an emergency or unexpected event. These plans include steps to take when a crisis first emerges, how to communicate with the public, and how to prevent the issue from occurring again. So how do we as corporate, business owners as well as government, communicate important messages, the channels of communication as well as the frequency there of? This is the role of communication experts within organizations.

Communication experts specialize in creating and maintaining reputations and are often called upon to support a company when disaster strikes. They are able to align messaging to help alleviate many issues that come with a public-crises. This has clearly been observed through the various media platforms in which the consumer awareness of COVID-19 has been distributed. Each corporate has
been able to communicate pro-actively with its various stakeholders to ensure safety and the ability to run its business close to normal as possible.

Perhaps after this pandemic, business as usual will be relooked at the current social platforms corporates have and whether they are being used or not? As communication experts, technology has allowed this arena to disrupt and execute business in a cyber space. In a time of panic this time should be used to re-analyze communication structure as well as the way we do business. Despite the recent report on Inc workers contracting the corona virus in Italy and Spain, they intend on hiring 100,000 more workers due to the influx of online orders after the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be a catch twenty-two as “On one hand, the company is providing a lifeline — some would even say an essential service — to shoppers who would rather not brave their local supermarket or big-box store. On the other, keeping operations going risks the health and lives of the lowest-paid members of Amazon’s workforce, the warehouse workers and drivers who are unable to work from home like their corporate colleagues,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

When we look at business models, and more focused on businesses’ that started recently, the structure can still be tested during this time to see if it will be relevant and a need despite social distancing. If we look at Nomad Now business model, they are a digital recruitment platform or marketplace. During such a time, they have been able to put into practice what they’ve been preparing for the future of work, since the end of 2016. They saw the need in the market for a platform which would allow the hiring of professionals in the context of the “future of work,” the first tech platform in South Africa enabling companies to hire all professional flexible or permanent talent online. Let’s
challenge ourselves to try out online platforms, if we have not already. Let’s urge our clients to make use of these platforms, instead of being forced to, when natural disaster strikes. Communication specialists should take the lead in boardroom discussions, to try and convince management to buy into this model and step out of the traditional face to face methods. Now is a time that the rest of executive management will gladly accept such proposals.

Finally, let’s embrace the profession of communication specialists as this profession allows calmness in adversity and allows a clear focus in the right direction. As once said by Nat Turner, “Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.