In one brief moment, a virus descended upon the globe. We didn’t get an advance warning and we did not get a chance to prepare for it. It is hard to imagine now, but up until two months ago, the markets were bullish, capital investment was on the rise, there was money everywhere and startups were enjoying very high valuations.
And in an instant, it all stood still. In this time, when there is a turbulent energy in the air, our shoulders are a bit slumped and the media focused solely on the number of patients, the dead and the long awaited vaccine, it is also possible to be part of the public discourse – if we only try.
This period – the Corona Crisis – will enter into history books not only in medical terms but also for many other aspects, it will teach us something, trusting people, public opinion, government and the media.
Some tips on how your company can join the public discourse
Find the corona angle: The media in inundated on all platforms with COVID-19 /Coronavirus, but the technology sections are alive and kicking. Turn the page – these are not ordinary days, even if there are the occasional reports on fundraising and M&A’s, reporters are looking for the corona angle. So what has seen a boom? Cyber, AI, Digital Health, eLearning have all been highlighted in the media recently. Try to expand your point of view and find the connection between the company’s area of expertise and the macro topics currently in the public discourse.
For example: even if your company does not focus specifically on fake news (and there are a lot of companies dealing with this issue now) – you can talk about the spike in cyber-attacks around the world and in Israel. Another example, if your technology focuses on AI in the automotive field, you can write an article about how future intelligence will be used to detect viruses or even global crises – in any field.
Strengthen your relationship with the media: It is never wise to be dishonest with reporters in your field. But now is the time for complete honesty. Did you send employees home on unpaid leave? Don’t lie to reporters who contact you. Yes, these are difficult times, nobody will blame you, but reporters will know they are being a given the runaround. Don’t forget that even if the reporter believes you, in this day and age, people will talk, social media is active, and rumors will spread.
Be Modest: The start-up nation has grown accustomed to reporting huge funding rounds and large exits. Have you made good deals? Great, but keep in mind – modesty is key. The crisis is here and we will all probably be affected, one way or another so better avoid bombastic statements such as “we are not affected by the crisis”, “we have actually had more deals since the crisis began” and most importantly – don’t dance on the graves of companies that are not doing as well, next time it can be you.
Keep interacting with your target audience: during a crisis there is a tendency to concentrate on extinguishing fires. Don’t forget your customers are there, on Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t show that you are stressed and don’t forget to represent your brand first and foremost. Tell the world that although the crisis is here you are working! The swift adaptability of tech companies to work from home gives them a huge advantage over other sectors – take advantage of it – look at the benefits that come from working at home fulltime.
Don’t forget to work internally: During a time of crisis, companies tend to fight for customers, but for a moment, don’t forget your employees at home. As the founder / business owner it is important to be honest with your employees and provide them with updates in a timely manner. Make them feel that their contribution is an essential part of the company, in that way you will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture.
A company that did a good job throughout the year, taking care of their employees will now enjoy dedicated employees that will fight to keep the company going.
Just remember – when this all ends (and it will), when we venture outside the quarantine, even if there is a new world order, the customers and the technology will still be there.