During this worrying time, there’s plenty of advice out there. Every day, a pile of emails arrives in our inboxes telling us how the crisis will impact our business, and how to prepare for recovery.
The truth is that this is a new world. The old rules don’t apply, and anyone who claims to know what the future holds is frankly talking nonsense. From a PR perspective, however, one thing is for certain – once this crisis is over, reputation will matter more than ever. Brands and individuals will be judged for how they behave today, and that judgment will mark them tomorrow, when our current troubles are behind us. You don’t need to be a reputation management professional to strike the correct note at this time – you just need to let decency guide your actions.
We’ve all come across organisations that have been looking to profit from this miserable situation, and I’m sure I’m not alone in being sickened by the suggestion that there is some sort of marketing opportunity to be had from other people’s fears. There will be a special place in reputation hell for brands who have attempted to jump on this particular bandwagon. Similarly, empty virtue signalling will be seen for what it was – empty.
Even in the rush to be genuinely helpful, some brands got it more right than others. While many supermarkets did a good job at prioritising those in need, Morrisons took it one step further. Their service allows the elderly and vulnerable, who are of course the most likely to struggle with online ordering, to arrange delivery of essential items over the phone. This caring gesture will be remembered.
There really is only one question we need to ask when it comes to making decisions about the future of our businesses. Is it the right thing? If it is – do it.