The coronavirus will affect every facet of business and communication is no exception.
Coincidentally, JBP had been organising an event called Keeping up with New World of Communications focussed on the changing landscape of the function which had to be postponed due to the pandemic – a number of the themes and trends we were covering will become even more prominent going forward. Here are five ways that the events of recent months are likely to shape future business communications.
1. Communicate with purpose
The companies that have come out on top during this crisis are those that have been communicating with purpose. The coronavirus seems has created a more humane and community-led world. Doing the right thing and being true to one’s values when communicating and engaging with key stakeholders will therefore be even more important in this environment going forward.
2. Build on new found digital savviness
Many senior management and leaders have had to get to grips with and understand the strategic opportunities from digital media. Too many have not been able to immerse themselves in digital communications and engagement activities in the past due to their busy schedules.
That’s all changed now as the pandemic has meant they’ve had to adapt quickly and use digital channels more than ever. They’ve been using their own media channels to get their messages across and to tell stories that convey the personality of their businesses. Expect leaders to build on their newly acquired digital savviness and drive and harness the full potential of digital within their organisations.
3. Employee communications no longer the poor relation
Employee engagement – or internal communications – has arguably been the poor relation to external communications in the past. Not anymore. Whilst that position has considerably changed in recent years, the coronavirus has made it a significant priority during the pandemic and beyond.
Colleagues are your best brand ambassadors. Therefore, the way organisations have communicated and engaged with them during recent weeks and how they do so in the future will be critical to the way they act and behave – ie their brand loyalty – and therefore the way you are viewed by the outside the world. Ultimately it will be key to the success or not of the organisation going forward and to the retention and acquisition of employees.
4. Communications around remote working
Remote working – which has been an integral part of employee communications and engagement has exploded in the light of the virus. And all the signs are that many businesses will become more flexible in the future and allow their staff to work from home. This will require rethinking of traditional internal and external communications going forward – from the way we communicate with colleagues in order to manage and develop them at a distance to how we sell to and maintain or build relationships with customers via videoconferencing.
5. Effective communications and engagement around mental health
Finally, there is the communications implications of arguably the biggest impact on our workforces – that of mental health. Whilst mental wellbeing was a major item on the corporate agenda before the crisis, the issue will become even bigger in the wake of coronavirus. How we equip leaders, managers and those responsible for mental health to have the appropriate conversations post COVID 19 will be critical to staff wellness, morale and retention which all feed through to business reputation and performance.
It’s why at JBP we’ve just appointed a special adviser on mental health communications and engagement to support businesses and their managers to have appropriate, useful and positive conversations with colleagues suffering from mental illness.
Please download our Reboot Your Business communications guide and attend our Re-Boot Camps involving livestreamed interviews with experts and thought leaders from the worlds of communications, property, the media, digital business and mental wellbeing.