As a phased approach to reopening businesses continues across the country, it’s undeniable that we are all adjusting to a new normal. Businesses are welcoming back customers as they reopen their doors to the public, and many of us are transitioning from sweatpants and Zoom calls at home, to business attire and real-life face time with our colleagues in the office.
With social distancing, cleaning protocols, and overall safety messaging remaining top-of-mind for everyone, it is important to have a strategy in place for reopening safely post Covid-19. It is equally important to effectively communicate this plan to your employees, customers, and potential new clients.
From one-million+ square-foot shopping centers to solo-preneur operations, Image Marketing has assisted our diverse roster of clients (each with their own unique needs and Covid-related obstacles!) in developing strong reopening communication strategies. Along the way, we’ve collected some key takeaways and learnings.
Check out our top strategies to include in your post Covid-19 reopening communication plan below:
Once you come up with a plan for re-opening, be open to communicating that plan with the public and your clients before you start to open up your doors. This can help ease tension as clients and customers may be questioning whether or not they are comfortable returning to your business, and want to know what that initial first visit back will entail. Make sure your communication is as detailed and specific as possible (Is there a new waiting room process? Are face masks required? Have business hours changed? How are you increasing your cleaning procedures?)
When it comes to modes of communication, you likely know your customer best. If you have an active social media presence, sharing your communication plan on your social media accounts is an easy and effective way to proactively share your reopening plans, and respond back to any questions. For other businesses, a personalized email campaign or direct mail piece can go a long way in making everyone feel safe and welcomed back.
For many of Image Marketing’s shopping center clients, it was important to gain greater exposure for their reopening plans, and so a full PR and media strategy was key. Our team proactively reached out and hosted preview events with local media in each market to discuss reopening plans and make the community feel safe and ready to return to the shopping center.
Stay Up To Date & Flexible
This might be a given, but it is incredibly important that you stay up-to-date with the guidance provided by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). You can follow each on social media for quick reads, or easy follow along videos. Additionally, tune into what policies your local government has issued for businesses to reopen. Remain flexible, as given the nature of the pandemic. It is entirely possible that as soon as your reopening strategy is in place, your plan (and any corresponding communication plans) may need to pivot. Staying up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news in your area will make it easier to shift your reopening strategy as needed.
Reach Out Regularly
While we may all be a little tired of hearing phrases like “unprecedented times” and the “new normal,” there truly is no guidebook for navigating this time of uncertainty. Because we’re all experiencing this phased reopening process for the first time together, consistent communication is extremely important. Don’t just share your reopening plans and procedures once; continue providing updates and commit to open, transparent communication with your employees, clients, vendors, customers, etc. about your reopening plans. With so much uncertainty, everyone will appreciate upfront and honest communication. It often takes repetition for customers to remember – and believe in – your messaging.
Digital marketing tools like social media and email newsletters are resourceful ways to communicate regularly with your audience. Along with utilizing these outlets to communicate pertinent information, you can also layer in your company’s unique tone of voice and branding. Regular communicating will showcase that your business is still operating, and it can also be done in a way that feels authentic to our brand.
Leave it to the Professionals
If your business is still struggling with finding the right words and the right ways to say them, feel free to get in touch with Image Marketing Consultants. Our PR and Crisis Management specialists are here to help navigate through your post Covid-19 reopening communication plans. It’s a challenging time, but with a little creativity your business can be well positioned to thrive!