Communicate with Confidence Amid COVID-19
Employing Smart & Responsible Communication During COVID-19
Last week we posted a blog about how to protect your business during COVID-19 with the intentions of communicating, being kind, taking action, and most importantly, building trust.
This week we are looking at imagery and language. Our written words communicate what we as businesses are doing to protect our staff and customers during this epidemic, but so do the images we choose to use as well. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the visuals we use can leave a strong and lasting impression of who we are and how we are dealing with COVID-19.
It’s important for us to remember that while we are communicating any Covid-19 updates to our customers about what we’re doing to support our staff and clientele, that the imagery they’re seeing while reading our updates should also support our actions. Don’t be contradictory and positive is always better!
General Website Images
Imagery has a significant subliminal impact on readers. If the update on your homepage, or your blog post that links back to your website, is countered by current website imagery of groups of people or close interactions, you may be generating mixed or contradictory messages to your customers and potential customer prospects. This can have an unintentional negative effect when trying to convey to your customers that you truly have their health and safety at the top of your priorities.
Language and Imagery Tips
Here are some tips to ensure that your customers and visitors to your website and social media pages are receiving a clear and consistent image that supports your messages to them and demonstrates clearly that you are practicing what your updates and notices indicate.
1. Evaluate the images and language that your website and ads are using. This is especially important with any content, ads or posts that you are actively pushing out to people.
- Avoid using images that show groups of people at social gatherings or working closely in office settings. Consider swapping out these types of images temporarily until this passes.
- Rewrite any language that suggests close interaction. Figurative language can also be considered, such as changing the text on a button from “Get in Touch” to “Learn More” or “Give Us A Call”.
- Messages that encourage immediate interaction are likely to be scrutinized subconsciously as most people are adopting a hesitant and cautious frame of thinking in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic development.
2. Be positive but not unmindful. This is a time where people are already uneasy, so keep your focus on communicating your proactive measures such as adjusted hours, closures, or policy updates as they pertain to your business while not focusing on the grimness of this collective set back.
- Ensure that any language your website, (particularly any landing pages that social media posts or updates link back to), has a spirit of humankind, understanding, and responsiveness for anything you’re saying now and in the near future.
- Keep your language mindful, avoid being overly dramatic, and if you’re sharing information concerning facts about the virus make sure you’re sharing credibly sourced articles or tips. People are tense and they’re worried. First and foremost, ensure that what you share is not going to add to the panic that many people are feeling.
- Put your brand’s purpose, vision, mission, and values to work. You’ve worked hard to create a brand that shows who you are and what you stand for and this is the perfect time to use it to remind yourself and your customers what it stands for in the setting of COVID-19. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and let human stories and your principles set the tone for your current language and visual choices.
- Allow your brand to be personable and represent emotion setting the stage for future communications, updates, and when appropriate, promotion. Pairing it with well wishes and refreshing, hopeful, even smiling imagery is okay. It promotes positivity and optimism. These are welcome in a time where many people are bombarded with nothing but warnings and negative news. It shows confidence and solidarity that we will all get through this and things will eventually return to normal.
- If possible, create employee or team member content to relate to your customers and visitors. Have members of your team share personal insights about what they’re learning or doing during quarantine. This could include favourite Netflix binges, tips on getting gardens ready or seedlings started, favourite video messaging platforms to stay in touch with loved ones and friends while we’re all separated, photos from outings demonstrating how we can all still experience life while still social distancing.
Showing the people who are watching you that you and your team are human just like everyone else can create a bridge that humanizes your business and brings you closer while building a trust that will bring them back once this has resolved itself.
While this is a frustrating time for many businesses and their employees and team members, it doesn’t need to be an unproductive time. Rather, it’s a wonderful opportunity to build a platform demonstrating confidence, faith, hope, reliance, resilience and responsibility. This is the time to build trust and show your customers and potential customers that you are here for them and that you can be counted on to serve them with their best interests at heart. Though we don’t pretend to know, or even speculate, when the quarantine will end, we are certain that it will not last forever. Now is a time to prepare for the transition when it does end. Continue to engage with your audience and let them know that you are still with them, supporting them, concerned for them, and anxiously awaiting to see them again.
In a nutshell, remind them often that your hearts are “with” them.
We hope everyone stays healthy and safe in this unusual time!