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Good Crisis PR is Non-Negotiable
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Saturday, May 2, 2020


Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR 

While this particular period of economic uncertainty has a new face, there is comfort to be found in the fact that the implications are somewhat familiar: firms and consumers are reacting to changing circumstances, and those reactions are having a ripple effect on the rest of the economy. Marketing and advertising budgets have been slashed, and the tone of the conversation is dominated by one thing – COVID-19.  

It is essential that brands treat their communications strategies as a top business priority throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. This period of time presents a unique set of challenges, but also a unique opportunity for brands to boost their reputations and position themselves as leaders in their respective fields.  

At the same time, the media landscape has changed significantly since the last national crisis. There are countless more bloggers, influencers and authors contributing to countless more media outlets, and monitoring these outlets for trending topics and themes is a mammoth task. Certain terms and language can dominate online conversations only to disappear overnight, while other soundbites can guide national discourse for days or even weeks afterward.  

Modern communications teams must not only keep track of these media shifts, but also digest and translate them in a way that guides effective business strategy. Working in communications is no longer just about telling great stories: it is also about organizing, interpreting and translating data on an ongoing basis.  

Moreover, competition in most industries during the COVID-19 crisis is fierce; having a proactive communications team can be all the difference between acting strategically and missing golden opportunities. Monitoring the ways competitors are gaining traction online, for example, is essential. If there are early signs of a competitor building momentum around a particular issue or topic, brands can work quickly to insert their own story to reframe or redirect the conversation.  

In the same vein, if a competitor’s communication tactic is seen to misfire or land poorly with audiences, brands can learn from these instances and revise their own strategies accordingly. Learning from the mistakes others make is essential to adopting a successful, low-risk communications strategy.  

In essence, customers are looking to brands to be helpful during this crisis. Brands should be looking to shift their focus from brand promotion toward being authentic helpers and educators to their audiences. There might never have been a better time to build raw, authentic ties to customers and potential customers.  

Current market uncertainty thanks to COVID-19 has many brands shaking in their boots, and for good reason. Consumers are tightening their wallets, and seeking out information online in ways they never did just a few months ago. With the whole world focused on a singular topic of conversation, the usual digital marketing rules seem to have flown out the window. 

Even so, there are plenty of opportunities for brands willing to look for them. This is not a crisis situation where less communication is better than more: instead, it will be brands committed to crafting savvy, contextual communications strategies who will thrive in this time.

Is the NFL Ready for Kaepernick’s Return? - Ronn TorossianAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading crisis pr agency.

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