Audience Engagement Digital Publishing
3 mins read

How to communicate correctly during the coronavirus pandemic

Last week, FIPP’s new webinar series continued, with a joint look from The River Group and Capgemini at best practices that can be applied to brand communications during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Presented by Nicki Murphy, CEO of The River Group, and Danny Rippon, Head of Commerce Europe, Capgemini, no social distancing was required as the husband and wife team looked at global brand marketing strategies during this unprecedented crisis.

Some key areas of the webinar include: 

  • Positive coronavirus brand marketing strategies: which companies are getting it right?
  • Negative coronavirus brand marketing strategies: which companies are getting it wrong?
  • Reputation management within the current media and marketing climate, working through the ‘4 R’ stages of: react, rebound, reposition, and reputation.
  • Key statistics from the IMRG Capgemini Retail Index, examining online footfall and sales data within specific retail sectors.
  • An analysis of what might happen next as countries and communities around the world begin to tackle the idea of reopening from lockdown, and what the ‘new normal’ might look like.

Managing reputations

“One thing that’s really important from both a content and a publishing point of view – and for brands and businesses generally – is recognising that now that the initial panic is over, and most of the world is in lockdown, we are [at some point] going to come into a rebound,” says Nicki Murphy, CEO of The River Group. “And so what you need to think about right now is reputationally, what your brand is putting out, and what people are thinking of you. Because if you get it wrong, you can get it badly wrong.”

She referenced UK examples like Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, which have fared particularly badly from a public relations perspective during the time of the pandemic. Conversely, other brands like Nike, which has made premium online services free in recent weeks, and Kraft-Heinz, which has donated millions of dollars to help recovery and research efforts, have demonstrated strong brand leadership in a time of crisis.

Community driven capitalism

The presentation reinforced the importance of taking a strong community-driven approach during the current climate, referencing the words of Dr David Nabarro, Special Envoy for COVID-19 for the WHO: “Brands must strive to be authentic, accountable, and audacious in their communications. They should lead where they can and work together with NGOs and governments, recognising that they have the capacity to jointly enable solutions”

The Disneyland effect

“So we’ve all been to, or at least seen, the fantastic things that go on at Disneyland,” said Danny Rippon, Head of Commerce Europe, Capgemini. “But we also know that there’s long lines as well. This is what our world will absolutely be like for at least the next nine months. And so, if we know there are going to be lines outside of shops, what’s that going to mean for interacting with people? Are they just going to be playing Candy Crush on their phones? Or is there now a thing we can do – and I’m not talking about dressing up as Cinderella to entertainment in the line – but what is it that we can do in terms of content and engagement that’s going to change that line experience?” 

You can see the webinar video here and download the slides here

Jamie Gavin  @jaygavin

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