One of the bigger lessons to be learned by businesses is the need to treasure and value their stakeholders. This critical element can be done through communication. In light of the current global situation, communication has become a necessary tool in ensuring longevity in business. Talking with stakeholders is tantamount.
“We will never go back to what we were pre-Covid (19),” advised Lisa-Ann Joseph, managing director of Reputation Management Caribbean. Therefore, she said, it was necessary for companies to make sure communication is taken into consideration as it relates to their customers’ interests and needs.
Joseph was host of a webinar “Using Communication to Pivot Your Business”. The objective of the session was to encourage entrepreneurs, seasoned business owners, and communicators to find alternative ways to make outreach to their customers and stakeholders.
Joseph listed some essential communications lessons that needed to be acknowledged:
• Consumers are holding brand and companies to a higher standard than before. They favour those perceived to be doing more for society.
• Brand loyalty can no longer be taken for granted
• Sometimes, the communications strategy may only need minor adjusting, not a complete overhaul.
In addition, Joseph said key words such as safety, experience, and comfort must be incorporated and enforced in the messaging to ensure stakeholders are taken care of.
“You have to treat each customer as they are unique,” said Tisha Jack, managing director of TCJ Events, who was Joseph’s guest at the webinar. She presented her experience as she looked back at what happened when the country was on shut down to manage the spread of Covid-19 to now.
Jack, known for her event management and wedding planning skills, said that was one of the most valuable lessons she learned. In the midst of the closure of borders, businesses, limited movement, some brides-to-be did not know their next step. Jack realised that while she was dealing with a specific group, not all brides faced the same dilemma and each situation required her to listen carefully and act differently.
From her experience, Jack said by speaking to her clients from their perspective she understood what was required of her business. “I was putting myself in their shoes,” Jack said. “Weddings were hit extremely hard. I realised that I had to have communication options for my clients. Those who did not have a wedding planner, what were their options?”
Her strategy was to understand as much as possible about what was happening in the industry. Jack also discussed trends with other event planning colleagues and among them, the sharing of information opened their eyes and enhanced their strategies. Once she was secure in her knowledge, she communicated with her clients.
“Everything you say or do is a message. You should think of the clients’ perspective more than what you think their point of view should be,” Joseph added. The gamechanger, in this case, is thinking from the outside, in – communicating in a way in which the messaging resonates with the stakeholders. By thinking from their perspective, the line of communication is open and connection is not riddled with tension or confusion.
Sometimes due to the demand of the business, there is a need to communicate often, Joseph explained. The challenge is finding different ways to convey the same message. One suggestion is not dismissing one platform of communications and rely solely on another. In response to a question on whether social media was more reliable than traditional media such as print, radio and television, the ladies were of the view that it was best to cover all bases, to suit a client’s source of information.
During the pandemic, the pivot experience has allowed for change – albeit minor or a major revision of strategy. Whether it was the presentation of a new product or service or having an extended portfolio, stepping into the future with one foot forward while keeping the other grounded required more than movement. Communication is key in that movement.
“Pivoting your communications can help you make change for the better. It takes time, thought, energy and plenty work,” Joseph said.