At its core, business communication is asking and answering questions.
- Why should I buy from you?
- Can I trust you with my event, budget, people, my business?
- Have you done this before?
- Do you have the expertise?
- Why should I work for you / with you?
- Why are you better than your competitor?
- Are you going to really care about me? How much are you invested in me and my project?
However, when we go through challenging times, conversations with your people, clients, industry and prospects come into sharp focus. The questions change to: Do I really need you now? Can I afford you? Can I afford not to use you? What else can do you for me? Do I have a job? Can I trust you right now?
The role of marketing communications in your organisation and the strength of your relationships
Marketing and communications during challenging times is about clearing the noise and focusing on two things: What can the business do right now? And therefore, what change, amendment, cancellation, policy, strategy do I need to communicate right now?
Some companies use their marketing communications to build culture and leadership, manage change, support sales and promotions, but it’s really about the why; to foster relationships.
What are the priorities of the business today?
Communications and organisational objectives should align. If you don’t know what your organisational objectives are, then that’s where you start.
Marcomms people need to be involved in business discussions. They need to know where the business is and what the priorities of the business are now. Is it bunkering down? Is it strengthening relationships? Is it launching new product? Are you moving event dates? Are you having to let staff go? Are you having to keep staff motivated? Are you keeping abreast of the industry changes? Are you having to educate people?
What are your priorities today? You need to put them down on paper.
What you have been doing and what has worked, what hasn’t and take your lead from that. Have you had great results in direct mail or SEM or PR? Have you been able to show personality? Have you shown leadership in previous challenges? Have you got great talent within your organisation to use?
Secondly, you need to identify where are the strengths of your relationships? Are they with your client base or have you been so inundated with business that you’ve been transactional and haven’t built deep relationships?
Where the strength of your relationships as a business have been, and what has worked for you in the past is a good indicator of what you should do next. Strong relationships and the community you build around you is the best insurance policy that you will ever have as a business and make the challenging times that little bit easier.
And finally, come back to your why. Why you do what you do, why is it important, why are you driven to do what you do. Articulate it and let it drive your goals and success.