PR in a pandemic

Monday, July 27, 2020



With face coverings muting much of our interaction and communication, when coronavirus cruelly catapulted us into our ‘new normal’ the PR industry, like many, seemed to hit pause.


Not dissimilar to the recession of 2008, company’s stopped in their tracks, restructured, restricted budgets and in some cases made redundancies. Services deemed none essential were put on hold or cancelled as organisations carefully considered their next move.


A frightening and challenging time for us all professionally and personally. Get it wrong and you could risk yours and your employees health and well being as well as damaging the businesses reputation.


However, burying your head in the sand and hoping this will all blow over is not an option. Now more than ever communication is essential for all organisations. With government guidelines, working practices and legislation changing frequently, you need to make sure this is communicated clearly to staff, sub contractors, customers and the public.


This is where your PR support can help. Inherent to our role is the ability to communicate professionally, credibly and with a client’s best interests at heart. On the whole, your employees, customers and the public are reasonable, but the expectation is that your company will be clear, fair and truthful.


As a result, I believe PR and crisis management practitioners are going to be one of the most sought after resources mid and post pandemic.


In my experience PR professionals are naturally inquisitive, able to improvise and do more with less. Much like journalists, we like to embed ourselves in a company and in doing so can often provide solutions or new ideas to support other areas of a business.


In a crisis situation – for example a fatal accident at a work place or the leaking of sensitive information – a PR professional would add hugely to the capabilities of the management team which responds.


Likewise, in the midst of the chaos caused by coronavirus, there can be added value in allowing PRs into other areas of your business from HR decision making and the potential news of job losses / redundancy to the IT department which may shed light on new working practices and technology that is facilitating the company’s survival.


Many clients are fearful of contributing to the coronavirus conversation, but please bear in mind that many journalists have been briefed or even redeployed to only cover coronavirus news, with most keen to locate positive news stories to arise from the pandemic.


Our mouths may be covered for now, but they don’t need to be muted.


If you would like to find out more about how PR can help your business, take a look at our services or get in touch for a virtual coffee and an informal chat. Tel: 0845 071 0678


Paul Dobbie