By Angela Wanjeri, Lead Marketing Advisor 

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all aspects of society and we are all keen to keep track of guidelines and updates from the Government and bodies such as the WHO. Similarly, how we communicate and engage with our stakeholders needs to be quick, bespoke and well thought through.

As we learn and comply to social distancing and self-quarantine as some of the critical mitigation steps we need to take, we should also be thinking on how to maintain dialogue with existing and potential relationships with our stakeholders. Of importance is not to “ghost” them but instead be authentic, genuine and proactive in our communication – we are all in the same boat!

In this article we initiate the discussion on the stakeholders that organizations need to engage at this time – the list below is not exhaustive but meant to inspire action during this season.

Employees - Most probably the largest asset an organization has, it is important that as the information is evolving publicly, this stakeholder group is aware.

It is reassuring to hear from leadership, as it gives confidence they are concerned about the wellbeing of their people. Free flow of information and opportunity for all to give their perspectives and input on actions the organization is taking to deal with the pandemic will go a long way in not only cooling off existing fears, but also in increasing the employee engagement during this season.

Clients - It is said "client is king" and because this is true, it is definitely not the time to go quiet and extend all aspects of distancing which will be later perceived as impersonal.

Bring them along your journey and let them know you are together in this, the adjustments you are making to the structures they are familiar with and update them on what to expect. Depending on the organization, personalized followed by formal communication is key. Let them know how to reach you and the available alternatives.

Prospects - Though business development seems bleak at this time, it is time to be humane and connect at an authentic level. Genuinely seeking to know how they are doing and the actions they are taking to cope with the pandemic will be a soft landing to connect. Sharing your side of the story and reassuring them of your thoughts will go a long way in keeping the relationship.

“People forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou.

It is not time to actively sell unless your offer will help them through this season, but to genuinely empathize and you can pick that lead when the time is right – focus on the relationship!

Contractors and suppliers - It is the season that you probably need even more grace with them and therefore apply the same humane atmosphere and keep them updated on how your organization is responding.

There is likely a genuine negotiation conversation you will need to have, which will start from an easier platform if your empathy is felt. 

Social media - If you have presence, then it is not time to build on silence. You belong to the global village and as such you need to give a statement to acknowledge the current scenario, update on any changes on your ways of working and how to reach you if need be.

It is not time to for intense promotions of your brand or products, which would be considered impersonal unless what you are communicating will be helpful to your audience during this season.

If you would like to discuss on how to engage and communicate with your stakeholders at this time, do not hesitate to contact! a.wanjeri@alericonsulting.com 

alericonsulting are Strategic Marketing Partners who help organisations accelerate their growth through alignment of their Marketing, Client Experience and Business development focus.

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