Useful, sensitive, authentic – RMIT gives advice on communicating during a pandemic
Now perhaps more than ever before early childhood education and care (ECEC) services have a sharpened focus on their communication with families who are facing stressful decisions, economic pressures, and the need to support their children through a global pandemic.
Academics and alumni from RMIT University recently came together to discuss how businesses of all types, including those operating in ECEC, can remain connected with those who use their services, using authentic communication.
The roundtable, which was led by RMIT Europe and RMIT’s School of Media and Communication tackled the topic of how leaders can effectively pivot their messaging in meaningful and appropriate ways during this crisis.
All those present agreed on three simple takeaway points – messaging needs to be useful, sensitive and, above all, authentic.
Diana Janicki, Creative Lead – Global Business Marketing at Facebook in London, said the key to effective communication during the pandemic is “meaningful action” which is “done with hearts in the right place – and doing something that’s actually going to help in the current situation.”
Giving the example of UK grocery provider Ocado, Ms Janicki said when problems occur, even if they are out of your control, it is important to be “humble, honest and transparent” any issues faced by customers (in the ECEC context, families).
What people really want to see during times of crisis is genuine and authentic action, she continued, warning against “cute and clever messaging” which comes off as “being tone-deaf and opportunistic”.
Communication is important – but sometimes less is more, Ms Janicki continued, advising businesses to “take the time to figure out what they should be doing so their efforts are valued and resonate with their audiences”.
Michael Valvo, Senior Director of Communications, EMEA at Uber in The Netherlands said that the person crafting the communications has an important role of “being the eyes and ears on the ground – and this means helping to guide a company’s response in a meaningful way”.
For more information and guidance on communication in a time of crisis, contextualised to ECEC, please see here.
For the full coverage of the RMIT roundtable, featuring communication and media leaders from RMIT’s alumni community in Europe, hosted by Marta Fernandez, Executive Director, RMIT Europe, and Professor Lisa French, Dean of RMIT’s School of Media and Communication, please see here.