The Need for PR during a crisis BY LIESL SIMPSON, Managing Director at Evolution PR 6 MAY 2020

In one of my previous blogs, I addressed why it is important for businesses to 'up the cheerleading' when the team is down. A shutdown during a pandemic can certainly be seen as a moment when the 'team is down.' Everyone is looking for answers right now with mass fear over the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on business. One thing to remember during times of crisis is the value of PR and how it, if done correctly, can be used to your advantage.

In addition to reaffirming the value that your company delivers; transparency is also essential in keeping all stakeholders updated during a crisis and ensuring that the image of the company is maintained in a favourable light.

The more you see and hear from the PR team, the harder it is for stakeholders to forget about your company. This builds on the visibility and credibility of the brand. Remember that the main objective of any PR strategy during a crisis is to promote a positive image of the brand and the value that the business delivers in such a time.

With most employees and their stakeholders operating from home, it is almost impossible to connect with your audience through outdoor publicity during a lockdown, even if some restrictions have been lifted. However, almost everyone has access to online media and the more your brand is in the public domain, the better your chances of maintaining and even improving your company image.

It is no revelation that many South African businesses are and will continue to be affected by this pandemic. Despite the knee-jerk reaction in the reduction of costs in several areas, PR is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve reputation during and after a storm. So rather than cutting PR budgets, now is the time to promote your business, the value it delivers and the knowledge of the organisation. This reflects on how the company can support its customers and potential customers in a future that is still very uncertain.

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