What Do We Do With Our Pre-COVID Comms?

April 7, 2020

Communications professionals and firm leaders are thinking carefully about how to continue their outreach to clients and prospects during this uncertain time. Our clients report feeling an intuitive human need to acknowledge the new reality, but they also want to carry on with business as usual to reassure their employees and clients. No one has yet devised a perfect formula for balancing those competing impulses, but we were inspired by a resource issued by Google’s marketing team to create some guidelines for our law firm clients.

Some thoughts on how to assess your communications plans:

1. Think globally; act locally. If your firm is large enough to have offices in multiple cities, it’s a good time to empower professionals in those offices to make the call on previously planned communications. While this crisis is affecting the entire world, the U.S. is experiencing dramatically different issues from place to place. What would go over well in Dallas might seem tone deaf in New York, so pay attention to the context. (And come to think of it, this advice holds true even in the best of times. Context always matters.)

2. Treat all policies as provisional. We wish we could suggest a long-term strategy, but that is not possible right now. The circumstances of the pandemic and its impact on business will continue to evolve, and that means your plans must evolve too. We wouldn’t dream of doing or saying now some of the things that seemed completely rational back on March 14. Who knows what May 14 will look like? Be prepared to continuously reassess your decisions as things change.

3. Vet everything. As many communicators have noticed, marketing copy may contain phrases that have taken on new meaning in the past few weeks. “Great client service is contagious!” is not the kind of thing you want slipping through the cracks right now. Likewise you will want to take a second look at stock images (handshake photos are likely to make people cringe). The tone of all communications should be appropriate for this current moment.

We know that in some cases our clients are finding creative ways to revise their strategy and press on with planned initiatives. In others, they are making the wise decision to hold off for now and create more helpful and appropriate content. Both of these plays are the right answer as long as you’re putting your clients’ needs at the center of your plans.