GUEST ARTICLE: Don’t stay silent – the importance of communication in times of crisis

  • 11 Jun 2021

CommunicationThis guest article sees Amy Holmes, senior PR account executive at Harris Creative, outline several key practices for businesses to keep the conversation going during difficult times.

The impact of COVID-19 has hit businesses across the UK, and the construction industry is no exception. From a full lockdown, to returning to sites and offices with a brand new way of working – masks, social distancing and number restrictions, to name a few. It’s been a unique 18 months, with construction companies regularly adapting to changing circumstances.

With the varying lockdown measures and guidelines in place since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 affecting businesses, it’s become clear that communication really is key. Stakeholders need reassurance during crises. Silence speaks volumes, so it’s important not to go quiet – even when that might be the easiest option.

The lessons in communication that were learnt during the pandemic can apply to any crisis going forward, and there are three key practices for keeping the conversation going in difficult times…

Stay active

Going quiet in the face of an uncertain situation may feel like the least challenging response, but it can give a negative impression of your company’s circumstances. This is especially the case when competitors are maintaining regular external communications. In fact, continuing to issue press releases, upload blogs to your website, send e-communications, and post on social media is one of the best ways to show a company’s strength.

Reputations are built during tough times, and communicating even when facing difficult circumstances is a great way to demonstrate resilience.

Stay focussed

It can be difficult to know what information to share and what tone of voice is appropriate to use in communications during times of crisis, making it the ideal time to lean on your PR agency for guidance.

As a general rule though, talking about things people want to know is the best place to start: changes to opening hours, stock availability, in-store safety measures and contact details may seem relatively insignificant during a crisis, but they can save customers time and make them feel valued.

Stay informed

One of the best ways to cement your business’s place as an industry expert is to always be informed on the latest developments.

This has been truer than ever during the pandemic, and it will continue to be a vital tool for any crisis in the future to reassure stakeholders that the business is doing all it can to stay ahead of the curve.

Reading construction industry magazines and online outlets is an excellent way to gain insight, and social media is a useful tool for keeping up-to-date with the latest news – and sharing key developments with your followers.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for businesses across the construction industry, but it has also provided an opportunity to see the value of communication in building a positive reputation during times of crisis.

By maintaining open and honest lines of communication with internal and external stakeholders regardless of how difficult a situation may be, construction businesses will reap the rewards during better times.

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