What the coronavirus is teaching us.



Currently, crisis plans are being tested from all the types, citizens’ response to contingency measures, the capacity of the medical system or the solidarity and empathy between countries, regions, cities and to neighbourhoods. But it is also a time for fakenews, creativity, good humour, flexibility and even time to spend with the family.

The coronavirus is bringing us face to face with situations that only we saw in films and for which nobody had prepared us. Thus, considering the maxim (Chinese, by the way) that every crisis is a opportunity, this coronavirus is also teaching us a few things.

Of how good communication is almost half of crisis management.

It is clear that there is a fine line between not wanting to cause unnecessary alarm and protect citizens. It is also understood that, in the early stages of the virus’ spread, there is not much certainty, but the correct communication management is essential to face such a crisis dimensions: that people understand and empathise with the situation, presuppose that citizens are aware and ready to assume their responsibilities that an exceptional situation such as this requires.

Communication, or in this case the “sharing of information”, as the scientific community has shown, is the best way to combat any threat.

From digitising businesses to managing remote working.

In some companies, the practice of teleworking was already a process is encouraged, although most companies only use the considered in ad hoc situations. The legislative measures themselves do not encouraged investments in digitalisation and in labour policies for promoting teleworking. Today many companies have to adapt to a new work format, for some the process will be simpler, for others very more complex. For us, we have already done so in other circumstances and as such the transition is peaceful.

This period will greatly test the dynamics, processes and adaptability of teams and individuals. I believe that many of the preconceptions regarding telework will be demystified, some will be real successes others a difficulty. And that after these times, if will reinvent new and better ways of working.

Corporate social responsibility.

The coronavirus will also leave us with another interesting lesson, the number of unnecessary trips and meetings. By networking and collaborative, there is no need to spend so much time travelling which reduces the our quality of life and, above all, reduces our carbon footprint while remaining efficient.

No less important are the other fronts: the human factor, flexibility, training, adaptability, teamwork and others social skills that determine whether a person has an attitude, in addition to aptitude.

From the media approach and social networks.

There will be many studies and doctorates on how the media and social networks are addressing these times. What stands out in this time is that traditional media have gained enormous importance in sharing of credible information. The growth in the audience of the news programmes of the main television stations reflects the demand for verified information and from official sources. In Portugal, it stands out as the time of greatest demand for information at 12 noon, when the press conference with the General Direction of Health on the latest data on the evolution of coronavirus.

Social networks maintain their role in sharing information, both official and fakenews. Here fear, insecurity and ignorance are fertile ground for the proliferation of posts of the most creative to the most scabrous.

The challenge of communicating.

At this point communicating in the press or on social media is a huge challenge. Companies and brands are faced with redoing an entire marketing and communication strategy that involves adapting products or services to a new reality and how to maintain contact with their public. The challenge is huge: firstly to get space and visibility, secondly to promote your products or services without being indifferent to the current situation, not raising questions of opportunism and empathy. The answer, it seems to me, is common sense and creativity in the approach. Some examples are the interview that Bold gave to SIC Notícias about teleworking and how its 700 employees are managing projects and responding to customers; or how Continente, Lidl and Auchan thank their employees for being at work. These are new times that require us to be highly adaptable and capable of reinvention. This is undoubtedly a period of great learning. We are together!

*Article written in partnership with Beatriz Andrés de Mora – Art&Marketing (partner in Madrid)