Managing Reputation During the Pandemic: Communicate with Facts
PRINDONESIA.CO | Monday, June 08, 2020
Managing Reputation During the Pandemic: Communicate with Facts
During a pandemic, there is no alternative but to communicate based on facts because human lives are at stake.

JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – They must remain confident of being able to provide excellent service, even though they are working from home. To get to that stage, Verlyana (Veve) Hitipeuw, CEO and Principal Consultant of Kiroyan Partners emphasized the importance of issue mitigation. "We have monitored its development after the 2020 new year holiday, long before the Covid-19 outbreak entered Indonesia," she said through a written statement to PR INDONESIA on Monday (20/4/2020). 

In addition to monitoring, they also identified the impact of this pandemic on clients and companies. "We don't live in a vacuum. Every organization will be connected and affected by external factors, including this pandemic," she said.

The next step is designing crisis communication. There are three stages: communication before the crisis, during the crisis and after the crisis. The earlier the crisis detection, the greater the potential to be able to minimize the impact that will be felt by the company when a crisis occurs. "This first stage is crucial. The efforts to monitor and manage issues are included in this stage," she added.

One thing is certain, communicate based on facts. "During a pandemic, there is no alternative but to communicate based on facts because human lives are at stake," Veve said, quoting the statement of Noke Kiroyan, Chairman and Chief Consultant of Kiroyan Partners.

More Ready

In general, from Veve's observations, companies that have been monitoring the Covid-19 issue since the beginning, regularly and immediately identify potential impacts, are far more prepared to face major changes due to the pandemic. The company knows what needs to be communicated and consulted with relevant stakeholders so they can take strategic steps.

For example, before there was an appeal to keep a social distance from the government, the more responsive company had implemented a special Corona prevention protocol (at that time the name was not Covid-19). Starting from changing handshakes with namaste greetings, recording employee travel history for the past two weeks, changing face-to-face meetings to online. Then provide hand wash in several strategic places, and ensure information about the potential delay in producing certain goods because raw materials imported from countries affected by Covid-19 have been well conveyed to customers.

Similar steps have been taken by KP. When the Covid-19 outbreak developed in a direction that was not conducive, the management decided that employees work from home. They also issued official statements to clients and partners because this policy would affect the company's activities. They asked for client understanding to support the decision with mutual health and safety considerations. "We stick to the corporate value of the good is not good enough. Even though we work from home, we try to provide the highest standard and timely services," she said.

While continuing to observe the development of Covid-19, what needs to be done is to show empathy and ensure stakeholders remain a priority. "Even so, do not hesitate to change priorities if there are priorities that can be changed as long as they do not conflict with the government and can be packaged creatively," she added.

According to Veve, the challenge lies precisely at the top of the leadership. It is not easy for PR to convince the leadership of the potential impact of the crisis. As a result, leaders sometimes take different directions when making decisions that have an impact that creates a greater crisis for the organization. Therefore, it is important for communication practitioners to ensure that they are heard by their leaders. If needed, involve a third party that is considered objective. (rvh/rtn)

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