Managing the Message During the Coronavirus Crisis

First appeared on ArkansasBusiness.com

Communication can prove challenging for companies in the best of times, but even more so in a crisis. Sometimes those are organization-specific crises where they’re the only one in the spotlight. Then there are the crises we cannot as easily prepare for, including natural disasters or the current situation with the coronavirus COVID-19. 

Moments of crisis are where thoughtful, strategic communication is most important. Do it right and show your organizational strength and build loyalty. Do it wrong and be remembered for your weaknesses. Here are a few communications tips from someone who’s been in the trenches with many companies at those moments where every word matters.

Take Responsibility

There are times when you need to circle the wagons and times when you need to be in front leading. In times like this, company leaders have a responsibility to guide the conversation among their staff, customers and vendors. That means sticking to the facts instead of feeding fears or rumors. It also means getting out in front of an issue and showing that you have the best interests of your people in mind, regardless of the challenges you face. Be transparent, be confident and guide the conversation so that you’re in control of what is being told to your stakeholders. 

Consider Your Audience

Your audience should always shape and influence the nature of your communication, but you must also be consistent. In a crisis, you will not always have the luxury of segmenting the audience for your communications. Rather than ignore your audience and release generalized communications, though, you should consider everyone. Realize that the internal note you send to your staff could show up on someone else’s social media account. Off-hand comments to the media will be consumed by your internal staff. Ensure that everything you say carries the right message to all of your unique audiences versus saying nothing to any of them.

One of the most important things for company leaders to realize as we all work through this new unchartered territory of COVID-19 or whatever crisis will follow is that it won’t be easy. Careful, thoughtful communications that help your employees, customers and vendors weather the storm will be remembered and rewarded once this storm has passed.

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Have a Crisis Communications Plan

The best time to plan for a crisis is yesterday. Without a solid crisis communication plan in place, once a crisis develops you will be left scrambling to keep up with it. That’s a losing scenario, so take time to plan ahead and identify your priorities. You should also outline all of your contingencies. Do you have a business continuity plan that includes details on how staff can work remotely? It’s COVID-19 today, but there could be floods or a tornado tomorrow. Figure out how to make those contingency plans work before you need them and understand how you’re going to communicate with your audiences when the time comes. Then put it on paper, make sure everyone is familiar with what it says and set a calendar reminder to dust it off every six months to make sure everyone is still up to speed.

If you don’t have a plan and you’re in the midst of all this, at minimum do some scenario planning with your team. Think: if this, then this …. identify uncertainties and different “realities” of what might happen in the future for your business.

Be the Leader You Are

There is an undeniable level of chaos and fear of the unknown in our communities right now, but if we think through our communications to clients, vendors and partners we can help set a tone of remaining calm and vigilant. As business leaders, we need to ensure our messaging does not help to proport rumors and anxiety that will only further hurt the markets, our businesses and the economy in general. While on the other hand, we need to understand this is a real crisis; we must put processes in place that keep our people and our customers safe and healthy.

If we as business owners commit to doing the right thing, having the courageous conversations and supporting our community leaders during this unprecedented time, we will weather this storm together. 

 

McDonald’s

Marketing / Communications

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The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring a Media Relations Specialist and Fall PR Intern! 

Media Relations Specialist

The media relations specialist should possess superb project management and organizational skills, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.

To ensure success, media relations specialists should demonstrate fantastic time management, great creativity with a keen interest in creating and implementing cost-efficient and effective media campaigns, as well as effectively analyze the impact of campaigns on the company’s bottom line.

By assisting the team in the execution of client activities and learning the basics of services offered across all areas of the agency, the media relations specialist will play a crucial role in supporting client service teams. 

Main Responsibilities

  • Write client and internal correspondence effectively and with limited supervision.
  • Develop content for broadcast, print and online distribution channels to include press releases, media advisories, blogs, e-newsletters and website content with limited supervision.
  • Negotiate with media channels to close competitive deals.
  • Serve as the agency’s media liaison and formal spokesperson, and effectively place client messages and spokespeople in target media outlets.
  • Scan the media marketplace to keep up-to-date on the latest media trends.
  • Successfully plan and execute client activities such as media tours, digital and social campaigns, business missions and/or other special events. 
  • Proactively identify story ideas and work with the supervisor to develop.
  • Successfully manage independently the execution of all client content calendars, which can include media relations pitch calendars, blogs, social content and paid media campaigns.
  • Exhibit competency and efficiency in drafting copy for client marketing materials and/or campaigns, such as website content, e-newsletters, collateral materials, paid media campaigns, etc. 
  • As it relates to social/digital media, regularly suggest ideas, manage the planning, and comfortably execute campaigns on behalf of clients. 
  • Assist in the management of interns, when applicable. 
  • Monitor all campaigns, and report on results.
  • Build long-term relationships with media houses.
  • Easily navigate agency platforms such as Cision, TVEyes, Sprout Social, Sprinklr.

 

Fall PR Intern

We’re looking for a resourceful go-getter who enjoys fast-paced work in an agency environment and is eager to learn the ins and outs of public relations, media relations, social media management and content marketing.Our team members are expected to complete high-quality work, juggle multiple tasks, keep projects on track, and be accountable for results. The right candidate will be a motivated problem-solver who will thrive in a deadline-driven environment.

Responsibilities:

  • Writing for social media
  • Posting to social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Creating Canva graphics
  • Brainstorming/Researching Ideas
  • Logging media clips
  • Assisting with video production and Facebook lives for clients
  • Building media contact lists
  • Uploading content to content management sites for clients
  • Assist with client events
  • Media Relations outreach
  • Attend internal meetings and potentially take notes for client meetings
  • Assist with office errands and organization
  • Assist with general project management and scheduling

What We Want:

  • Experience with writing/posting to social media sites and using Canva is preferred.
  • Experience with photography and/or video creation or production is a plus.
  • Creative problem-solver
  • Organized and able to prioritize work under pressure
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • You are resourceful.
  • You are humble.
  • You know what needs to be done because it just comes naturally.
  • You are accurate with an attention to detail.
  • You follow instructions.
  • You have a life outside of work that you love and nurture.
  • You love learning new things.
  • You ask questions when appropriate and know how to Google the simple things like your life depends on it!
  • You treat our clients and your team members with respect.
  • You are funny.
  • You are caring.
  • You are a good friend and co-worker.
  • You are creative and think of brilliant ideas in your sleep.
  • You are resourceful. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again!

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position