When we emerge from lockdown life, businesses must be ready with a PR recovery plan to revive their brand, re-engage with target audiences and appeal to their consumption power.
We have already revealed why, more than ever, businesses need a strong PR strategy now, as well as practical tips on how to adapt and pivot your PR during the coronavirus crisis. Our focus now shifts to the next stage of PR crisis management: recovery. Here are four nuggets of wisdom to help prepare for the all-important final phase.
Recovery – but rooted in reality
The trick is to plan for what we know – know the knowables, and nail it. Right now, we are bombarded with articles on how Covid-19 will change the world forever, transform human behaviour and every industry along with it. Yet, many things won’t change, as marketing guru Mark Ritson points out in Marketing Week this month: “The impact of coronavirus right now is massive – on everything. But when we emerge out of lockdown the consumers, the media and marketing itself will quickly snap back to former heuristical norms.”
That is not to say people and society haven’t been affected since those rosy pre-pandemic days, but our behaviours have been evolving for decades, centuries even, and the path we were on will continue, “perhaps catalysed slightly” by coronavirus, says Ritson, but it won’t be “drastically different.”
What brands must prepare for is pent-up consumption and an inevitable recession. But again, these things are not new or unprecedented. We have experience of recessions, data on how it affects consumer behaviour and the media landscape, and this knowledge can be applied to your post-pandemic recovery PR plan.
Now is an optimal time to gather insight on your customers, competition and industry sector. Use data and research to carefully predict the future purchasing behaviours of your community and perhaps design a customer survey to identify changing perceptions of your brand and products. Expect a post-lockdown release, pent-up consumption, excitement and cautious optimism. New behaviours and trends may surface at this point. For example, if the older generation is turning to social media in large numbers to alleviate boredom and form connections during this strange period, will this medium become a more effective route for targeting them?
The lesson here is to review your PR channels and focus on the ones that deliver the fastest return. Look beyond your company, too. Research your competitors – what are they doing to create new opportunities? And is it likely to work? Has market sentiment changed?
Use these insights to inform a blueprint for recovery that captures the attention of your audience and appeals to their consumption power. Revival campaigns should be positive, optimistic and inspiring. The crisis will no longer be the focal point of communications, but it should be paid attention by appealing to post-lockdown emotions and possibly feature relevant and virus-related community action. Every PR campaign must be mindful that recovery will be an ongoing and evolving situation.
The importance of timing
Ensure all aspects of your campaign are ready to launch when your market shows signs of readiness, which will demand close monitoring and constant assessment of the situation and mood. If launched too early, messaging may appear tone deaf, but it will be tougher to cut through the marketing noise if an organisation acts too late because there isn’t a PR plan in place. Do not make this mistake. Be among the prosperous businesses of the future by taking action now.
Clareville is offering 1 Hour of PR consultancy – for free – to businesses in the meetings and events industry. If you would like to take up this offer or if you need help with B2B PR or consumer PR during the coronavirus crisis and beyond, please contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling +44 (0)207 736 4022.