Why clear communication is more important than ever

Things seem to have settled down a bit. Clap for Carers is winding down, schools are starting to re-open to varying degrees and more and more businesses are preparing to open their doors.

But there’s still a lot going on. Covid-19 is still there, it’s going to be compulsory to wear masks in certain places next week, plus there’s the huge impact of the death of George Floyd and reaction in the form of the Black Lives Matter protests (which I’ll discuss in a future blog).

What to believe? Who to trust?

For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to focus on communication around Coronavirus, particularly after recently attending a webinar from market researchers Opinium, which delved into the statistics.

Communication has been a consistent problem for the UK Government throughout the pandemic, with people contending with conflicting information and a lack of clarity. The most striking example of this is the straightforward message ‘Stay Home’ changing to the more ambiguous ‘Stay Alert.’ While government ministers themselves struggled to define what this meant, it caused government approval ratings to fall into negative territory, with two fifths of those surveyed saying they were not confident in the Government’s abilities.

While the majority of us aren’t making decisions which will affect the future of the whole country, there are already lessons we can learn from the handling of the crisis – not least that a slight change in wording can lead to a big change in behaviour and confidence.

What should we be talking about?

Opinium have produced another report for marketers looking into what people want to hear and how they want to hear it.

It shows that consumers do want to keep hearing from us, and not necessarily about coronavirus. We’ve settled into our new patterns and are thinking about other things. We want some light relief, we want to hear something that makes us happy and we don’t want to think too hard about it.

So if you’re a business owner or organisational leader, share some good news, show consumers that there is some form of normality, show off your dodgy lockdown hair – while things still aren’t ‘normal’, we don’t have to be quite as serious.

Why should I keep talking to people?

 It’s the constant battle in PR – we can’t often prove an immediate ROI, but think about your own post-Covid plans. I bet you’re thinking about those businesses you’ve heard from recently, and who have kept you up to date with what they’re doing. They may have even shared a bit of behind-the-scenes information with you.

That relationship will last, and when we start to return to more predictable spending behaviour, that loyalty will pay dividends.

So, make sure you keep talking, be clear about what you’re saying and build those relationships so that you and your consumers step into the post-Covid world together.

If you want help and advice to find the most effective way to speak to people, please do get in touch.

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