It’s over a month now since our region saw the most devastating flood event ever recorded. And what an intense time it has been for our community. Our hearts go out to those affected (both directly and indirectly) and we extend our deepest gratitude for everyone who answered (and continue to answer) the call for help from friends, family, neighbours, and strangers; getting stuck in to help where it was (is) needed most.
Our local business community had already been tested and pushed to their absolute limits over the last few years with Covid, but nothing could prepare us for the tragedy of this natural disaster. The events that unfolded hour by hour and day by day were horrific and we think it’s safe to say, that those of us who had businesses left, were in complete shock of what to do next.
Check on your people
Our first move as a business, was to reach out to our own team and make sure they were safe or if they needed anything. Once the team were all accounted for, we needed to check on the other important people that bring our business to life – clients, suppliers, and contractors. We quickly assessed each of their individual situations and acted accordingly. Ranging from completely devastated to temporarily closed, and everything in between, one clear theme emerged – sensitivity, empathy and relevance were needed across the board in all business communications.
Sensitivity and Empathy
Even if your business was completely unaffected from the floods it’s likely that your customers have been affected in some way. Acknowledge the event and how your business is responding. Even if you intend to carry on business as usual, it’s not advisable to downplay or ignore the situation for fear of scaring off potential customers.
It is also imperative that your tone of voice and the language you use is sensitive to what people might be feeling and experiencing.
Asking people to buy while they (or those around them) are in trauma and crisis is only going to do harm to your business reputation. Instead, communicate what you can do or offer to others at this time to make life a little easier. Make sure you check on all running and scheduled campaigns and pause them if you need to. Check all scheduled social media posts and decide if they are still relevant or whether they should be rescheduled for another time. Ensure that any automated communications are reviewed, tweaked, and amended to reflect the current situation. Emails that were drafted weeks ago, may not be well-received. We recommend sending out an email to your entire database acknowledging the crisis, including any information about how your business has been affected and what this means for regular business operations (trading hours, possible delays, etc) and how you intend to help the community.
A helping hand
In the best-case scenario, you would find ways that your business can help. We decided to pay all our team two full days for volunteering and cleaning up, and we know we certainly weren’t the only business doing this. It was important we got involved because we love and are part of this community and that’s what we do – help each other. We live in such a loving, caring community and we are so proud to be part of it. We are in this together now and for months to come. We encourage anyone who has yet to reach out and help, to do it. Not only is it rewarding, but it’s the right thing to do.
Northern Rivers - Our hearts are with you.
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