Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and Enterprise Nation Champion for Nottingham discusses COVID-19 and need for communication.
On the day that I write this, I was meant to meet Piers Morgan – no relation to the headline.
It was part of a major 3-day conference that I was sponsoring at the ICC in Birmingham which as you might imagine, had been the subject of major speculation for the last 30 days.
Delegates were getting anxious, all 1,500 of them, as were the sponsors, especially me, as it was a major investment and one that for now, I will have to recoup later in the year.
More on that later.
However, in and amongst all the speculation, most of it total guess work I might add, was some great communication by the event organisers. They were in touch constantly over every social channel and directly via email.
They explained that up until a certain point, the event WOULD be going ahead but that they were seeking advice and clarification on a number of matters. This gave us all as much certainty as it had been possible to give at that instant so we could plan as best as we could too.
For most of last week, which for reference was the 16th-20th March, I spent my time helping clients and associates navigate how to keep their customers informed about their latest projects, products or services in light of the unfolding and ever-changing COVID-19 crisis.
The key thing was the need for proactive communication.
It is no good waiting for the phone to ring to confirm you are open for business or for an email to pop up to reply back in the affirmative. Right now, your customers, your prospects and even your suspects are still seeking solutions, they still need support and advice.
Most of all, they crave certainty and to know that you are there for them.
They don’t actually mind that you are providing that support from your kitchen table, the spare room or even the garden shed. They just want to know that they have a resource available.
If you are NOT open for business or if it isn’t quite business as usual, then you shouldn’t be afraid to explain that. Nobody will blame you; these are unprecedented times and for many there will be a significant period of adjustment needed.
All you need to do right now is ensure that you are making those adjustments and you are making progress with whatever solutions you find.
I mentioned earlier that I had made a major investment in that show.
As part of being a sponsor I had some exhibitor space. So, I had a great big pop up stand designed and printed for me by the wonderful team at Essential Print in Derby ready to roll in time for the show just in case it DID go ahead.
It is HUGE.
I haven’t needed to pick it up yet and indeed, the logistics of doing so are now a little more complicated BUT again, I know that the Essential Print team is open for business but that we will have to find a different means of collection because they emailed me immediately to explain all of this.
In fact, they emailed me, texted me and even whatsapped me with progress reports all week to ensure we met the deadline that we were originally working to. They were excellent throughout.
So remember, communication is the real ‘C’ word this year and that is why for now that stand will be repurposed as a background studio for my video calls and consultancy as I alter the way I provide my services.
If you fancy a chat, join me online.