Whilst supporting clients with crisis communications these past few weeks, it’s hard to imagine how they, or their customers, would be coping right now if we didn’t have the internet and social media.

Unprecedented times means we find ourselves in a truly unique place in the timeline of professional marketing & advertising. In ten very short years we’ve witnessed how social media has changed everything for both brands and consumers.

And in the past three weeks, we’ve seen that all change yet again with the outbreak of Coronavirus.

When Crowd began integrating social strategy into traditional marketing plans ten years ago, we predicted how this would change the communications landscape. Especially when it came to regulated industry and government, who are usually seen as being less than nimble when it comes to innovation and change.

Back then, (and this was controversial at the time), we maintained those very organisations would not only need to rapidly evolve to incorporate two way communications, but that they’d soon heavily rely on them, especially when it came to crisis communications.

In the past two weeks, we’ve seen how social media has allowed our very own States of Guernsey to deliver clear, concise and vital information to our community.

There is no doubt that the speed and accessibility of these updates has played a vital part in the critical management of the community-wide position of responsibility we all find ourselves in right now.

With a cohesive and multi-channel social media strategy, we’ve seen @govgg not only inform our island on a daily basis of what we need to know about the virus outbreaks, but we’ve been able to watch and comment on live conversation and Q&A’s with the key personnel managing these decisions.

We’ve also seen journalists, media outlets and health specialists ensuring rapid dissemination of key information through their own social channels, often amplifying the messages that are being shared by @govgg.

Our deputies, ministers and police departments have ensured their comms strategies at each key stage of the COVID-19 crisis have been accessible and transparent. They’ve been human in their interactions, often describing their own personal experiences and those of their own families alongside their corporate responsibilities.

This has been invaluable in creating vital trust between the government and the community, ensuring calm and clear direction and ultimately, fostered a “Guernsey Together” spirit online, which is something we’ve also witnessed in offline conversations and behaviours as a result.

Delivering this information via social media has required key local spokespersons to demonstrate empathy, understanding and care. To be human and transparent.

We have of course also seen the usual keyboard warriors and nay-sayers amidst the conversations, but that’s really just a reflection of offline discussions; it will always be replicated online.

From our perspective, The States of Guernsey have got this one right because they have followed a comms protocol that we at Crowd have always championed;

  • Be nimble: disseminate facts quickly and clearly
  • Remain accessible: use the platforms where you know your audiences will hear your message
  • Don’t just talk, listen!: understanding the landscape though listening and discussion
  • Focus on creating trust: offering genuine and transparent information that your audience can trust as authentic
  • Create advocacy: give your audience what they need and they will share the message for you

We hope this is the last time we witness reporting over such serious matters on our dear island home, but whatever happens in the world next, Crowd Media will still be championing empathetic, human communications as the only way to do business.

The real question businesses should be asking after this is “How does our brand make our customers feel?” because trust is the most powerful marketing currency we have today.

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