On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa stepped up to the plate when he announced Covid-19 a national disaster. His comprehensive speech allayed the country’s fears – and had South Africans overlooking the fact that he’d kept us on tenterhooks for hours awaiting its delivery.
“Any crisis calls for strong leadership, delivered with clear, concise communications,” explains Sandra Gordon, CEO of Stone Soup PR.
“Failure to address the many communications issues related to a crisis only deepens misunderstanding and fear, and creates further havoc – which means now is the time for business leaders and institutional and organisational heads to follow the President in stepping up and notifying their employees, clients and stakeholders of their intent to deal with this crisis,” adds Gordon.
“The impact of the Covid-19 virus is already felt, even in countries with low infection and mortality rates. Every industry and walk of life impacted by the social distancing to negate the effects of this global pandemic. This places the media and communications industries front of line in delivering relevant, factual information that encourages cooperation in warding off the worst effects of this global crisis,” notes Gordon.
Her advice to leaders? “Strategise your course of action, and communicate that clearly to your team, your clients, and relevant stakeholders. Leverage the power of digital wherever possible to keep your brand relevant and top of mind, and seek solutions to overcome any existing hurdles.
Gordon’s communications strategy in five easy steps
- Identify issues that will affect your company, brand, product or service.
- Identify and nominate a relevant spokesperson who will convey your message concisely.
- Establish a user-friendly communication channel – and keep it jargon free.
- Listen to feedback – and respond timeously to complaints and suggestions.
- Consistency, too, is key – keep stakeholders abreast of updates and changes, regularly.
“Finally, where needed, utilise the power of public relations to get your message out,” advises Gordon.
“Stone Soup is platform agnostic, and we have mastered the art of messaging, including and beyond traditional media and social media channels. Our B2B email campaigns and newsletters are beautifully produced, with the superb team at Ideaology Design – and our methods are cost effective.
“What makes us winners in PR and communications is our professional team of skilled writers and designers who love the challenge of co-ordinating any campaign around the power of words, enhanced by great graphics and images. We have so many ways to unpack your brand or company messaging – what message are you hoping to send out into the world today?”
Sandra Gordon is the CEO of Stone Soup PR. Founded in 2002, Stone Soup South Africa is a 100% women-owned and managed, boutique agency, specialising in bespoke public relations strategies and plans, communications, reputation management and events. We are based in Johannesburg with representation in Cape Town.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.