COVID-19: Crafting a Crisis Statement
March 19, 2020
By Kim Bode
It’s been a fun few weeks, and we say that with all the sarcasm we can possibly muster in our bodies. At times like this, communication is key, along with compassion and empathy.
If you have not addressed COVID-19 with your staff, customers/clients, community or partners, you’re already playing catch-up.
Below, we outlined the necessary steps a business needs to take to craft an internal or external statement. It is absolutely imperative this statement goes out as soon as possible.
What do you know to be the truth? The easiest way to draft this portion of the statement is to bullet point what you currently know. It is crucial that businesses express concern and sympathy for those affected. Putting this at the start of the statement will show you understand the severity of what is happening and will demonstrate compassion, concern, and humanity.
Coronavirus is spreading and cleanliness and hygiene are of the utmost importance.
The government is issuing mandates that businesses must follow.
This will impact small businesses significantly, and it is anyone’s guess to what extent.
In this portion of the statement, you want to indicate the steps you are taking at this time, as it relates to all the parties affected. Depending on your business, this should address:
Employees: What will your employees be doing? Will they be working from home? Will you be forced to lay-off a portion of your staff? If you are in the hospitality industry, will they be available for deliveries or takeout?
Business: If your business will continue to serve clients and customers, in what capacity? Will your staff be available by phone, video, text, or in person?
Put the crisis in context and be as positive as possible. Honesty is always the best policy. There is no way of knowing what the short-term or long-term implications will be of COVID-19. Let your clients and customers know you are continually monitoring the situation and reinforce business continuity. Leave the public health news to the experts: the CDC, World Health Organization, etc.
Details & Updates
Honestly this shit is changing every day, if not every hour. We don’t know what we don’t know. Once you have factual information that will impact your business, be sure to share it over your communication channels—social, website, email, etc.
We want to leave you with this:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Fred Rogers
This is an unprecedented time in our history. We have to support each other, in whatever way that may be—large or small.
If you need help, know we will do whatever we can. Connect with Kim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.