By Edgar Mata, CEO CCK Centroamérica

"COVID-19 Challenges" for individuals: managing this new "confined" life, balancing family needs with work demands, keeping track of how the virus spreads and taking constant preventive measures.

"COVID-19 Challenges" for companies: to ensure business continuity, to plan in the midst of uncertainty, to be sustainable and socially, economically and environmentally responsible.

CORONAVIRUS" challenges for ALL: How can we communicate effectively in the midst of this situation? How to "connect" with our stakeholders (“stakeholders”) efficiently and effectively in such an intricate environment.

It is important to point out that when we talk about "publics of interest" or "stakeholders", we are referring to “stakeholders” we are not only referring to customers or consumers as is commonly thought; we are also talking about collaborators, suppliers, government authorities, neighboring communities and, of course, the media, among other groups of interest to the company, who are being affected by the effects of this pandemic.

It is therefore important that this "mapping" of audiences takes into account all the groups or sectors that want or need to know what the company is thinking in the current situation.

After having defined them, it is worth asking: what do they expect from the companies at this time? What do they expect to "hear" from the leaders under the current conditions?

According to the information we have been able to gather at CCK Central America and Ketchum from our clients, we could summarize the expectations of their stakeholders in the following 7 aspects:

  1. Credible and reliable information. Both about the crisis in general and how it is affecting the company, its employees and the services and products it offers.
  2. Information about how they can continue to have access to the products and services provided by the company, even during the crisis (particularly those that have a critical function).
  3. Information about how the products or services offered by the company can help alleviate the impacts of the crisis.
  4. Information about what the company is doing to support the government, NGOs and non-profit organizations to help the community.
  5. Information about free or low-cost products or services that will enable them to meet their needs under the current conditions.
  6. Information on how the company has modified its production or service processes to adapt to current demands.
  7. Solutions and hope. Your recipients don't need more "anxiety"; what they want is to know what solutions the company is providing and how those solutions will help improve the situation going forward.

Any communication that the company carries out at the present time must have the following characteristics:

  1. Being authentic
  2. Being honest
  3. Being empathetic
  4. Being compassionate
  5. Provide verifiable results

Some corporate communication mistakes in times of crisis:

  1. Talking about things that, in reality, the company is not doing. (Well, this mistake constitutes a "cardinal sin" at any time).
  2. Selling at all costs. Compulsively taking advantage of the situation.
  3. Failure to provide verifiable results of what is said or offered.
  4. Using humor in an unscrupulous manner.

Undoubtedly, crises can provide a "unique" moment for companies and brands to convey messages in innovative and human ways. In fact, in times like these, many consumers may start using new services or products as a result of the way they perceive the company that provides them communicates. That's called opportunity!

Crises always offer opportunities, especially to increase levels of trust and credibility.