By Nadine Dereza and Ian Hawkins

Take a walk through the shuttered restaurants and shops of Britain, and you will feel that you are being ignored by old friends. Whether it’s a café you used to regularly meet people in, or a clothes shop that always seemed to have the right outfit for every occasion and a diplomatic assistant to help you get into it, we are no longer interacting with many businesses in a way we took for granted a few short months ago.

Businesses are in a very difficult position right now. They are cut off from the customers and yet they also have to do what they can to survive. And while we all look forward to the day that this is over, it seems unlikely there will be a swift return to how things were. It will be a long slow road back. Businesses need to ensure that they are continuing the relationship they have with the customer when the primary means of that relationship – the everyday business of doing business – is no longer happening.

The silver lining is that communication has never been easier with widespread use of social media and digital platforms. The difficulty is that although it’s easy to get your message out there, it can be very difficult to make it stand out when everybody else is trying to share the same space. What can businesses do to make the communications matter? Messages must be clear, relevant, useful, timely, and sensitive. They also need to be authentic, and this may actually be an opportunity for your business to show what it’s really made of.

 So, here are six strategies for businesses trying to communicate with their customers and the media in this crisis… Continue reading →