Communication in a world changed by Covid pandemic

Friday August 14 2020
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Rukh-Shana Namuyimba

The role of effective, consistent, localised and recurring communication in the fight against coronavirus cannot be underestimated.

Governments, health organisations, brands and individuals have for the past eight months used every avenue at their disposal to help communities prepare for and adjust to a world that no longer plays by our rules.

It is worth noting that communication focused on behavioural change, socioeconomic changes and psychosocial adjustments is key to how humanity will recover from this crisis.

But, like a famous adage goes, the science of doing “Everything in moderation” is as important to what lessons will stick with us and what will be washed away when the storm settles. In communicating with internal and external audiences, how do companies ensure that their messages are relevant, practical and have a shelf-life that will go past the week’s hashtag?

The diary of an overbooked employee: For employees whose jobs involve team and project coordination, a calendar that is fully booked for the next two months is expected. But for those who are tasked with the creation, development, testing and selling of products, spending 70 per cent of work hours in meetings is detrimental and frustrating.

Do online meetings offer flexibility? Yes. Do they take up less time or ensure more productivity? Not necessarily. Now may be a good time for companies to examine the ways in which we have turned internal communication into a never-ending and oftentimes, dragging activity and come up with systems that are sensitive to staff productivity and engagement.

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l It is time for links, codes and meeting IDs to take a bow: If we gave our customers a dollar for every online discussion that has been marketed to them, they would have a sizeable piggy bank. With each new engagement, audiences are subjected to eyestrain, data costs and information overload. “The new normal”, “Unprecedented times”, have become fodder for jokes from customers who have heard them one too many times.

A critical part of a holistic communication journey is analysis – taking stock of efforts and making any adjustments if necessary; an action that doesn’t have to come at the end of this pandemic fight.

Fewer, but impactiful activities, will have deeper and lasting impact as opposed to frequent interactions which mix large panels with surface discussions.

l The burnt-out Communications Specialist: As management teams task their brand and communications teams to continuously churn out internal, stakeholder and customer communication, they should consider the limits of their team’s creativity and productivity.

Whether it is a one-liner piece of copy, a press release report or campaign communication, the routine birth of content is a heavy task. Having a clear, phased plan allows your company to focus on dissemination of critical and effectual dialogues and allows your team to create memorable campaigns and content.

As each of us feels the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can agree that the inevitable has already happened and life has indeed changed. But we cannot continue to act from an automated zone.

On the one hand, audiences are bombarded with online plus audio-visual content and limited time to process it or even apply it. On the other, we have overstretched communications teams ticking boxes when what we really need to be doing is going back to the basics of effective communication, which is about being deliberate, necessary and impactful.

Ms Rukh-Shana Namuyimba is the manager, communications and events,
dfcu Bank

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