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“Business As Usual” Comms Response to COVID-19

Change Management

By now, you may have received many communications from your suppliers, retail stores and service providers informing you their rules of engagement in a COVID-19 world. These providers are still open for business, and want to encourage “business as usual” activities, with safety factors built in to protect staff and customers.

While some countries, states and cities are in lock-down, other localities are practising social distancing to stay safe and are encouraging “business as usual” activities in a responsible way.

We have reviewed multiple email newsletters to understand the key messages they convey, and the resulting knock-on requirements for business processes. Use some of these to incorporate into your own response strategies, including key messaging through required communication channels such as email, social media, and advertising to name a few; and processes to adopt and implement.

Blue Illusion - changed processes in response to COVID-19

Blue Illusion… Boutiques operating business as usual

Many retail stores have both a physical and online presence to generate sales. Blue Illusion, a women’s clothing retail store, encourages a business-as-usual approach. The email newsletter they sent was personable, on-brand, and was caring towards customers.

Blue Illusion’s key messages were:

  • We care for customers and our staff by creating safe environments.
  • We provide private one-on-one consultations in-store.
  • You can view our range and buy online from our website.
  • While at home, read our latest magazine and engage with our brand and content.

Key process improvements

  • Cleaning and sensitization in-store.
  • Protocols for booking and conducting 1-2-1 consultations.
  • Product e-merchandising on website.
  • Website content planning, design, development and publishing.

Bounce, Inc. Massive social distancing.

Bounce, Inc… Massive social distancing 

Many sporting activities require people to be in close contact with one another. Bounce Inc. is an indoor trampoline park that is popular with kids and their families. Aiming to create a sense of normalcy, Bounce’s email communicated they have made a range of changes to “maintain a controlled, supervised and hygienic environment for kids to stay active” during this time.

Bounce Inc’s key messages were:

  • We are open for business, come visit us in a safe environment.
  • We are limiting capacity to 50 jumpers at a time.
  • We have implemented social distancing rules.
  • We have moved to cashless payments only (no need to handle cash).
  • We offer free wi-fi for parents to work remotely in a safe space, while kids are jumping.
  • We have enhanced hygiene practices (regularly wiping all surfaces, opening roller doors for airflow).

Key process improvements

  • Cleaning procedures, including frequency, and identifying which surfaces to clean.
  • Ventilation procedures including opening of roller doors.
  • Social distancing policy, monitoring and enforcement.
  • Capacity policy, monitoring and enforcement.
  • Electronic payment processes.
  • Remote work space policy, monitoring and enforcement.
  • Wi-fi policy and usage monitoring; and troubleshooting procedures.

Nielsen - "business as usual" response to COVID-19

Nielsen… Proactive steps to reduce impact

Nielsen is a B2B research company that collects consumer data through surveys and in-home measurement panels. They sell aggregated data reports to corporations to help them improve their products and services, and understand where to place their advertising to reach their target audiences. Nielsen’s email stated technicians are required to physically install and maintain data collection devices in consumers’ homes and that new protocols apply to in-home visits.

Neilsen’s key messages were:

  • We are monitoring Federal, State and Local agencies for latest developments on COVID-19.
  • We have made changes to technician visit processes to protect our clients and employees.
  • clients are able to reschedule the technician’s visit.

Key process improvements

  • Implemented crisis response plans through continual monitoring of the COVID-19 news and directives from authorities.
  • Changed technician visit process, with criteria to assess if a technician should visit, confirmation calls and rescheduling processes.

Retail Food Group - leadership response to COVID-19

Retail Food Group… No contact delivery

The executive chairman and CEO’s message felt more ominous; however, it was more personal because the communication was from a leadership position, not a marketing department. Retail Food Group is an ASX-listed franchise group, owning multiple food retail franchise concepts in Australia.

In addition to the email sent, the messaging is available on their website with a page title “Corona Virus Updates“. Clearly, marketing did the design and delivery of the message, and PR/marketing comms helped refine the message.

