How do food companies properly communicate during the Corona crisis? In today’s blog post, we share our F&B PR agency’s tips on crisis communication.
The Corona crisis messed up many people’s plans for 2020. And it affects us all, both in our roles as private individuals and in a professional context. For restaurants and hotels in particular, but also for food and beverage or kitchen equipment producers, the situation and the resulting drop in sales represent a major challenge. Especially the new lockdown results in an enormous insecurity for the industry. Below we share eleven tips for your F&B Corona communication.
Crisis communication as part of the PR strategy
For companies in the F&B, travel and lifestyle industries, it is therefore critical how and what they communicate – both internally and externally. As a market leader in culinary PR, we know what matters in an emergency and advise our clients, such as producers of food, beverages and hardware, which Corona crisis communication approach they should consider as part of their tailor-made PR strategy.
This blog post shows which reactive measures companies can take. But proactive brand positioning and campaigns can also go a long way in F&B PR. More on that will soon be coming to our blog!
Our tips for Corona crisis communication
- Preparation is key! Put together a Corona task force. Depending on the type and size of the company, it should consist of the management, the PR team and, if necessary, select executives.
- The crisis team decides on necessary communication measures, brand positioning and PR strategy. Other employees hold back at this point until the task force passes on the communication strategy.
- What are the crisis scenarios? Are there products that are especially vulnerable or other weak points?
- Which strengths in the company’s DNA can be used for communication purposes? That’s something we work out with our clients, for example in the context of a SWOT analysis.
A very important question to start with: which content and decisions do you even want to communicate?
- Prepare language rules, for example for the company blog or other in-house channels, posts on social media, customer newsletters or website texts. We’re happy to support you with target group-specific content development for F&B PR.
- Internal communication: always keep your employees as up to date as possible.
- What you share with the media should be objective and well considered. Tell them what the Corona crisis means for your company. What measures are you taking? All of that is a critical part of successful press and public relations for food, beverages and travel. In order to be positioned professionally, this is ideally taken over by an experienced PR agency specialized in the F&B sector.
- Media monitoring: especially during a lockdown, news updates come in rapidly. You should set up your media monitoring in order to get an overview of the coverage in print and online media and on social media channels. We have a variety of solutions available for you.
- The general rule is to remain calm and communicate in a level-headed manner.
- Social media: on social media platforms, news spread quickly, and so do rumors. On the other hand, this is usually the easiest way to reach a target group. Therefore, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Co. should not be forgotten in crisis communications. This way you can communicate effectively and practice targeted community management.
- The factual situation can develop very dynamically. Do not be afraid to constantly re-evaluate over time.
By approaching a potential crisis situation proactively, it can be defused before it becomes explosive. Therefore, one should not wait too long with statements in the form of website announcements, press releases or short posts in social networks. This also applies to contacting journalists and relevant multipliers in the food & beverage sector.
Dos and don’ts for communication
- Inform: collect and prepare your information. What does the Corona crisis mean for the company? What are the current government regulations on federal or state level? And what is allowed, what is not?
- Represent your company as an industry expert for interviews and assessments
- Recognize that you are affected by the situation and be clear about the next steps
- Communicate honestly and transparently
- Update any stakeholders
- Engage in community management on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
- Downplay the Corona crisis and its impact on the company
- React half-heartedly
- Make speculations or state personal opinions
- Give specific dates: “We will be back with our full service on January 15” or “We expect to resume production soon”
Critical questions can arise on social media as well as in the media. Again, preparation is key. If you already have appropriate statements on hand, it’s easier to stay calm. Typical questions could be:
- Will employees be laid off?
- Do any employees have Covid-19?
- Will production be stopped?
- Which safety measures are you going to use to resume restaurant or hotel operations as soon as permitted?
If a press conference or telephone interview takes place: don’t forget to always take short breaks while speaking and only state facts.
Good crisis communication is essential
A crisis cannot be reversed – this is especially true for the effects of the Corona pandemic. As a company it’s important to face the situation and act in a united manner. Those who have a good crisis plan in store and react carefully and empathically can even use the situation as an opportunity and emerge strengthened.
This is where we help as a F&B PR agency. We advise on strategic crisis management, write targeted press releases or statements, provide social media content and support with community management. Especially on social media, but also in print and online media, companies with good Corona crisis communications are noticed positively.
If you want to learn more about crisis communications in food & beverage PR or need agency support, please contact us.