And while I welcome as much information as possible, because knowledge is power, I’ve also received some questionable emails where I’ve thought to myself, “Am I really reading this right now?” – Emails that had to have either been 1) scheduled prior to the pandemic or 2) approved by tone-deaf management who said, “Screw it, we still need to market and market we shall.”
Even under new circumstances, businesses still need to operate, and marketing should continue. But now more than ever, companies need to be hyperaware of the messages they’re sending. A tarnished brand identity is a lot harder to bounce back from than losing a few sales in the short term.
In working with my own team, I thought about those badly timed emails and established some parameters on how we should be communicating right now, not only with our supplier members but with anyone at all. It reminded me of a classroom poster that’s become more relevant than ever.
THINK Before You Speak
T - is it True?
H - is it Helpful?
I - is it Inspiring?
N - is it Necessary?
K - is it Kind?
Is it True? Be truthful with your customers and within your own organization. Transparency is important and inauthenticity can be spotted from a mile away.
Is it Helpful? Consider what your customers need right now and the timing of what you’re trying to promote. Provide content that can help someone right now and only weave in your product if it’s relevant. Making sales is secondary right now, and definitely don’t hard-sell anything. Create contact with facts readers can walk away with, such as operating hours or inventory shortage.
Is it Inspiring? Focus on the positive going on in the world. Did you donate products to an organization? Sharing this could inspire others to do good.
Is it Necessary? Don’t put out a message just because you feel the need to play catch-up with everyone else. Well-timed, thoughtful and informative updates will always work better than flooding your customers’ inboxes with multiple emails per day.
Is it Kind? Unite your audience with empathy and understanding. Now is not the time to go after competitors, and don’t make insensitive references to the virus.
With uncertainty comes fear, and with a lack of communication comes misinformation. Companies need to create a strategic communication plan and include both internal stakeholders and external customers and prospects. But before you create an aggressive calendar of messages, think back to this poster. It will give you the guidance you need to THINK about how you want to be perceived when this is all over.