COVID-19 likely will go down as the worst health related disaster in American history.
And even as our state and nation struggles to cope with the first wave of the virus, many experts expect another round of the virus to sweep the globe this fall.
From a public relations standpoint, there are a lot of lessons that Upstate businesses can learn and should be cognizant of as we prep for future pandemics.
1. Succinct and timely communications are a must. What companies and brands did the best? The ones that got out their information out in a manner that was fast and honest. Being proactive was the key. Even though, Governor Henry McMaster got a fair amount of angst because of a delay in making a shelter in place, his almost daily press conferences provided a lot of strong information for people looking to get accuracy.
2.Empathy and positive news in social media is a good shift in culture. Many of the state’s companies shifted to posting positive stories and sharing goodwill via their social media feeds as we all adjusted to what became a new normal. Even the social media influencers dropped their facades and got real. Though, if here was something off about the entire social is that no one single hashtag message seemed to rise up.
3. Being vigilant and being prepared are two different things. A lot of people were aware of Covid-19 for months before we saw the first closure in the Palmetto State, but few took real precautions until they started hoarding toilet paper. The vast majority of the businesses here and abroad weren’t prepping despite the warning signs.
4. Timelines can be adjusted. There is an old political side of public relations axiom of “under sell and over deliver.” This is true when offering deadlines for Covid-19. A lot of people posted recovery timelines that were overly optimistic. Smart companies have placed timelines well into summer. That way they give themselves the PR boost of being able to come back earlier than expected, if things get better.
While there are many more PR lessons to learn, the biggest thing to remember is wash your hands.