Written by Diana Eads
For more than two years, COVID-19 has created a fair share of challenges for public relations departments. During this tough financial time, many have had to fight to save their departments as marketing budgets have tightened. This is unfortunate since PR plays an important role in effectively navigating crises. To prove it, here are five ways PR has been crucial to the success of numerous organizations and companies throughout the pandemic:
1. PR can help organizations navigate through a crisis
PR departments are trained to prepare for a crisis before it actually happens. In-house PR teams especially are essential for communication management. Their work includes creating plans that inform and directing employees on where to go or what to do during a crisis. They help prepare for many different types of crises. They help organizations navigate natural disasters as well as financial, organizational, and personal crises. They also help companies maintain their images after receiving poor media coverage. During the pandemic, many crises arose when someone said something that caused confusion. This caused companies to receive backlash because it appeared that they weren’t adhering to CDC guidelines. It was up to PR personnel to prove that they were following the guidelines.
In the event of a crisis, PR departments work around the clock to make sure that employees and customers receive timely and accurate information that will help them to better understand the situation and the steps the organization is taking to mitigate the crisis. It is their job to make sure crisis communication plans are up to date. These teams were especially important during the first few months after COVID-19 started. Companies without a good communications specialist skilled in crisis communication found themselves scrambling to figure out what to do.
2. PR helps to strengthen relationships with staff
PR departments’ work during the pandemic has included communicating with each organization’s staff to keep them informed. Since day one, PR practitioners have worked diligently to send timely email updates regarding issues ranging from how to deal with the stress of working from home to providing information about how to obtain the vaccine. One of their most important roles has been providing the information needed for employees to understand how to stay safe and well.
3. PR can help adapt to make sure all customers are informed
The PR department makes sure to implement an online strategy to get information out to customers that they need to know. During the pandemic, they have made it a priority to maintain communication with the customers of their company to make sure they are aware of any changes in policies, procedures, or hours of operations.
4. Internal PR helps impact employee productivity
The PR department can help make sure that employees stay productive during the pandemic by staying in contact with them and providing information about resources that they need in order to get their work done.
5. PR helps to impact customer loyalty
Throughout the pandemic, PR departments have played a key role in helping to manage organizations’ reputations and maintaining customer loyalty. They have done this by utilizing social media to keep customers informed and to answer any questions that they may have. Doing so has also helped these businesses attract new customers.
PR has played a very important role during the pandemic. Not only did departments skilled in communication help organizations prepare for this health crisis ahead of time, but they have also played a big part in helping employees obtain the information they need to successfully do their jobs in the middle of it all. They have kept customers updated and informed about what each company or organization is working to keep customers safe. The pandemic has proven that PR departments are essential, particularly during times of crisis. Many companies would be lost without them.