Retail Food Group’s key messages were:

  • We all have a constructive role in containing COVID-19 and staying safe.
  • We are following advice from health experts and government officials.
  • All stores have had modifications to protect everyone’s safety, such as seating limitations to promote social distancing, and store closures when required, with modifications varying by community or store.
  • Stores are following strict cleaning, quality control and hygiene procedures.
  • We have increased cleaning and sanitation on all surfaces like counter tops, tables and chairs, EFTPOS machines, table numbers and door handles.
  • We have made sanitizer available in-store for our customers to use.
  • Staff practice regular hand-washing using appropriate sanitizers and soap, including after handling money.
  • Customers can no longer help themselves to coffee cup lids, stirrers, sugar, spoons or straws. Our in-store teams now provide these.
  • Only disposable cups and crockery will be used, rather than re-usable items.
  • Staff use food-safe gloves and tongs when handling food.
  • We have established “No Contact Delivery” for pizza deliveries, ensuring no contact between delivery driver or rider and the customer.
  • All deliveries are correctly sealed in packaging before given to the driver or rider to ensure safe food-handling during transport.
  • Our leadership team is meeting daily to monitor developments provided by the government, ensuring the safety of people first, and providing regular updates and contact with stores.
  • We encourage customers to keep supporting franchisees and their stores to ensure continuity of employment for staff.

Key process improvements

  • Daily leadership team meetings process, agendas and documentation of outcomes.
  • PR communication processes.
  • Store modification plan for seating areas communicated and implemented.
  • Handwashing policy and procedures.
  • Increased cleaning procedures and processes.
  • Set up sanitizer stations in-store.
  • In-sourcing the coffee completion process (rather than outsourcing tasks such as adding sugar, lids, etc. to customers).
  • Crockery Policy (only disposable items used).
  • Safe Food Handling procedures.
  • No Contact Delivery procedures.
  • Food Packaging procedures.

RMK Management - business usual remote freelancers and home studios

RMK Management… Remote work and home studios

RMK Management is a media talent and crew management agency.  When ad agencies or other organizations require video production, they hire the crew and talent from RMK. RMK’s email communicates the changes they have made to their processes, although it sounds like this organization already had a number of freelance and work-from-home procedures in place.

RMK Management’s key messages were:

  • It is business as usual.
  • We have setup an after-hours contact process if talent or crew feel unwell, so new people can be arranged for the next day’s shoot. We will communicate with clients if this occurs.
  • Many voice artists have at-home studios to record voice overs. Sound booths in our agency are also sanitized.
  • We supply freelancers for remote work solutions. Production crew can record video in the field, and deliver files electronically via FTP (file transfer protocol).
  • Post production crew also work from home studios to receive, edit and deliver media files.

Key process improvements:

  • Improved talent and crew booking and re-booking processes (including what to do when people are unwell).
  • Sound booth sanitization procedure.
  • In-field video production safety procedures for crew and talent.

ITS - mobile workforce

Integrated Management Solutions (ITS)… Mobile workforce 

For some organizations, the COVID-19 crisis will benefit their businesses, especially IS service providers who provide remote work solutions. ITS offer such services and have communicated they are open for business to support organizations who need their staff to work from home.

ITS’s key messages were:

  • We can help you set up remote worker solutions.
  • Be prepared by having a 2020 readiness plan in place.
  • We offer technical controls to help your team access information assets in a secure way to ensure continuity of service.

Key process improvements:

  • Increased communication and sales processes to engage clients.
  • Deliver and setup technical controls such as MDM (mobile device management), phone systems, server access and more.

Business As Usual 

What can you take away from observing other companies and organizations through their communications? Their emails, website messaging, and social media posts all talk about the changes they are making within their organizations that impact their processes, and their clients.

Internal processes need to be changed quickly, and documented so staff know how to deliver to customers in a safe way. Internal communication and training processes are required to ensure that your team are up-skilled in a short amount of time and that they can deliver at the standard you require.

What changes will you make to your processes during COVID-19? How will you communicate that to your customers?

Need help setting up and rolling out new processes to your team?  Book a time with our Customer Success team to help map out processes and support your change management efforts. We are here to be of service.

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