Comms x COVID-19

Comms x COVID-19

We’re in the age of information – information overload, miss information, over sharing of information – so much information that we hardly ever know which to believe, which to ignore and which to refute.

The bubble that COVID-19 has created has exacerbated that in a way we have never seen before.

Information is playing such a huge part of the way we live right now – it’s very day to day but what we mustn’t forget is that the information we will take away from this crisis will be unprecedented too.

Never before have we lived through a crisis with so much data at our finger tips. It’s flowing through the news and across social channels minute by minute and when this is all over there will be so many statistics about what this pandemic has done for our lives, our jobs, our businesses, our health and more.

In PR and comms we use data to define what we do so I wanted to explore what is already out there that is relevant to a brand who will undoubtedly be looking to sense check its comms strategy right now.

Let’s start with a biggie – Kantar estimates that brands who go dark to save costs will see a 39% reduction in brand awareness and delay recovery after Coronavirus.

Yet last week, the IAB released the results of a recent survey of 390 media buyers, planners and brands and told us that 24% of brands have paused all ad spend for Q2. Digital ad spend is down 38% and spend on traditional channels is down 43% in March and April. 

Yet Facebook is reporting never seen before spikes in usage and that messaging has increased by over 50%. Thanks Mustard Media for the Webinar – check out Business Keeps On Dancing.

Surely this is a chance to tap into this spike? Your audience is quite literally sat waiting for you to serve them up content. Are you brave enough to take the chance?

I read a brilliant stat about restaurants during the 1991 recession…McDonald’s dropped its advertising budget which Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of. Pizza Hut sales grew by 61%. Taco Bell sales grew by 40%. McDonald’s sales declined by 28%.

The information speaks for itself and it will be interesting to see what the 2020 stats say in years to come.

The key to getting it right will be messaging.

In a poll of 12,000 people by Edelman across the world’s leading economies, conducted last week, nearly two-thirds agreed that how brands respond to the pandemic will have a ‘huge impact’ on their likelihood to buy those brands’ products.

John Harrington, editor of PR Week, has just published an appeal to brands not to cut PR budgets.

He argues that reducing spend on communications during the coronavirus crisis would be hugely counterproductive, with the negative ramifications felt now and as recovery takes hold.

He’s right – yes I know I would say that… but PR, stripped down to its basic elements, is the art of telling the story of your business.

Companies out there are taking tough decisions – decisions to furlough staff, to cut budgets and put prices up. No one is your best friend more in this time that your PR team. They know you, they can tell your story better than anyone else and they can make sure that the positive messages cut through by connecting you with the right media to amplify them.

Trust them, they will be your biggest assets right now. They have ideas and they know your audience and how to connect with them. They will make all the difference!