Five years into the future, from the comfort of your rearview mirror – what do you see? I see the face of business – from corporate, to small and medium-sized. I see those who made it through the reign of the covid19 terror and those who didn’t.
The latter lay comatose, weighed down by debt, by customer neglect, by the restrictions placed on business operations – and understandable, I might add – by a concerned Government, as the Prime Minister often repeated the choice between the protection of livelihood but weighed down by the responsibility to preserve lives.
Among the "living dead" are business operators who sat still and did nothing to seriously contemplate a response to that “Business Basil.” Amid other failings, they ignored the need to communicate, and I mean real active communication, with customers who had made businesses vibrant, sustainable and profitable in the “good ole days” before covid19 struck.
On the other hand, there are those who would object to that description, claiming that they did the work. But in hindsight, they would have to admit that they did not give themselves a fighting chance. A stakeholder would have seen the limited, if not, minimal connection. That stakeholder would have seen a business laying prostrate to the workings and restrictions of the covid19 era. Any form of communication was lacking in vibrancy, unappreciative of the need to massage their audiences in the special circumstances when hell was threatening from the outside.
Frankly, many of those who did not make it out of the covid19 times acted as if it were the Armageddon of biblical predictions, so they retreated into a self-defeatist world submissive to cosmic finality. They did nothing. They forgot there was promised hope to those who demonstrated faith in possibilities, very practical in nature but transcending in achievement.
And that takes us to those who survived covid19’s trial of faith. At the top of their survival kit was the understanding that reaching out to their audiences was the priority of communications. They remembered, too, from past experiences that those communication encounters were well-planned and executed, not helter-skelter, nor hit or miss. Fundamentally, they understood their recipients and the process of communications which had to be applied.
They remembered the effort they put into persuading their clients to a point of view, to a point of action; they contemplated that their efforts at communication were based on an understanding of formulating messages, delivering them with intensity and skill; they learnt to be sharply aware of the communication process.
Those who made it through the times remember that it was through the power of communicating purposefully and scientifically. The communicators also remembered that customers/clients also had fears to be overcome; that they too needed to find hope and assurances built into the messages they received in those days of the pandemic when the prevailing environment was dominated by bad news.
The successful communicators reflected, too, on the importance of lifting others with messages of hope for the future. In their reflections of today they understand just a little better the importance of human communications.
When they reflect in the present, they remember that their communication was designed not simply to achieve an immediate objective, but to prepare customers/clients and other stakeholders to better their lives. They came to understand that they had to make use of opportunities which would have otherwise passed them by without notice.
With the benefit of the rearview mirror you can stare into it without the pain of being regretful about not utilizing opportunities which presented themselves in the time of covid19. You, the communicator, have the option of making best use of foresight and knowledge now available to you.
Foremost in the summary of knowledge lived during the covid19 period is the understanding of what made the difference then to the corporation, the company, the individual. In a phrase, it was positive communication driven by advanced principles of interacting with audiences on their behalf and for your own survival.
It is an understanding and appreciation of the value that the business driven by concern for people, made apparent through quality communications, brings success. Move out and communicate, reach out to your people using the technology of today to be safe and to ensure too the safety of those you work with. Do not sit trapped and vulnerable to covid19.
Lisa-Ann Joseph is the founder of Reputation Management Caribbean Ltd.