A public relations strategy is critical during a pandemic

by Deepika sharma
public relations

The Covid-19 pandemic caught businesses unaware and in their scramble for survival, many cut their public relations and communications budget overnight, without giving it a second thought. Many PR agencies in Dubai saw their clients cut budgets immediately or disappear altogether.  While the fear was justifiable, companies should not forget that during a crisis it is more important than ever to your positive message out there to calm investors, customers and employees; and to let the world know that it is a temporary phase, the company is preparing to face a new future and will come out of it all stronger and more agile.

However, it was not all doom and gloom, some companies used this phase to churn out positive stories. PR agencies like Iris PR, a leading PR agency in Dubai, worked with their clients to produce impactful stories on various measures companies were taking to implement work from home plans to keep their staff safe, community outreach work to support essential workers, strategic move to e-commerce, offering free advisory services, webinars and introduction of new products to meet new market needs for sanitizers and hygiene products.

For instance, Iris PR helped clients in their food and personal grooming sector to share recipes and self-care tips with media and influencers, helping their clients to stay relevant, build new relationships and generate meaningful stories.

There is a saying that when things get tough, the tough get going and that should be the attitude of companies during these difficult times. It is important to communicate to your stakeholders how you are dealing with the crisis and how you plan to move forward. 

Here are a few tips from UAE’s award winning PR agency Iris PR on how to implement a great PR strategy during a pandemic or crisis

  1. Stop Panicking

Anyone who runs a business or works in an industry knows that change is constant and nothing is guaranteed. In times of crisis it is important not to panic and fire everybody and your agency. Take a deep breath, the world has not ended. First things first. Communicate to your employees about the situation and the measures you are taken to ensure safety and business continuity. Listen to their concerns and address them. Inform your suppliers and investors of your decisions and how it will affect them and how you can move forward together.

  1. Map Out a Communications Strategy

Set up a call with your PR agency to propose an impactful plan for communication, identify news angles that are relevant to the times and will be of interest to the media. For example, you can talk about your work from home strategies, e-commerce plans to reach customers in their home or webinars or CSR programmes to support essential workers and those who have lost their jobs. 

  1. Reach Out

Your PR agency will help to identify the kind of stories journalists are interested in and then reach out to them. They can also help with contacting NGOs that you can partner with to help the less fortunate. You can share your knowledge with those who are looking to upskill at this time through webinars. 

  1. Use Your Social Media

As the world is socially connected, share your tips for survival at the click of a button. Update your social media status regularly and don’t let your social media pages be idle. Populate them with positive messages, new innovations and opportunities that your business is working on and your fun take on working from home. Have a laugh and share it. Smile, and the world smiles with you.

  1. Plan for the Future

You may have a lot more time on your hands than before. Work with your PR firm to plan future branding strategies as normalcy returns and you foresee your business re-open fully. Evaluate what communication strategies worked best for you, where you can improve and what are the new story opportunities that you can contribute to. 

This too shall pass and we will emerge stronger.

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