Seeing the silver lining
Communication is playing a powerful and vital role in helping corporates and their employees navigate the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been working closer than ever with our clients’ executives and their communications teams to tell authentic and compelling stories and relay vital information across multiple channels.
Ultimately, communications is about talking to our fellow human beings, which means understanding who our audience is and ensuring all communication adds value. To avoid adding to COVID-19 fatigue, relevance is key. Communication that is useful and easy to understand is more likely to resonate with its intended audience.
Communication can be particularly challenging at the moment when there is still a great deal of uncertainty and fear associated with the pandemic. We advise our clients to remain present, authentic, understanding and, above all, transparent. Even when communicating the bad news, authenticity and transparency engender trust and respect. People need basic questions addressed about their lives, livelihoods and investments.
Using a wide variety of channels – Emails, blog posts, text messaging, collaboration tools and web conferencing has become the norm, , as companies embrace the immediacy and convenience of using alternative channels to update employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders on news, initiatives and projects.
Many of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay. In this change lies opportunity. It has encouraged us all to be better, to communicate more innovatively, faster and with more empathy. This can only be a good thing.
Engaging and strengthening connections
Aprio’s communications “toolkits” – issue-specific collateral packs, containing everything from holding statements to press releases, social media messaging and internal comms – have been invaluable in assisting our clients to communicate rapidly and effectively through the COVID-19 crisiss. In addition, we have been part of some great innovations to help clients improve communication with their stakeholders.
- PGM producer Implats accelerated its rollout of an SMS-based communications and HR tool to its employee base of 50 000+, with subscriptions to the service at some of its operations exceeding 90%. Among other initiatives, Implats launched an employee recognition and reward competition via the platform, which rewards its employees for excellence in COVID-19 safety behaviours. Winners are announced weekly via the platform and on social media, creating further impetus among employees.
- On behalf of Capital Appreciation, Aprio assisted GovChat, the citizen-government engagement technology platform, with media relations on their school readiness polling feature and the digitisation of the COVID-19 social relief grant application process. The GovChat schools poll took place via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. GovChat’s partnership with the South African Social Security Agency supported the digitisation of the Covid-19 social relief grant application process, enabling millions of unemployed citizens to access relief using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS and USSD channels.