Communication in the Time of Corona

Dear Clients and Friends,

The COVID-19 virus is taking us into uncharted territory, causing unprecedented types of social and economic disruption.  In order to keep their teams safe, we have seen companies cancel events, enact work from home protocols and support employees who have been infected, while managing the related impact on their businesses.

As Q1 2020 draws to a close, however, companies increasingly will be expected to quantify the financial impact of COVID-19 on their business and expectations for the year.  With the facts on the ground changing rapidly, this presents communications challenges not seen since the financial crisis.

While the issues presented by Coronavirus are unique, we believe our clients would do well to remember the following core principles as they consider how to address stakeholder concerns leading up to the calendar Q1 financial reporting cycle and beyond:

  • Assemble the right team now, and position them to move quickly and collaboratively;

  • Break down organizational silos so all key constituencies have a voice;

  • Retain control of your story: both positive and negative information should come from you;

  • Consider financial updates as needed to avoid information gaps being filled by rumor and speculation;

  • Communicate frequently with employees, even if only with incremental information, to help allay concerns;

  • Be as clear as you can on the facts – separating what you know from what you don’t and avoiding the temptation to speculate;

  • Think in terms of presenting information from the perspective of both your company and the public; and

  • Contact public officials as appropriate instead of waiting for them to call.

At times like these there is no standard playbook, and every organization will have different challenges, constituencies and objectives.  But keeping these broad principles in mind should provide a framework to help you tailor an approach that works for your organization.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of Reevemark’s Founders if we can be of assistance:

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