The world has changed dramatically during 2020, and for many regulators the need to communicate with community members and stakeholders has amplified.
With many communities globally entering lockdowns, people losing their employment and livelihoods, and concern for the well being of family and loved ones increasing, strategic communications specialists have witnessed the need to shift to local marketing strategies with a focus on empathetic messaging.
Given the breadth and diversity of IAGR Members there is no single rule for how Members should respond to the needs of their jurisdictions. That said, there are some core items every organisation can take on board when communicating during a crisis such as COVID-19.
How can jurisdictions adjust communication strategies during COVID-19?
With the world in upheaval, it may feel like the wrong time to change the way your jurisdictions communicate with stakeholders; consistency is key, surely?
For many community members, receiving critical information in a form that has been designed to match the audience’s mood can mean the difference between success and failure.
The key is to approach your messaging with empathy – aggressive and emotion based language and tactics are unlikely to be successful during these times, especially for items or services that can be considered unessential.
Use evidence and solution-based messaging to inform and educate community members, businesses and stakeholders.
Put yourself in your audience’s position
Offering meaningful marketing is easier during a time when most people are struggling with the same issues, especially during a period such as COVID-19 with national and global trends, need, and pain points all clearly visible.
Look at the marketing you are reacting positively and negatively to in your own life, and take lessons from it.
COVID-19 has created an environment where people may have more time to consider or re-evaluate their purchasing and gaming choices. As regulators this period of re-evaluation provides you with an opportunity to re-educate your audiences on your jurisdiction’s value proposition in terms that matter to them.
Talk to your audience
Having empathy and compassion for your audience should always be within your radar – every regulator and jurisdiction works to help community members fulfil their needs; that hasn’t changed during COVID-19.
Always start by finding out where your intended audience is right now. You can do this through research, media monitoring, or even just reaching out to your existing communication base for productive and frank conversations. Questions you could ask include:
For many, priorities change during a crisis, as pain points are highlighted in new ways. This can offer jurisdictions an opportunity as new solutions can be offered and created, and communicated through effective marketing and messaging.
Carry these values in your communications post COVID-19
Communications may adapt during a crisis like COVID-19, but that doesn’t change what is at the core of it. By focusing on what the market needs and how you can help solve the problems of your community, your messaging will remain value-driven and clear.
At the end of the day, every organisation is attempting to contribute a solution to a problem, and every piece of communication can come back to that single truth.
Pip has had an extensive career in policy, programs and communications with both the Australian federal government and various state governments, and in the private sector providing services across the defence, gaming, higher education, agriculture and health sectors.
Pip is also a Principal of Duncan Morgan Advisory, a bespoke professional services consulting firm specializing in public affairs, external relations and strategic advisory projects.