During the pandemic, many small businesses have had to completely change direction in order to simply survive. Small business marketing consultant, Nat Sharp has been inspired by small businesses communicating their experiences in a personable and honest way. She’s seen a demonstration of how the right message delivered in an appropriate environment can create strong brand affinity.
In Nat’s newest article on The Sharp End blog, Carnsight Founder Jessica Morgan joins in. She offers her top tips for communicating your business lockdown story.
Human interest stories
Stories that tie in with the news agenda are much more likely to be picked up, so lockdown business changes have been newsworthy. We launched a new lockdown business, for example, that was able to get a national profile because it was a total pivot (the founder went from financial advisor to cocktail entrepreneur). Remember, the stories behind the news interests people more than the news itself.
Sharing the solution
It’s key to share a true picture of what has happened and what changes have been made. Ensure you show the solution and resolution to any challenges you may have faced.
A common mistake is making a business faceless by not showing the people behind it. Sometimes small businesses fear this does not give the appearance of scale. But, by sharing a bit about the team behind your venture, you can actually make more of an impact. People are more willing to come along on your journey if they know who you are.
Likewise, many businesses have had to overcome logistics issues such as supply chain problems during the crisis. Being upfront with customers about what has happened, how it’s affected things and how you’re working to resolve these issues is a good idea. Just remember, you don’t need to overshare on every communication. Different channels do different jobs, so tailor your messages.
Adapting the message for crisis communications
Whilst you might want to share the full story in internal communications, for example, often external communications (particularly crisis communications) are about being factual and to the point. People are happy to know the circumstances but then would like to know when to expect their goods and how to get in touch with you.
Carnsight and Sharp Thinking have worked together for clients on crisis communication throughout the pandemic. A series of well written timely communication carefully crafted for the audience have been common. It can be daunting for a business to make a statement, particularly if there are delays or service disruptions. But honesty is always the best policy.
Evolve your story
As we’ve now been surviving this pandemic for half a year, ensure your story is topical and relevant. This is particularly important for PR. And don’t think it is too late to do something. Jess Morgan advises if you’re looking to undertake some PR, the news agenda has moved on to the ‘new normal’. Namely fears of a second wave, so lockdown stories need to have relevance to the present.
Everything is changing all the time and your customers will want the reassurance that you are on top of the situation. Ensure content is up to date and shared across relevant channels. Try and make it as specific as possible. Whilst it needs to be formal and informative the personal touch is always important.
So whatever your lockdown story has been, I’m sure your customers and followers would be interested to hear about it. Keeping a record will be an interesting chapter in the history of your business – it will also be an interesting record for future generations to enjoy and marvel at!
To learn more about communicating honestly and sympathetically during these difficult times you can read our post communication during the Coronavirus.
Written by Nat Sharp. Featuring Jessica Morgan. Originally featured at The Sharp End blog.