COVID-19: How to be sensitive with your communications outreach

9 April 2020 | 4 min read | News
Clearly Team

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Now more than ever, brands and businesses want to be visible in order to stay afloat in this turbulent time. But many are worried that by raising their heads above the parapet, they may come across as selfish or insensitive. Below are a few pointers on how to continue communicating through a crisis.

First and foremost, there are three key attributes that will stand you in good stead. Not only do they apply to the content you create and the press outreach you do, but also how you approach and talk to your clients, prospects and employees.


People are craving positive news. They want to know that you have onboarded new employees, won a new client and what wonderful things your brand is doing to support others. Don’t be afraid to share your good news because for some it might be the best thing they’ve read all day, but equally be mindful not to tread on other peoples’ sensitivities.

These are tough times and emotions will still be running high, so when communicating your news do so in a way that is tactful rather than boastful. For example, rather than going gung-ho with “Our amazing team has just secured a great new contract,” opt for “Finding new business at times like this is so hard for everyone in every sector, but it is possible and when it happens it is appreciated more than ever.”


Being true to your business’ values and ethos is crucial at this time. Your team, clients and prospects will appreciate this which in turn will put you in the position of a reliable and grounded service or brand.

However, the word authentic probably isn’t something to go placing in every other sentence – if you have to say you’re being authentic, you’re probably not being authentic. Let your actions do the talking here.

No bull

Everyone is in the dark with what’s going on, so the worst thing to do is skirt around issues or difficulties. Be open and honest about where you are and what you’re doing as employees and clients will appreciate not being stranded in the unknown.

Drop the hard sell

Of course, businesses and brands need to keep themselves going financially, but that’s not going to happen if you are drowning your connections in the ‘how our services could help during this time’ spiel.

Now is the time to drop the sensationalism and the pitch. Create content that adds value to your clients and your prospects. Use your knowledge and insights to resolve pain points or answer any uncertainties – be a help not a hinderance.

Appropriate campaigns and comms

Over the years we’ve all seen our fair share of disastrous campaigns and communications, from, Tim Martin, CEO of WetherspoonsKylie Jenner and Pepsi to PeoplePerHour.

At a time like this, take note from the likes of Ralph LaurenPret A Manger and Brewdog; all of which are using their resources, time and effort to create widespread campaigns that will both put their brands are the forefront of people’s minds and help communities.

Those who use communication strategies for good at this time will be the ones who will be remembered after this crisis subsides. Those who continue to focus on making a quick buck or prioritising themselves before their people and their clients will look to fall by the wayside before too long.


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