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Why You Need to Communicate More, Not Less in A Bumpy Market

In today’s unpredictable market, companies must figure out how to sustain momentum and innovate with fewer resources at their disposal. As Alex Song of Proxima recently pointed out , sometimes volatility is exactly what leaders need to make room for innovation, and company communications should be no exception. 

While many companies and executives reflexively think to tighten communication during uncertainty, the reality is that companies actually need to be communicating with even greater frequency and intent during volatile economic times.  Similar to a noisy party that suddenly goes quiet, abruptly discontinuing company communications will likely send the wrong message to investors, customers and employees alike.  

Now more than ever, stakeholders are looking for messages of reassurance from business leaders who, according to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, are currently among the most trusted institutions, ahead of NGOs, government and the media. With 75% of respondents saying they trust their employers, and an equal number that expect CEOs to shape conversation around both the economy and technology, now is not the time to go silent.  

No matter where you are in your company’s story telling, take this time to create clarity amidst chaos by adapting your communications plan to meet today’s business goals.  Here’s how to get started: 

Control the narrative

At its core, communication is about storytelling– shaping and telling your unique point of view. By carefully crafting your story, you can answer two important questions: who you are and where you are going. By controlling your narrative and working off a strategic set of messages you can ensure that  your story feels authentic and relevant to why you and why now?  You might need to refresh your message on a monthly basis during times of uncertainty, but it is the foundational step in making sure that your company story is tracking to what you really want stakeholders to know.

Plan the execution
Once you are clear on your company’s story, set a plan for the many ways your company message can be used to establish a consistent and reassuring presence.  Start by building a clear message map and talk track so that multiple leaders in your organization can effectively serve as spokespeople. Establish a regular cadence of outreach to the press to become part of your industry’s conversation in the media. Schedule more frequent and regular employee touch points, including all-hands and small groups, and ensure that two-way communication is built in. 

Fuel fundraising initiatives
If you find yourself in a fundraising cycle, remember that earned media coverage can serve as further proof of your trust and credibility. Earned media will also give you the opportunity to communicate where you see the opportunities ahead in your industry.  An expert quote, feature story, op-ed or podcast interview can provide a viable reason for you to reach out to investors that you may be courting.  Leveraging social media channels, such as LinkedIn, with a steady drumbeat of thought leadership and commentary will also go a long way in reminding the business community that you are still actively innovating and impacting your industry.    

Keep your employee base and talent pipeline engaged

Developing a talent pipeline is an ongoing effort– it’s not just for an immediate hire, but also for the next ten that you will need to hire down the line.  Showcasing company values and culture serves the dual purpose of getting you on the radar of future talent, while also reassuring your current team about what the company stands for right now. Use social media as an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of your hardworking team, many of whom are in roles that may not get regular public recognition.  Be transparent about how your company is navigating challenges and the impact that employees are making during trying times. Continue to engage with media outlets that are profiling strong company cultures and innovative leaders.  

Support repositioning efforts 

We know that brands are always evolving. You may reach a point where you need to pivot or reposition your product or service. While this may not warrant a broad scale media campaign, a targeted communications push (e.g., a refreshed message track, pitch or byline article) can help share important information with your target audiences. Coverage in industry trades are powerful credibility builders and can easily be turned into effective sales collateral, from email campaigns to social media posts, that let the marketplace know that your innovations have been recognized. 

Don’t let signs of market softening mute your company’s story.  Now is exactly the time to harden your company’s commitment to strong communications. Beyond an SEO boosting press release, investing in brand awareness and targeted messaging will have an amplified impact. As other players retreat in the face of market challenges, you will position your company’s voice to emerge with increasing dominance as things improve. 

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