How active communication helps start-ups and SME’s in a crisis

The current corona crisis creates new challenges for all of us around the world. At present politicians are acting with limited scope and making decisions on a daily basis for the best possible control of the here and now. The recommendations for action and measures sometimes require major modifications to the attitudes and behaviour of everyone, which in turn have a massive impact on economic life and whose effects may still be felt by companies beyond 2020.

Whether it is industry or services, start-ups, self-employed individuals, medium-sized companies or corporate groups: the crisis affects everyone. It is even more difficult to make yourself heard by relevant contacts. Crisis communication generally requires extensive and structured preparation before the crisis. Due to the dynamics of the current situation, this short guide focuses on a few central aspects which start-ups, self-employed individuals, as well as medium-sized companies (SMEs), can use to actively and effectively draw attention to themselves and their situation.

1) Keep it simple

The effects of the corona crisis are varied and comprehensive for companies, possibly even dramatic. Therefore, combine all facts with corresponding effects. However, in order to act effectively in later communication, it is not necessary to say everything. But what you do say must be substantial and, above all, true. Consolidate and prioritise. Take the complexity out of your factual situation and its effects – and keep it as simple as possible.

2) Be clear and precise

After you are aware of your factual situation and its effects, you can compile effective statements. The clearer and more precise these statements are, the easier it will be for people to understand your communication. The “if-then” approach is useful here. You are familiar with this approach as an effective consumer targeting technique from advertising: “If you buy x in the period y1 to y2, then you get z percent off”. You also ultimately appeal to people, e.g. your business partners or banks in whom you have confidence. Use this clear and precise formulation concept – both for positive and negative effects.

3) Take action

In a crisis it is important to take action and take matters into your own hands. Define active players, processes and dates, as well as the right instruments and channels for you. A simple matrix is also very useful: Who should speak on which topic? Who should speak when to which target group? What message is important for which target group? When do we communicate internally, externally? Build awareness among the people, but also show understanding and empathy for others. Act after careful consideration when carrying out press publications or communicating on social media: These can be effective in spreading your concerns, but can also escalate the matter if done rash and in a complacent manner.

4) Stay on track

A crisis is seldom over or forgotten after a short period. The corona crisis will affect us for a long time to come, since other waves of infection are possible owing to the lack of a vaccine at present. Successful management of the current situation gives you the opportunity to tell and share your success story. Also show what lessons you have learned: What have you changed? Where and how could you improve? What benefits have relevant target groups? A crisis is also an opportunity from a communicative point of view. Use this opportunity and strengthen the reputation of your company and brand in the long term.

Numerous factors ultimately decide the success of crisis communication. This short guide combines and reduces the essentials to a few aspects and should help develop a positive mental willingness for active communication in the current situation. It should particularly help start-ups, self-employed individuals and medium-sized companies who have no crisis plan in place or have no or only a small communications team on board.

I sincerely hope that you and your family keep well and fit. I also hope that as a start-up, self-employed person or also as a medium-sized company that you emerge from this corona crisis with as little damage as possible.

My skills for your success (selection):

  • 10 years heading the global department at international market and technology leaders
  • Over 1,000 projects for enhancing corporate identity internally and externally
  • Communication of large-scale projects: IPO, merger, acquistions, change of ownership, financial transactions as well as crisis, integration and change processes

You have questions about my offer or a specific requirement? I am happy to help you and look forward to hearing from you.